Water temps dropping
  |  First Published: May 2012

Like it or not, Winter is just around the corner and we may even have to start rugging up when heading out for a fish.

This month can be a bit fickle at times because it’s not quite Winter on the ocean or in the rivers yet; the water temperature is still dropping which means that the cool-water species have not yet arrived in numbers.

At least some of the Summer fish are still hanging around, which should even things out a bit.

It was a strange Summer season with very little current. This is most unusual for the Tweed area; we usually experience 2 and even 3 knots of current over the warmer months, making fishing the bottom almost impossible.

This season, however, the bottom fishing on the wider grounds has been really consistent with the 50-fathom reefs fishing the best. It will be interesting to see just how Winter pans out with regards to current and how the fish react.

Some good-sized Spanish mackerel and wahoo should still be around this month on our inshore reefs. The Nine Mile, Fidos, South Reef, Wommin Reef and Kingscliff are all good spots to look at.

The average size of the wahoo has been pretty good, to say the least, with a few monsters around 30kg being caught.

On one of our charters off the Tweed we had a quadruple hook-up while trolling. One of the fish bent open the treble hook on the minnow and came off at the boat – it looked a large wahoo.

Two of the other three fish turned out to be wahoo around 30kg with the third a Spanish mackerel around 10kg.

It’s not often that a 10kg Spanish ends up lying on the deck and not even being included in a photo but when the customers get to hold up a brace of 30kg wahoo, it’s pretty special!

These big speedsters will be hanging around into the start of Winter, depending on water condition and bait concentrations.

The sheer numbers of mackerel tuna can make targeting the wahoo and Spanish with lures a bit difficult at times. When this happens it’s a good idea to have a rod ready with a large live bait rig on it.

If you catch a small to medium mack tuna then drop it straight back over the side on this rig and hold on. Wahoo love a live tuna and will often smash it shortly after you start to slow troll one.

Set your drag to a medium strike setting and wait until the fish is running strongly before starting to fight it. You won’t need to strike; at the speed that they hit the live tuna they will set the hooks for you.


The same inshore areas that the guys will be trolling for pelagics will also hold a mix of reef fish during May.

Spangled emperor, snapper, moses perch, trevally and a host of other fish will be on the cards. We often have good, clean water through May and if the constant rain doesn’t change this, early starts or late finishes are the key to catching a feed in close.

For those heading out wide, the pearlies and snapper have been quite consistent on the reefs in 45 and 50 fathoms.

They seem to move around a fair bit and it has been necessary to do a bit of sounding to find the areas of reef that hold the fish. Once you find them though the action has been really good.


The Tweed River has been fishing consistently well through the regular heavy rain events that have gone on since January.

Good numbers of bream have been holding in the lower reaches and these should increase as we head into winter and the water temperature drops.

Flathead will be in numbers around the Cobaki region of the river as well as the flats around Blackwatch.

Keep your eyes out for a bit of a flurry of tailor this month. They may come up the beaches and into the river for a bite and they are a great little sport fish.

The bass should also start to fire in the upper reaches of the Tweed and in the Clarrie Hall Dam, so if you enjoy flicking lures then now is the time to start getting them ready.

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