Spring days, Winter water
  |  First Published: September 2012

Spring has sprung but don’t expect it to heat up too fast. Typically September brings some of the coldest water that we get here in the Coffs region, but it also brings some of the nicest days that we get all year.

September is an excellent time to get down to the beaches and fish the many gutters along our golden coastline.

It’s an especially great place to take the kids for a springtime fish. North Beach at Mylstom, Boambee, Sawtell and Korora beaches are all great beaches to fish with the kids.

Look for days when there is smaller swell and offshore winds to make fishing a bit easier for the young ones.

With the very low risk of the kids’ lines getting snagged, plenty of room to stay away from the crowds and plenty of fish around in the gutters, the beaches are easy to fish with the whole family.

There will be plenty of bream and flathead to target, with bait like prawns, beach worms and squid the safest bets.

There are plenty of tailor and salmon in the gutters, making for some very good fun for kids and adults alike, especially on the lighter gear.

Pilchards and strips of fish are the best baits when targeting these species, although if you can see the fish then metal slices and soft plastics are very effective in targeting schools of feeding fish.

Whether in the beach gutters or around the headlands, there have been some very good size tailor and salmon, some of 4kg and heavier. Many of these large tailor have been caught on live bait or pilchards, but hardbody lures, metals and soft plastics have accounted for the majority of tailor over the last month.

Mulloway have also been a feature of the headlands and beaches. There have been regular school mulloway catches with specimens of 7-14kg quite common.

After dark on any of the reefy headlands at the lower part of the tide, or the beach gutters on higher tides, have been excellent places to target the schoolies.


Plenty of school mulloway remain in the estuaries, waiting to hammer a bait or lure that’s more than likely being aimed at flathead or bream.

There have been some large flathead around that might even fool you into thinking you’ve hooked one of those mulloway, as Geoff Kassulke found out up at Red Rock last month. His 83cm specimen, caught on 4lb braid, gave him quite a tussle and was caught on a 4” Gulp Worm.

The bream should be active this month on the headlands, in the beach gutters, the lower estuaries and right up into the fresh water.

Fishing the brackish/freshwater sections of our rivers is what I’m most looking forward to this September.

This is a great time to target some big bream and big bass in the same location. September means the start of the bass season and most fish will still be down close to the brackish water after their spawning season over Winter.

Small to medium hardbody lures thrown around in these sections should be a sure bet for getting a nice mix of bream and bass, with the bonus of some trevally and even flathead hanging around the freshwater boundaries.

Over the past few months large schools of luderick have haunted the lower ends of the estuaries around the rock walls and rubble patches, as well as the ocean headlands and the harbour.

There have been some very clear conditions over recent weeks that have required fishos to keep their techniques as fine tuned and inconspicuous as possible. Finesse will get you the most fish.


For the offshore angler the snapper should be active from the local headlands right out to the deeper reefs, where they will be accompanied by pearl perch and kingfish.

The deeper reefs and drop-offs will be worth dropping a knife jig or two if you can find large schools on the sounder.

Kingfish, amberjack and samson fish will be all around this month and if you can find the schools it can lead to a heap of great fun and tasty fish, or a heap of lost gear as these strong fish take you into their rocky homes.

Throwing plastics into the washes around the islands and headlands will also be great fun this month to tackle the smaller kings, amberjack, tailor and trevally that haunt the drop-off washes.

Sometimes using lighter gear can keep the dirty fighters calmer and less panic from the fish means you have a better chance of landing it.

Wherever you’re fishing this month, enjoy the good weather when it’s here and if you’re heading out for a fish, maybe think about taking the kids or someone who hasn’t been fishing before and let them see what it’s all about.

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