Something biting anywhere
  |  First Published: February 2007

With each passing month the fishing just seems to be getting better. It really doesn’t seem to matter whether you’re fishing the ocean rocks, beaches, river or out to sea, there’s likely to something biting.

Not surprisingly, most anglers have been fishing out the front of Trial Bay Jail. The warm currents have hit and there are some top quality game fish wandering only a few hundred metres from the stones.

The first to arrive were cobia, followed by black marlin from 15kg to 80kg, then the yellowfin tuna arrived. While it’s not going nuts just yet, if you putter around with livebaits in tow, the odds are you’ll hook something serious.

Heading north or south aren’t bad options, either. Kings at Fish Rock and some top reds on the northern reefs from Grassy Head to Scotts mean it’s a toss-up which way to go.

There’s absolutely miles of good snapper country up north and with the influx of good blue water and plenty of baitfish, expect the action to increase through Summer into Autumn.

Fish Rock has some top kings but they can be temperamental buggers, biting freely one day and shutting up shop the next. As a guide, if there’s no run, you’ll have little fun. If you turn up and there’s plenty of good water sweeping by and birds hovering, you can reasonably expect the kings to be active.

The next tricky part is landing the mongrels. The underwater topography of Fish Rock is pretty horrendous – vertical drop-offs from 6m to 30m, line-shredding pinnacles and even separate islands of rock they can charge around. It’s a pretty tough place on terminal tackle and any fish over 10kg landed is deemed a good capture.

With the good water pushing right in, LBG fishos tend to come out of the woodwork. From now to late May you can expect some top action on the headlands that are swept by blue water, with anything from yellowfin tuna, cobia, Spanish mackerel and even the odd marlin. If you like exciting shore-based fishing, now’s the time to hit your favourite possies.

Beach anglers are enjoying a good run of whiting, dart, flathead and some nice bream. Surprisingly, there’s still a salmon or two around although I suspect they’ll thin out in a few weeks. You can catch a good feed on the local beaches if you fish early or late in the day with top baits like beach worms and pipis.


While the blue-water fishing steals much of the limelight this time of year, there’s some pretty good estuary action if you’re prepared to miss out on the game fishing. With the warm water come XO-sized flathead, a good run of school jewfish and increasing bream numbers in feeder creeks and tributaries.

If there’s a good influx of whitebait from the beaches, the lower reaches of the river can really fire up with various small tuna species, GTs, big-eye trevally and even the odd cobia.

Lately it’s flathead that have kept the local and visiting anglers busy. There’s a pretty good run of tasty smaller fish up on the tidal flats with most fish around 500g to 800g. While most fish up on the flats are generally smaller, I did spook and absolute horse the other day that must have weighed 6kg to 7kg.

Bream tend to move up-river at this time of year and they don’t seem to care how far they go. Just the other day a mate came back from bass fishing and was stunned at the number of bream he’d seen 10km above any tidal influence. I assume these fish pretty well reside in those holes, competing with bass for cover and food.

Whilst some bream obviously travel many miles up-river, the majority seem to settle for the mid tidal-sections from Benalong to Smithtown.

School jewfish also don’t mind travelling, being found pretty well anywhere from the river mouth to Kempsey at this time of year, though most seem to station in the first 5km of the river. The Summer fish are usually from 3kg to 9kg and are often in good numbers – well worth targeting on baits or lures.

Bass anglers have been having some fun with fish biting in virtually every section of river from Kempsey to beyond Georges Junction. There’s an awful lot of water to explore on the Macleay and you can be pretty confident virtually everywhere you decide to fish there more than likely are good numbers of resident fish. One thing, though: The farther up-river you head, the bigger the fish tend to be on average.

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