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Running into Winter
  |  First Published: May 2011



Some welcome cooler weather has finally arrived on the coast. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy summer and the fishing that it brings but by mid-February I am generally looking forward to respite from the midday heat.

Mackerel have been the standout this year with good numbers and some cracking fish consistently putting in appearances on most of our inshore reefs.

Hopefully we will see a winter run of the larger Spanish mackerel this year with some fish up around 30kg turning a few reels.

These bigger fish respond very well to slow-trolling large live baits; the key is just to spend the time to get the larger quality bait.

Alternatively, trolling a well-rigged dead bonito is also hard to beat as these little fish frequent similar areas to the Spanish and would definitely be considered a large part of their staple diet.

Another technique that has been catching some really good Spanish mackerel is casting large stickbait lures around the same areas that are popular trolling areas for mackerel.

The stickbaits were initially intended with giant trevally as the target species but with a constant ‘by-catch’ of mackerel falling to these oversized lures, it soon became apparent that the technique is actually very effective for Spanish.

I mentioned a good session we had on the mackerel in last month’s report and we have continued to catch mackerel regularly by doing this. If we do experience a good run of winter ‘blues’ then this should be a technique well worth trying.

RIVER BREAM

The river should offer some good bream as the water cools, with the weedy flats around the golf course and opposite the Chinderah rock walls worth a look if you enjoy catching them on poppers or surface stickbaits.

The odd tailor should be around the river and the first sign of them is usually when you start losing jigheads while bream or flathead fishing.

As the tailor season gets under way the lower reaches of the river fish best.

As the entire river falls into the winter pattern the tailor tend to spread through the entire system – if the rain stays away – and you will even get them up around Murwillumbah.

Some good GTs can be caught in the river at the start of winter and you often see them busting into the herring around the rock walls, bridges and rocky points throughout the Tweed.

If you can get a popper, soft plastic or small metal lure around this type of action then the fun can be full on.

If they aren’t giving their presence away by feeding voraciously, jigging with heavily weighted softies in the deeper water that has good current can be a worthwhile technique.

The upper reaches of the system should produce some good bass as the water temp decreases.

Little minnows, spinnerbaits or surface lures are all top offerings to chase these iconic little wild fish.

The bass usually make their way out into the main river in May and we can look forward to some good sessions when the early morning temperature gets right down.

The colder it gets, the better these fish seem to bite.

OFFSHORE

May is generally about the time when a lot of the Tweed Locals start to get serious about chasing snapper and spangled emperor on the inshore reefs. Whether with lures or bait, there often are a few to be caught.

In April we saw some good snapper getting around with the odd kingfish stealing rigs intended for the reef fish.

Wahoo will be on the cards this month but judging by the size of some of the fish that were getting around in April, we may need to upgrade the wire on some of our lures – there have been a few good ones caught.

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