One boat, many species
  |  First Published: July 2011

The Tweed area is a very special place to live or spend some time holidaying.

There are not many places in the world where you can fish the upper reaches of a river system on a boat and have a ball catching bass, bream or flathead, then travel a short distance down river and target tailor, jew and trevally.

Once you have had enough of that you can then shoot across the bar and try your hand at tangling with a snapper or even a member of the pelagic family – and you can do this all out of the same boat!

Winter is definitely the time to do this because the swell generally settles and we don’t see too much of that dreadful south-easterly chop. This usually allows many more avid fishos the chance to get out and have a go.

The Tweed bar has been a very sad affair this year with just about every crossing being a bit tricky. I can probably count on my hands the number of flat glass-off days we have had heading out there on charters this year.

We can only hope that this Winter we see a change for the better, enabling us to look forward to some enjoyable fishing.

July is normally the month when the snapper really hit their straps, with good numbers of these tasty fish showing up on the majority of our offshore reef systems. We can expect to find snapper pretty much from the close-in stuff like Fidos and the Mud Hole all the way out to the 50-fathom line.

The latter part of July is probably the pick of the time but this will depend on how quickly that water temperature falls. We have had a reasonable Winter already with good numbers of snapper appearing.

Tailor should also start to make up a reasonably consistent catch for those targeting them, with the lower reaches of the river and the ends of the North and South seawalls being the pick of the spots.

Early morning and late afternoon sessions are by far the most productive times to target the tailor with the ever-faithful blue pilchard or gar rigged on a set of gang hooks with a minimal amount of weight being the most effective technique.

Spinning with slugs or surface poppers is also a top way of getting a few tailor and there is a growing number of fishos using this technique to have a quick flick before or after work.

In July we should see good numbers of quality bream in the Tweed River and judging by the size of some of the fish swimming around the back of our charter boat in the Ivory Marina, there are already some absolute stonkers in the system. Some of them could quite easily be mistaken for snapper.

The area from the start of the north and south walls through to the Blue Hole and the Fingal walls produces some cracking bream every year and many come from the coffee rock reefs that run down the middle of the river.

Fishing these rocks can be a bit trying at times due to the amount of run that the larger tides produces but the results can be well worth the effort.


The offshore fishing has been really good already this Winter with the usual species playing the game. Good numbers of tuskfish (‘parrot’), squire, flathead, and pearl perch have been coming from the 30- and 36-fathom lines while the kingfish and amberjack have just started to show up in consistent numbers on the 45s.

RU4REEL clients have been catching some cracking bottom fish and are looking forward to the next few months because the jigging and live baiting really starts to take off, as does the deep dropping on the continental shelf.

Last year we only just started to explore what the shelf had to offer. This year we will be able to fine-tune this knowledge and also start exploring around the 450m to 650m depths.

It is actually quite interesting just how many quality snapper we encountered deeper than 200m last year and it will be fascinating to see if this is the case again this season.

One probably wouldn’t expect to find them out there but we have had some days when snapper actually made up the bulk of our catch in water as deep as 260m. Bring on Winter!

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