Fishing on the Tweed River has been a hot-and-cold affair for the majority of the season so far.
This has not been due to the water or air temperature but because of the regular rain we have experienced, dirtying the river and shutting down the fishing.
Fortunately, on the offshore grounds there has been a lot of current that has been able to move the dirty water away from the river mouth, helping the river to clear fairly quickly.
When the river has been clean the fishing has been reasonably good with a variety of fish biting for those braving the often inclement weather.
Some good mangrove jacks have been caught with local gun angler Steve Blainey having some good sessions on these prized estuary targets, as well as on school jew.
Steve has been catching most of his fish by working soft plastics in the deeper sections of the river – a good tactic because the deeper holes hold better water, because freshwater floats on saltwater.
The fish have been sitting in these spots in good numbers to get out of the fresh and Steve has been taking full advantage of this.
The walls and rock bars around the middle to lower sections of the Tweed have been productive spots to troll hard-bodied lures or live baits. These spots produce jacks, trevally, cod and the odd flathead.
Bear in mind that most of these fish pull extremely hard and will need to be wrestled away from the rocks to ensure that you keep your lure and land the fish.
We recently had a very productive filming session on our charter boat RU4REEL with Andrew Ettingshausen for his show Escape with ET, so keep a look-out for it.
We caught a variety of mackerel using a few different techniques and scored some cracking yellowtail kingfish on downrigged live baits.
We could see the kings on the sounder and as soon as we trolled the live baits through them, we hooked up. On one session we attached a Towcam camera to the Cannon downrigger ball and watched a 12kg kingfish come up to the live slimy mackerel, eat it and then swim off. Pretty cool stuff.
The offshore fishing has been dominated by mackerel around Palm Beach Reef and Mermaid Reef. Even though there has been a massive number of boats on these reefs day in and day out, they have still been producing spotties, spaniards, cobia and a variety of other reefs fish each day.
There have been huge schools of whitebait covering these reefs and the mackerel have been queuing up to get them.
Quickly retrieving small metal slugs has been the most productive method of targeting these tasty table fish but unfortunately the fish have been quite fussy about trace wire.
We have had sessions when we’d get countless follows if we had wire on our slugs but could produce a hook-up only once we tied the lures straight to mono leader or mainline. The odd bite-off is therefore fairly standard.
The spotties should still be around in February with a few more Spaniards making their presence felt. The Spaniards will spread to all the popular reefs with Kingscliff, Fidos, Cook Island and Black Rock the principal locations.
Let’s hope we see a few black marlin off the Tweed. These fish generally move to the wider grounds in February and March, depending on where the bait is and the quality of the water.
Mahi mahi are excellent by-catch when trolling the wider grounds for marlin and these high-jumpers put up just as impressive a show when hooked as the marlin do.
They are excellent table fish as well, but just remember that they often go crazy when landed in the boat, so be wary of the flying hooks on the lure in the fish’s mouth.
February can be a good month on the Tweed for a variety of fish so get out there and get into it.Reads: 1988