Flood novelty is well gone
  |  First Published: May 2013

If I see another east coast low forming, I'm moving to Alice Springs!

Like most anglers I'm totally over slow tropical lows and their pain in the bum flooding.

I used to think floods were good things because they would clear out siltation, scour good clean channels, remove excessive weed build-up in the freshwater reaches and usually bring the river system to life. Now I'm not sure.

Floods equate to very limited fishing options, putrid water rotting the grass behind archaic floodgate walls, and finally the release of toxic water from said gates a week or so after the rains have cleared, leading to terrible fish kills.

And lastly, greedy beach haulers out in force to mop up the struggling fish taking refuge on the local beaches.

In the past, floods were viewed as nature’s way of cleaning out a river system. Now they simply equal death to struggling fish stocks...

OK, on to more positive news. By the time you read this I assume the river will be running nice and clean again.

And this is the time of year the mullet are in numbers, which to any serious jewfish angler is an exciting time indeed.

In the lower reaches, the first 2km-3km of the river should be alive with mullet. As you can imagine, large amounts of bait will attract their fair share of predators, with dolphins, sharks and mulloway all enjoying the easy pickings.

For jewies, night is usually the go. Boat anglers could do a lot worse than catch a few mullet and feed one out under a decent-sized float, or simply let it free-swim unweighted behind the boat. Pick a deep, sweeping bend and put in a few hours around the tide change.

Shore based fishos can send out livies from the local rock walls or spin with large hard-bodied lures. Again, those fishing after dark will have the greatest chance of success.


After the mullet run we can expect to see rapidly building bream numbers. Again, we're talking the lower reaches of the rivers.

This is the start of the bream spawning run with many fish fresh off the beaches meeting many others from the rivers right at the river mouth and adjoining beaches.

Sadly the mullet and bream runs herald the start of the beach netting season. Technically there is no ‘season’, it's just that they net even harder from now right through until there's nothing left to net.


The waters off South West Rocks are renowned for being a lot warmer than many points north and south and this is why many exciting game fish hit this part of the coast in such good numbers.

Right now the water should be around 22°-24° depending where you go and at this temp cobia, Spanish mackerel and some good snapper are right at home inshore.

Add passing mahi mahi, the first of the small yellowfin tuna, longtail tuna and even the odd baby black marlin and you can still find some great fishing during this wind-down period.

Beach fishos are beginning to smile as all those bream and mullet are building on the open surf beaches. Add some numbers of tailor and the inevitable jewfish following the food chain and you can see why the beaches on the Mid Coast are popular places to fish.

Fish early and late and work around the tides that best suit the local gutters. Spending a few hours on the local beach can be very pleasant this month.

Further up the Macleay, the bass are in wind-down mode but will still be keen to belt lures for a month or so before slowing right down over Winter. Now is the time to enjoy the last of the surface lure action and start thinking about fishing deeper with vibes and diving minnows.

From the beginning of next month it's illegal to possess these fish and it’s best to leave them in peace until Spring.

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