Get out and have a go
  |  First Published: April 2013

‘The best time to fish is whenever you get the chance’ has always been my motto.

Yes, the tides, phase of the moon and many other factors decide what’s the ideal time and place to fish but none of it really matters if you can’t get out.

I just get out when, and where, I can and then try and fish to the conditions. Luckily, April is a great time to be fishing almost anywhere on the Coffs Coast.

Offshore, the mackerel, longtail tuna, mahi mahi and marlin should still be in full swing. The latter two species are most prevalent in clear, warm water so the odd rain event has been pushing them off the coast but the wider marks have still been producing.

If you’re after a feast of fillets, the wave recorder buoy and the Fisheries FAD are both good for mahi mahi, as are as any fish trap buoys you spot along the way.

The mackerel and tuna should be quite happy inshore, even if it is a bit dirty.

During the latter part of the season slow-trolled live or dead baits generally produce most of the mackerel and longtail tuna. The tuna tend to take smaller baits, from pilchard size and up.

For the mackerel, don’t be afraid to use big live baits. Bonito, sea mullet and tailor make great live bait for big Spaniards, but don’t forget that the mullet and tailor need to be of the 30cm legal size, even if only for live bait.

A decent Spanish will quite happily take on a 1kg-2kg fish if it’s rigged well.


The beaches have been quite hard to fish over the past couple of months, with above-average swell for a lot of the time.

Those that have managed to sneak onto the sand have been rewarded with an abundance of fish, especially near estuaries, where a lot of fish have been pushed out by rain.

The gutters near river and creek mouths will continue to produce good fish this month, especially if we get some more rain.


The rain towards the end of Summer has also given life to some estuaries that needed a good shake-up.

Bonville Creek is flowing more freely at the mouth, with the increased tidal movement making fishing a bit more predictable.

Any areas of broken weed bed have produced plenty of good-sized bream and whiting, as well as some very big flathead.

The trevally will continue to dominate the middle stretches of most estuaries. There have been schools of small GTs harassing baitfish working up through the estuaries. The bigger GTs can usually be found around significant structure near these marauding schools of smaller trevally.

Mangrove jacks and trevally will be pushing up into the brackish and freshwater reaches, where there are plenty of snags to drift your live mullet past or cast your lure into.

Those who want to wet a line in the fresh stuff won’t find any shortage of it. The rivers are all running well and the ground is full of water, so any rain will flow straight into the rivers.

Your best chance for bigger bass in the local systems is higher upstream. Medium hardbody lures in the day and surface lures at night will produce best.


For those visiting for the school holidays, there are plenty of places to catch a feed or just have some fun with the family. Boambee Beach, Sawtell Beach and Sapphire Beach are easiest to access and each has good gutters for mulloway, whiting and bream.

Muttonbird Island and the north and south walls of the harbour are excellent rock locations where you could target anything from mulloway, snapper and tailor to kingfish, mackerel and tuna.

Going on the first few months of this year, there is a 50/50 chance there may be rain and/or swell over the holidays. In this case, the marina is a very good all-weather location and a good spot with the kids.

The marina offers all your basic estuary species along with almost any near-shore species including mulloway, trevally, kingfish, tailor, bonito and mangrove jacks.

Just a trusty pack of prawns, some hooks and a few sinkers are all you need to get the kids onto some fish. Or grab a few lures and walk the walls, there’s plenty of structure to cast at.

Whether the weather is with you or against you, if you’re out there, there are fish to be caught. Enjoy, but stay safe.

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