Spring has sprung on the Mid North Coast, and with the warming weather comes the promise of good things to come.
So far the highlight has been the ever-warming days, but you can also mark off on your calendar an increase in size and number of kingfish and snapper, flathead numbers building daily on the flats, and good number of quality bass throughout the freshwater sections of local rivers.
Spring is certainly a time of regeneration for both fish and anglers!
The surprise late last month was a solid run of quality mulloway. Most of these fish were 10kg-15kg with a few beasts, like one that pulled the scales down to 40kg.
Most of the fish have been taken on live bait after dark, with wriggly, slimy pike the top of the menu.
It's pretty out of season for a run of mulloway and I suspect it will be simply a flash in the pan, but it's worth sending out a few live baits if you happen to be on the river just on and after dark. You never know your luck.
More guaranteed targets are the aforementioned snapper and kingfish, although you will be heading in entirely different directions to find them.
Those keen on some solid Spring reds can do a lot worse than hit the northern reefs very early in the morning.
Big snapper tend to feed hard early for only a short period of time and then the smaller fish take over as the day wears on.
So get up nice and early and cast lures and bait over the reefs in 20m-30m off Grassy Head and Scotts Head.
Big kingfish usually abound at Fish Rock at this time of year. While I say, ‘at Fish Rock’ they can be found anywhere from Green Island to Black Rock, and even up to a kilometre or so wide of Fish Rock.
Basically, they follow the drifting bait schools and large shoals of sauries are right up on their list of favourites.
But these kings certainly won’t pass up anything small enough to fit in their mouths, and that’s pretty big. Small tuna, yakkas and slimies are all good baits, and so too salmon if you have the gear capable of feeding them out.
Big baits tend to equal big fish, so expect trouble if you feed out a 3kg salmon.
Back in the Macleay River, the main action has been mulloway.
But if they're not co-operative, next on the list would have to be flathead.
Spring does wonderful things to the old dusky flattie. Those lovely rays hitting the water warm the shallows nicely, and not surprisingly many of the local lizards are looking for skinny water with potential of food.
For anglers this means casting lures into those tidal-filled bays and flats, with particular attention on the edges off current lines, small drop-offs and weed beds.
Any place warm that's likely to house some bait is potential home to a flattie or two.
Bream are usually not overly active at this time of year, but definitely have been some nice fish caught. You can't expect to bag out on bream in Spring, but you can reasonably expect to score a few quality fish along the deep tidal walls.
Baits and lures swill score fish, with gun offerings like the Stiffy, Ecogear and Jazz blades all scoring fish.
For the bait crew, lightly weighted flesh baits of tuna, mullet and cubes of pilchards will work well. Fish light and fish around the tidal changes – preferably at dawn and dusk.
As the days grow longer and the water warms even more, you can expect find flathead at many more locations, with plenty of deep-water zones coming to life. But for now, sticking to the shallow country is a wise move.
The only other species really fired up is bass. Spring heralds the start of the bass season and many North Coast anglers are dusting off their kayaks and hitting the all those pretty creeks and streams bass love to frequent.
It's still early days yet and in many deep, heavily shaded creeks things are still pretty slow.
But for those fishing the more open shallow country, bass will be far more keen to belt lures. As each days slips by and the water temps rise, you can expect the resident bass to become increasingly active right through the entire freshwater reaches of the river.Reads: 1900