Fish enjoying the warmth
  |  First Published: October 2012

The icy hand of Winter has finally loosened its grip and a pulse of warm water over recent weeks certainly has helped us forget those long, cold months.

And it seems the local fish have been enjoying the much improved weather, with the river and the ocean turning up some quality action.

Those cool morning starts should be easier now and some quality snapper and sizable kingfish are on the cards. As usual, the reds are mostly to the north around Grassy Head and up to and beyond Scotts Head while the kingfish are south around their favourite haunts of Fish Rock and Black Rock.

Those putting in the most effort will usually get the best results, and when talking big snapper it really pays to set the alarm nice and early, ideally to be on the reefs before the sun has broken the horizon.

That first 40 minutes or so around dawn can fire up, especially for those flicking out soft plastics in the shallower country.

The bait crew anchored on a likely reef system will often have the bite draw out longer due to water depth and a steady but light berley trail.

You can expect good fishing right through until mid morning on bait; it’s a much shorter bite period with the lures.

Looking for big kings is much the same, though you can often fool the thumpers by a combination of top-quality baits positioned in their faces for long periods. Kings tend to take up pole position on the reefs and islands, often moving only 30m or so for most of the day and preferring to wait for food to be swept to them.

Anglers doing a headland run and pinning a few tailor as livies will often find the biggest kings. Big live squid are gold, but a little hard to consistently find in these parts, so a kilo tailor is a pretty good second choice.

Just remember to fish heavy and give no quarter!

Tailor are continuing to cruise the ocean rocks, with most headlands around these parts worth a throw early and late in the day.

There should also be a few solid mulloway following the schools. If you're keen on targeting a jewie, save the tailor heads and send one out on a sizable hook just on dark.


The Macleay River is warming daily and with the rising water temps some of the ‘Summer’ species have come out.

The main player has been the old dusky flathead. Whilst these tasty critters can be caught year round, it's in the balmy months that we see them most active.

As you can imagine, the shallow water will warm quicker than the deep stuff, so until the ocean temps rise markedly, concentrate much of your effort in water of less than 1m.

Bream are very much Winter species here and their spawning run is often during the cooler months. And while they may be in large numbers around the river mouth during this period, it's in the warmer months that they can be the most fun to chase.

Forget deep baits and blades along the deep rocky walls, Spring-Summer is all about small surface lures cast tight against the up-river rock walls and the mangroves and she-oaks in the feeder creeks.

Whiting will soon be edging up onto the shallow tidal flats and once the do they should be in the right frame of mind to clobber small surface cast their way. If you haven't targeted whiting on surface plugs, make this the season you do; it's loads of fun.

School mulloway will come out of the woodwork, feeding vigorously during these warming months. Most will be up river a tad, with Jerseyville a good area to start looking.

Bait and lures will work well, with live herring and squid the gun baits and small blades and soft plastics the pick of the lures.

Fish both in the deep holes and try to keep them close to the bottom.

Bass are now legally targeted again and the recent warm weather will be firing them up nicely. Cool mornings and balmy days will allow insect activity to build during the mornings, so don't be surprised if prime time is around 10am.

You can expect some good results around the classic dusk feeding period, and even into the night if conditions don't cool off too much.

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