This has always been one of my preferred times on the water. The dreaded nor’-easters aren't so dominant and the water temps are usually at their peak, meaning all manner of species will be about.
It will be interesting to see if we have a return of the mangrove jacks that were captured in the Clyde around this time last year. Three big fish were caught by anglers seeking flathead and with more fishos targeting jewfish with lures, we may see some more red fish surprising anglers again this year.
Mini-cobia also seem to show up in the river in peak season and these are a bit more common over recent years. In one memorable week a dozen fish were captured, mostly by anglers chasing bream.
Of course all of the usual river suspects will be on the chew, particularly in the warm shallows for those working surface lures.
Wade Eaton had a recent session popping the shallows for whiting when 96cm of flathead grabbed his little 65mm surface lure, providing 10minutes of mayhem that he won’t soon forget.
Etienne DeCelis scored surface-lured 88cm flathead while targeting whiting the same day. Etienne said the fish would peel off 10m-20m of line, then turn head-on to him and stand on its pectoral fins with its head out of the water, often shaking its head like a deranged crocodile.
This strange standoff occurred numerous times throughout the 10-minute fight before the fish tired, allowing Etienne to get a measure on the big girl and set her free.
Jewfish have been a bit scarce recently but will definitely still be lurking in the system somewhere. With little no rain to speak of, jewfish often push really high into the system where the likes of black bream and estuary perch are found.
The bass streams are drier than I have ever seen and the fishing has been a bit tougher than usual.
I recently did a favourite stretch that takes about seven hours to paddle but this time round there was more dragging the craft over dry boulders than paddling. Snags and undercuts where I had captured fish last year were a metre above the water.
There are plenty of bass to be caught, it is simply not as enjoyable when you are always dragging your craft to the next pool, rather than paddling. Before the levels got too low we were scoring multiple fat, healthy fish over 40cm.
My son Noah recently entered the 40s club with one of the fattest 41cm bass I have seen. The 42cm fish I caught the same day would have weighed 500g less.
January was a bit disappointing for marlin with only a handful of good days producing fish. The bait schools have really condensed now and with the best ocean currents well and truly here now, this month should be a cracker for striped, blue and black marlin.
You will find the stripes from around 60 fathoms out to the first drop. Either side of the shelf and beyond is where the blues will be and the blacks can show up anywhere from the ocean rocks to the canyons and seamounts.
There should be some mahi mahi in with the school yellowfin and striped tuna.
Kingfish continue to excite with numerous reports of fish filling sounder screens and anglers catching good 5kg-8kg fish. Jigs, trolled lures, live bait and plastics are all scoring so head to sea with plenty of options and you should succeed.
Snapper are inhabiting the same reefs with plenty of 3kg fish. Live baits are accounting for plenty of reds, which makes life easy when fishing for the kings. Rohan Griffin and Jeremy Abbott have been locking horns with 3kg-6kg snapper pinching their live slimy mackerel – welcome by-catch in anyone’s language.Reads: 970