Favourite times on the river
  |  First Published: September 2012

Flathead have been sparse over Winter but finally they are on the chew.

The most consistent area over the past few weeks has been the flats opposite the Harwood sugar mill, up to the Harwood Hilton and further upstream on the rocky reef just inside the South Arm.

In September we should see flathead numbers and concentrations increase.

The river around Maclean is the best it has been in 12 months, so we can expect good numbers of lizards around Lawrence and Brushgrove by the end of August and into September.

After another large spawn run, due to several freshes, the bass will be heading back upstream feeding voraciously on prawns as they go.

Find the front edge of the rising tide for the best results.

The mouths of the cane drains are all worth a few casts, especially if any water is running out of them. The drains to bass are almost like run-off conditions for barra; the smallest amount of flow will have them hanging around.

The best of the bream have been from Browns Rocks downstream, with all the training walls getting their fair share of attention.

The best results have come by fishing small hardbody divers at the top of the tide. Cast them on to the top of the submerged wall and twitched them down the side.

When the tide starts to fall it's time to switch to vibes.


September would have to be my pick month to target school mulloway upstream around Maclean. Slack water at dawn or dusk is as good a time as any to catch one.

The old 100mm black and gold Squidgy Fish is still hard to go past but because they’re one of the best lateral-line hunters in the estuary, vibration blades certainly bring plenty of jewies undone.

For some reason the better size school mulloway are around this month and you can expect 6-12kg class fish.

The Australian salmon have been making small sorties up the river chasing schools of small baitfish. They have been encountered around the Harwood bridge, with a smattering of decent-sized tailor mixed in.

You can expect the salmon and tailor to be plentiful off the rocks around the Yamba and Sandon area over September because the water is still quite cool.

The forecast at the time of writing is for a long spell of reasonable weather for the Northern Rivers region – fingers crossed!


When the trailer boats have been able to get offshore the snapper fishing has been spectacular. From Woody Head to Wooli, all the inshore reefs have been firing and 5kg reds have barely rated a mention!

Then throw into the mix some very respectable trag and tasty pearl perch and it makes for a good day out.

August and September are without doubt the prime months for targeting pearl perch in 30m of water or less.

Make sure you keep an eye out for the whales heading back south because huge cobia often travel in close proximity to the migrating whales.

Even though the bass have featured heavily in bream fishos’ by-catch over the past few months, September allows you to properly target them.

Yes, it’s time to dust off the little creek boat and sneak up a few of my favourite haunts that have been spelled all Winter.

Even after 35 years of catching bass there is still something sweet about your first one for the new season – bring it on!

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