Start early and fish hard
  |  First Published: December 2007

The usual culprits should be frequenting the Tweed this month with the pelagics firing on the offshore grounds and the mangrove jacks stealing lures up the creeks.

The Summer weather has been fairly kind to us so far and let’s hope it stays that way. Early starts have been the key to getting a few fish, with the boat traffic on the river over the silly season quite chaotic.

As the month progresses things should start to quieten down and we can get back to some serious fishing. All the Summer species will be on fire by now with the water up around 25° with the odd warmer pocket.

If we don’t get too much rain, many of the better concentrations of bait should start to make their way higher up in the system and with them a lot of the predators.

I watch the weather a fair bit over the Summer because the afternoon storms can get the fish biting as they roll in. Just be careful when fishing through the storms because we have already experienced some amazing lightning displays and as good as the fishing can be during one, it’s not worth the risk of being fried.

Afternoons on the Tweed are quite often very windy, which makes fishing a bit tricky. The wind usually dies off after a few hours of darkness and this is when the river fishes at its best.

I have spent some nights fishing after a busy night at my restaurant and not wanted to pull the pin because the conditions were just too good. The big-eye trevally feed in big schools at night and although you catch the odd one in daylight hours, it’s after dark when the numbers come out to play.

The area behind the hospital, around the bridges and along rock walls are the spots to start looking for them. I have a few mates who walk the banks at night and clean up on these quality sport fish.

They pull really hard and not much beats a group of big-eyes all trying to eat your popper at once. Slugs, plastics, livies and poppers will all account for their fair share of trevs; it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

Some good numbers of whiting have been caught on the flats. A few of the lure fishos have been having a good crack at them and instead of being an incidental capture on lures they are fast becoming a viable target species.

Poppers and floating stickbaits have been the top lures with the Lucky Craft Sammy catching good numbers of quality whiting. The unusual thing is that this is a 65mm lure yet the whiting still climb all over it in shallow water.

The trick is to make long casts over the shallow, weedy flats and keep the lure darting from side to side with the odd pause. Some good bream have also been caught in very skinny water using this technique.

I hope to take delivery of my new boat this month. It’s a bit of a dual-purpose rig designed to be able to fish offshore yet still be able to head up the creeks and chuck lures for flatties, bream and jacks.

It has been a frustrating few months without a boat but hopefully the new one will make the wait worthwhile. So if you see a bloke tearing up the river with a big smile on his face in a new Lewis Typhoon, come and say g’day.


There should be good numbers of mackerel at Palm Beach Reef this month with the odd cobia and spaniard thrown in. Floating pillies out behind the boat and casting slugs are the most popular techniques for the mackerel, with livies the preferred bait for the spaniards and cobia.

Trolling pushers around Kirra, the Nine Mile and the Mud Hole is a good way of catching a black marlin and this is one of the best months to be doing it. If you locate a good bait ball and can’t turn a reel after trolling it a few times, then pull the lures in and drop a livie back into the bait. The small blacks can’t refuse a freshly caught livie.

The water on the inshore reefs will have warmed up considerably now but even so the odd snapper is still being caught with plastics on the shallow reefs through Fidos and the Mud Hole.

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