Game season holds promise
  |  First Published: December 2011

With a steady stream of nor’-east winds, it seems Summer has taken hold of the Holiday Coast.

With the new push of warmth came some fun fishing, with a few good mahi mahi taken out wide by the marlin crews and reports of decent numbers of billfish just to the north of us. And with warm water and plenty of bait edging towards us, things are looking good for the game season ahead.

A little closer to shore, the snapper and pearl perch have been steady, although you might need to sneak out a tad wider than in recent months to find numbers of fish.

From all reports the most consistent reefs are those off Scotts Head and Grassy Head deeper than 40m.

Some of the snapper have been over 6 kilos, and reports of similar sized pearl perch has ensured a steady flotilla of craft have headed up that way.

Closer to shore again, you can expect consistent action around Fish Rock and Black Rock. Both spots usually kick into gear with a little current from the north, so the resident kingfish should spark up nicely very soon.

There are always some good snapper at both locations and those who do the hard yards and get up super-early and set out a decent berley trail will usually come home with a few quality snapper.

Soft plastics will also fool the bigger fish. With softies, it's all about getting up nice and early and covering plenty of ground.

The local beaches and headlands are a little out of season. There are always a few bream, the odd tailor and now decent numbers of salmon around, but the prime months have passed for the cool-water species and the exciting northern critters that come down with the warm currents are yet to arrive.

You can expect dribs and drabs when fishing the ocean rocks for the next month or so but once Summer is in full swing, you can look forward to a few mackerel, cobia and longtail tuna cruising past local ledges.


The Macleay River has sparked up a tad, with flathead and whiting the main players. These are traditional warm water species and with the river sitting on around 21°, both have decided it's warm enough to feed actively again.

Because it's still only early in the season, your best bet will be to stick to the shallower spots. As the water pushes over 23°, then you can expect the deeper zones to come to life.

Bream are very patchy (have been for four years), although there are always a few poking about in the middle to upper reaches. This time of year many bream move up-river and all those small feeder creeks and arms are often the place to head.

This is prime country for the lure crew, although bait fishos can still expect to score a few fish.

Mulloway should become more active very soon – especially the smaller models. Warm water usually gets the schoolies up and aggressively looking for a feed in the mid to lower reaches of the system. Live herring will usually do the trick and so will an array of soft plastic and hard-bodied lures.

Don't forget the vibes, and there's very few schoolies that will refuse a small blade humming past its nose.

With the rains holding off for a few weeks, the local bass crew have got out and about and enjoyed the Spring run of fish. Rising river heights are bad news for bass anglers, because very few fish are keen to eat when the water is up and cool.

So the past few weeks of solid, warm, stable weather and, most importantly, no rain has meant the bass have been very co-operative in most systems.

You should be able to find bass feeding well in most sections of their natural range. The water should be well and truly warm enough for action, even right up in the small headwater streams.

And thanks to all the past floods, most bass should be fighting fit and ready put up a good scrap, so don't head up-river lightly armed. I consider a punchy 4kg spin rod loaded with 10lb braid and a 10kg leader pretty well essential, especially when hitting the more timbered pools and creeks.

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