Bolt for the blue
  |  First Published: December 2011

With the heat of Summer well and truly on us, anglers are out and about enjoying the good fishing on offer, with many hitting the open sea looking for game fish.

While it's still early days as far as good inshore blue water goes, those putting in a little extra effort and heading farther afield have reported water as warm as 25.6° full of metre-plus mahi mahi and a few billfish.

Until the hot water gets a little closer to shore, you must expect to put in a few miles heading east before hitting the warm stuff.

One crew I spoke to went out 12 miles, but reported 24° water as close in as The Dot – only 4km off Trial Bay Jail.

Every day now, the good blue water will be edging closer to shore so by the time you read this it will may well be right on the stones at the Jail.

With the ocean steadily warming, the inshore snapper have gone a little quiet. This is quite normal and is a good indication there's soon to be mackerel, cobia and other exciting northern game fish around to take their place.

Just keep an eye on the water. If it's royal blue with terns diving, get out there; you never know what is likely to be on the close reefs.


While waiting for the ocean to fire up, many anglers have been chasing fish in the river.

Thanks to DPI Fisheries mismanagement, the old Macleay River may not be what she used to be, but if you put in a little time and effort there are still some good fish to be caught.

The warming ocean has put some good, clean water in the lower reaches of the system, which has sparked up the resident flathead.

The old dusky really needs a push of warm water to feed actively and this new push of 22° water has resulted in many a lizard shaking off its lethargy and biting well.

The key to finding a few flatties is look for areas swept by current and likely to hold good numbers of baitfish.

Find these little hidey-holes and it's fair to say there will be a flathead or two lying in wait. And at this time of year you never know whether they will be a kilo or closer to 10kg.

Bream anglers – particularly those keen on lure fishing – are starting to smile again. Our main bream run is usually during the Winter but thanks to some very heavy beach hauling, we never got a new influx of sea bream.

But with the warm weather there's been an explosion of small baitfish and prawns that has got many of the resident bream keen to feed off the surface. So the topwater lures have provided some fun sessions.

Head a little further up river and work any feeder creeks and bankside overhangs and fallen timber and you should find a few co-operative bream.

School mulloway are traditionally more active during the warmer months and this season is no different.

Those out looking for schoolies should have little trouble finding a few nice fish. Most are around a kilo or so but you can find a few bigger fish up to 6kg.

Lures and bait will work well, with many anglers opting for live herring fished in the deeper parts of the river.

Others prefer a soft plastic lure around 80mm long. Work the deeper bends and holes around a tidal change.

Bass anglers are still smiling. After last year’s washout, it's great to be able to fish up in the fresh again.

And while the floods were an absolute pain in the bum, they have certainly cleared out a lot of silted-up holes and given the local bass a good workout.

Despite another mini-flood at the end of November, the Macleay bass should be fishing very well, fighting extra hard and enjoying lots of new pools that were previously only shallow sandy runs as soon as the water clears again.

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