Pick your target for success
  |  First Published: November 2011

Things have certainly warmed up here in recent weeks and many anglers are out and about looking for a few fish.

The bad news is the fishing is still in struggle mode but this is not entirely unexpected because November is usually a pretty average time for fishing.

Basically, the exciting warm-water species are a couple of months away and the more abundant cool-water critters are not overly happy with the rising water temps.

Spring can be a tough time for anglers but if you focus on the species that don't mind this transition period, you can usually score a few fish.

To be consistent at his time of year you have to be thinking, snapper, kingfish, salmon, flathead and bass.

These are really the only species likely to be around in decent numbers, so until we get that first long-awaited push of warm water from the north, our best bet is focusing on these species.

Last month’s run of solid snapper seems to be continuing, with some real thumpers coming off those northern reefs.

While the bait anglers are getting the numbers, it's the lure fishos who are consistently scoring the biggest fish. Most of these quality fish seem to be coming from the shallow reefs, especially those in 20m to 30m.

Kingfish are a worthwhile species to target at this time of year and those heading down to Fish Rock or Black Rock have scored some nice fish.

There always seem to be kings at these two locations; it's all a matter of what size will be there and even more importantly, will they bite!

During Spring they can get really locked onto tiny baitfish, the tiny bait that salmon or striped tuna would target. Naturally this makes tricking them a real problem.

But kings are very curious creatures and often have to rise up and check out a surface lure or well-worked plastic.

Or if you have the gear, try putting out a sizeable live bait – a small salmon or a just legal (30cm) tailor.

Sometimes presenting them with a completely different option will trigger a response. Then just hang on!


While not everyone’s cup of tea, the inshore run of salmon can provide plenty of fun if you gear up accordingly.

If you view them as bait-stealing pests you will probably find no enjoyment catching them no matter what the gear, but if you look at them as the terrific sport fish they are, then the old salmon can provide lots of entertainment.

You can walk the surf beaches sight casting to schools holed up in the gutters, or drift around the foaming mass out to sea as they decimate a school of baitfish.

Just grab a light spin or fly rod and a handful of small lures or flies and get ready for hours of light tackle chaos.


Back in the Macleay River, the old dusky flathead is starting to spark up, moving down from the mid to upper sections and looking for those sun-drenched flats and drop-offs closer to the river mouth.

Prime places to start looking for them are shallow areas with plenty of tidal flow.

A good push of water makes their bait-ambushing efforts a whole lot easier, so if they can sit and wait right on the edge of a constant passing parade of food, then that's where they will often be.

Lures and bait consistently work on flathead; the key is to find these likely holding stations and work them over thoroughly before moving on.

While perhaps not in full swing at present, flathead are certainly becoming more active daily basis and should be hot to trot by late November.

Up in the freshwater reaches on most North Coast rivers, bass are looking skywards and ready to strike.

Pretty well everywhere from the large brackish water in the lower reaches right up into the tiny headwater runs is likely to produce fish now.

It's all a matter of grabbing a spin rod, a few lures and dusting off the old canoe or kayak, as now is absolute prime time to chase these great little sport fish.

Few regions up and down the coast have bass in such healthy numbers so get out and enjoy the action.

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