Blue water holds the key
  |  First Published: December 2006

The fishing just seems to be getting better over the past month or so and there’s no reason for that to change for a while yet.

An early push of blue water 23.5° hit the inshore grounds and sparked up some pelagic action, with good mahi mahi and a few billfish moving in. Sadly, no sooner had the good water arrived than it was gone again. This is pretty normal for late Spring but very soon when it hits it will stay for months on end.

Hopefully this season we’ll see a good run of exciting game fish. Unfortunately last year was a bit of a dud with virtually no mackerel and only a short run of marlin in January. Fingers crossed we get a blinder this year!

The local FAD in 60 fathoms has been quite reliable for good mahi mahi virtually all year. Even in the middle of Winter there were still sizable mahi calling the yellow buoy home. Now, with the fresh influx of warmer water, I suspect the buoy will fire up even more. I love those bigger dollies so hopefully this season there will be a few 20kg-plus fish caught. And let’s hope it’s me who catches them!

Those fishing for kings have been kept fairly busy. I’ve been to Fish Rock only a few times this year but each time there’s been good numbers of decent kings keen to hit surface lures. I got cleaned up by some 20kg thugs a while back but the fish at present are more manageable size around 3kg to 8kg. While there hasn’t been too many big ones landed lately, some visiting divers speared some around 16kg so there are some good fish there, it just depends on what mood they’re in.

Heading north has been pretty reliable for inshore snapper, though our last trip produced only a dozen smallish fish and one good bust-up. With good blue water and a subsequent influx of baitfish, the inshore reefs should fire with a mix of big snapper, cobia and, slightly further down the track, mackerel. It should be interesting hitting the northern reefs in a month or so.


The river fishing has fired up with a good run of solid jewfish in the lower reaches. A good spot of rain was the catalyst and thankfully there still seem to be a few good jewfish and flathead poking around.

Again the lower reachers are the go with most fish caught between Jerseyville and the river mouth. All the deep rock walls in between potentially hold big fish, it’s just how you fish them and, more importantly, what mood the fish are in the day you head out.

If they’re keen they’ll take lures, live and dead baits with little thought. If they’re playing hardball, you may have to fish hard and put in the hours after dark to get results.

Bream have also made a welcome return with reasonable numbers in the lower reaches. Shore-based, flicking cut flesh baits of mullet, bonito or cubes of pilchards will produce a few nice fish around the tidal changes.

Boat anglers can do much the same or flick small rubber lures along the rugged rock walls. There are a few school jewfish mixed with the bream so you may hook something a little more substantial on your light bream gear and be in for some anxious moments.

I’d pinned my hopes on a good run of big flathead in the lower reaches by now but it looks like they may not fire up until we get some proper warm water. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some good fish up to 7kg but they’re certainly not in larger numbers yet. They should group up better in the next month or so.

Those heading further up-river chasing a few bass have found good schools around Kempsey. Those heading further up-river have found larger fish but in much smaller numbers. It seems the weed around Greenhills is well worth a shot, especially just on dark with surface lures. During the day, fish deep with lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits.

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