A clear need to adapt
  |  First Published: October 2013

Regular estuary fishos over the past couple of months will have, no doubt, at some point cursed the crystal-clear water that has revealed every contour of the waterway; even the rivers have been touched by the liquid air.

Low tide has been the best time to find and catch fish through the day and successful anglers have been using light leaders and a patient approach.

Early mornings and evenings have also produced good fish that have held off feeding because they were too wary and spooky to feed during the day.

The good thing about the clear water, if there is one, is that you can see the formation and structure of your favourite fishing spot.

It also gives you a window into the size and numbers of big fish that lurk below.

While trying to find a few fish recently, I witnessed five metre-plus flathead cruising from the shadow of the boat, and that encourages me for the coming Summer.

There is hope. Along with the large females come a lot of males in the legal (36cm) to 50cm range, and they are very active.

Fish the shallow sandy or muddy patches between the islands of weed, especially on the edges of the many channels that dissect the lower lake.

During the run-out tide, the edges of the larger islands like Wallis and Regatta are good target areas to find these flathead.

Large whiting and bream are also getting around the islands and the water has a bit more colour to it, so the fish will be feeling more at ease.

I was using a 2.5” Gulp Baby Shrimp in banana prawn colour and a TT Hidden Weight jig head over the shallows at Regatta the other day and managed a dozen legal flathead to 2kg, so the fish are definitely moving down from the rivers.


Night fishing on the breakwall is the only real option with the clear water and early morning spinning from the point of the Tuncurry Wall has been producing some good-sized tailor and the odd salmon.

Evenings on the wall have produced a few school jew but no big fish have been reported.

Bream have been a highlight on yabbies and prawns, with the blackfish captures suffering from the clear water during the first of the run out.

The best luderick catches have been coming closer to the bottom of the tide.


A few whiting and dart have started turning up on the beaches and early morning bait or spin sessions are producing a few tailor.

As the sun breaches the horizon the tailor go off the bite but it is worth the early morning with choppers up around a kilo worth taking home for the smoker or a fish breakfast.

There have been some silver trevally schooling up at the rocky ends of the beaches and they have made a meal of the clear water while the pigs bunker out of sight.

The westerly winds blow the tops off the surf and the swell so when this happens and you need to go for a rock fish, target groper.

Groper were protected for decades because they were severely depleted by spearfishing and unregulated angling but since the ban has been lifted, the numbers of these fish, along the Mid North Coast has increased dramatically. So taking one or two every now and then doesn’t hurt.

But your best bet on the stones is to spin up a few tailor or salmon or bream in the washes early mornings, unless we get a solid south-easterly swell to put some colour in the water.

Then the pigs will come out to play but I have to say reports from Crowdy Head to Seal Rocks have been disappointing.

The bream down around Seal Rocks have been of great size, 1kg-1.3kg, with only the odd pig thrown in the mix.

Offshore, there have been some snapper and pearl perch taken on soft plastics, now the leatherjackets have thinned out.

Apart from that, there have not been any decent reports of significant captures offshore. Dare I say it; we need some rain high in the catchment.

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