A clean river at long last
  |  First Published: November 2012

I never thought I would utter these words ever again: “Geez it’s dry!”

After several Spring and Summer fishing seasons over the past five years lost due to floods, the long-range forecast still predicts a drier than average Summer ahead – bring it on!

November has become our favourite month on the Clarence River for chasing whiting on lures. We have found that generally the bigger, early run of whiting often travel further up river and all the sand spits right through to Lawrence will fire.

This happens before they become thick down at the mouth of the river in December.

We have good salty water right through to Grafton, so you can expect giant herring, large flathead and GTs to be regular by-catch while popper for whiting, so keep your leaders short and stout because they all just love those expensive little Japanese surface lures.

The migrating bream are pretty much done for this year but plenty of fun can still had tossing small divers and surface lures at snags up all the small creeks and channels that run off the Clarence. And with the clear water plenty of small big-eye and brassy trevally will be hanging around with them to spice things up even more.

The first lot of mud crabs are just starting to show. Early on the best of the crabbing can be had as far up as Ulmarra.

Use extra lead on the witches’ hats in the deep water and remember, no crab traps are allowed upstream of the courthouse at Maclean. But five witches’ hats per person are allowed.

Rocky Mouth, just above Maclean, is looking pristine and will get plenty of attention over the next couple of months.

Some decent-sized school mulloway are coming off the reef on plastics and blades.

Next moon, when the prawns move, the giant herring and trevally will take up residence. The very first of the run-out tide on daybreak will give you the best results. Just wemember to vewy, vewy quiet, just like hunting wabbits! Big trevors can be very flighty around hull slap.


Early reports have all the bass hot spots warming up nicely, but most of the action is from around Grafton downstream.

We had a really good spawn run this Winter but with no Spring rains as yet, the bass have not pushed back up to Copmanhurst and beyond in any real numbers. A small fresh would quickly change that.

Bass after spawning will gorge themselves on prawns as they head back upstream. Prawns will very quickly put condition back on the fish and I know they do for me as well!

So even if you are between Grafton and Ulmarra, look for the tide line on a making tide and you will find the fish.

The new trout season has just opened. The Ebor region has been a little dry so it may be a case of suck it and see. Better Winter rains fell in the Armidale and Guyra regions so they may produce better earlier on than Ebor.

They did have a very cold Winter though and a successful spawn at the Dutton Hatchery so fingers crossed for a good season.


November can be very hit and miss off the Clarence Coast. We are just getting into our howling nor’-easter turning into southerly cycle, so very early starts are the norm.

Some decent snapper are still being taken by the inshore plastic fishos, it’s just a bit more time between bites.

Start before the sun gets up and fish light because there will be a smaller window of opportunity in November.

Whales off the east coast seem to be in record numbers each year. Be very mindful of them as they seem to be getting even more curious about small boats, but also remember that some pretty big cobia will be in tow with them.

For all the latest info call in and see us at Big River Bait & Tackle, 16 River St, Maclean or phone 02 6645 1834. Country service at city prices.

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