Now we should see patterns start to settle in for the Summer. Unlike the past couple of years, this season will not be dominated by that La Niña, which brought us plenty of rain and very mild summers.
We may even cross over to El Niño conditions which tend to bring below-average rainfall and cooler water off the coast but hotter days on land. For this reason, expect to see a different looking season than that over the past few years.
Offshore catches have been very sporadic over the past month or so, with a little more off than on.
As the current moves in and out we can expect a bit more of the same because most of the bait moves around with the warmer water. Snapper will be there even in the colder water but they may take a bit more convincing to take a lure or bait than at other times.
For the pelagics and more tropical species it will be worth searching around for the warm pockets of water, if not the main current which may regularly be out quite wide at this time of year.
Normally a pre-Christmas mackerel is considered relatively special in the Coffs area but some anglers were close to getting pre-Spring mackerel this year.
With reports of several mackerel caught all the way back in September and large yellowfin being caught over the past month, we know that the warm-water pelagics are just there waiting to move in as the current settles closer to the coast.
In the estuaries the fishing’s definitely been warming up.
The flats on the incoming tide are the place to chase whiting, bream and flathead. Poppers are the best method for the whiting, and they also account for many bream and flathead.
The bass in each of our catchments have taken a bit of tracking down over the past month with some anglers having excellent sessions only a short distance from other anglers finding nothing.
This month we should see the main population of fish settling in to their Summer homes, so targeting those prime snags high up in the streams with surface lures and bigger hardbodies will be the best shot at landing a decent bass.
This month may also be the last chance to get in a fish before the crowds start to settle in for the Summer.
So get out and enjoy our more popular waterways before everyone else comes to enjoy them with you!
With pic 1
HELP WITH MANGROVE JACK RESEARCH
The mangrove jack is a favourite Summer target of many anglers. October and November are some of the best months to chase jacks, which tend to be a little easier to tempt with a lure at this time.
With the warmer days lately, the estuaries have been warming up and it’s fast becoming prime time for chasing a river red.
Little is known about the life cycle and behaviour of mangrove jacks here at the southern end of their distribution.
Where do we get our jacks from as juveniles? Do they leave our estuaries or even our region to avoid the cold each Winter?
Do we have breeding populations in our region? How big do jacks get in our estuaries?
Some of these questions may be answered shortly as researchers from Southern Cross University uncover information about the NSW North Coast mangrove jack population.
Based at the National Marine Science Centre, PhD student Toby Piddocke is using acoustic telemetry to follow the movements of mangrove jacks over a three-year period in three estuaries in our region.
Toby is after live specimens for his research so if you are equipped to keep a fish alive after capture, you can call him on 0439 796 609 and he will pick up the fish from you ASAP.
The jack will then have an acoustic tag fitted and will be placed back in its home estuary so that its movements can be tracked. If you need an incentive not to take one home for dinner, the project is offering $50 for live fish from the Clarence River. If you plan on targeting jacks make sure you save Toby’s number in your phone.
Although most anglers in our area release jacks, if you keep one to eat the project also needs mangrove jack frames from anywhere in NSW. All you have to do is take off your fillets, leave the head and guts intact, throw it in a plastic bag in the freezer and give Toby a call and he’ll come and pick it up.
All fishers who donate frames will be eligible for prizes. There is already interesting information coming from the research so with your help we could learn a lot more about the mangrove jack behaviour in our area. Email --e-mail address hidden-- for more info.