Inshore reds kick in
  |  First Published: September 2011

The Winter chill hit late and hard and I'm not sure it's over yet. While it may be a tad cool (gross understatement) getting out of bed at dawn, there are some really good fish around.

It's been a few years since we've had a decent run of snapper close to shore and from all reports this year is shaping up as a blinder.

When you consider our best snapper fishing is often very late Winter into early Spring, to be consistently catching numbers of 3kg to 5kg fish already makes you wonder what it will be like this month.

Most of the action is between Grassy Head and Scotts in no deeper than 30m, good comfortable depths for lures and lightly weighted baits. As usual, the early bird seems to get the worm.

Those heading south around Fish Rock have enjoyed some good numbers of medium-sized kings. Most are 2kg to 5kg, with a few big bruisers thrown in.

Fish Rock is one of those places that heavily relies on current for the fish to spark up, so if there's no run, expect very little fun.

If the current is doing very little at Fish Rock, head over to Black Rock. This imposing chunk of granite sits very close to shore and consequently gets very little flow even in the middle of Summer.

So the fish at Black Rock don't need a raging flow to fire up. This is a great place to fish for kings and snapper though, just like Fish Rock, landing big fish can be a problem.

Those heading a little wider and bottom fishing the deeper reefs are getting a good mix of plate-sized snapper, trag and pearlies. Throw in a few marbled flathead, nannygai, leatherjackets and the odd kingfish and fishing the 36 fathom reefs can become quite interesting.


Along the ocean rocks the bream and tailor are still biting well, schooled up and still slowly edging their way north.

Hot on their trail have been some nice jewfish, with most around 10kg. There have been plenty of salmon if you want a little light tackle fun.

The beaches have gone a tad quiet, though I have heard reports of salmon in large numbers. Love them or hate them, salmon are nothing if not reliable.

I really enjoy catching them and find it hard to complain about a lure-munching 3kg fish heading for the sky.

But if you're after a few whiting and the big salmon are running you ragged, I can probably see why they're not on the top of your favourites list.

The Macleay River isn't fishing overly well and there just don't seem to be too many of the classic Winter fish around.

A lousy run of bream, blackfish and mulloway has meant pretty sluggish results for those keen on river fishing. That's not to say there's nothing to catch, because I've seen some decent hauls of blackfish and some good bream coming in at night, but it is a little slow compared to normal.

I predict a swift improvement as we head into Spring.

Up in the fresh/brackish sections the July flood pushed a lot of fish down into the lower sections and as soon as it warms a tad, they will be hot to trot.

A lot of bait was forced down towards the river mouth, so with a little warmth in the water, flathead should be in good numbers from Jerseyville to the river mouth.

Bream numbers haven't been good so don't expect anything too exciting this year from them, though during Spring you may find a few keen to feed up in the feeder creeks and around Stuarts Point way looking for prawns.

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