Sizzling Summer season
  |  First Published: February 2007

What a Summer we’ve had on the Clarence with some of the best jewfish action I have had for years, great whiting and good mackerel.

Here is a quick run-down of what happened on six consecutive outings. Trip 1 to Palmers Island, three jewfish. Second trip, Browns Rocks, Palmers Island and Maclean, two jew; third trip, Palmers Island and Maclean, three Jew. On the fourth trip, to Palmers Island, we landed six jewfish and on the fifth trip to Palmers we boated eight. The sixth trip, to Palmers Island and Maclean, yielded four fish, totalling an amazing 26 jewfish in six consecutive trips. You just don’t get fishing like that every day.

The lures that did most of the damage were 5” Gulp Jerk Shads, 6” Gulp Night Crawlers and 4” Gulp Noodles, all rigged on TT 3/8oz Revhead jigs. All fish where caught between 7am and 4pm on the bottom and top slack tides.

There have been big bream at MacLean and I mean big, with some fish going 40cm-plus to the fork – that’s about 1.3kg to 1.6kg for a Summer bream.

Many of the local soft-plastic lure fishos have been experiencing this great action and these fish will hopefully stay in this area now. With plenty of bait coming down the river, the only thing I can see moving them on will be lots of rain.

Maclean has really been the hot spot over the past few months with big bream, mangrove jacks, flathead and lots of jew. So I suppose the message is when fishing the Clarence river the place to start looking is around Maclean. Calling Paul Kneller at Big River Bait and Tackle on 02 6645 1834 will give you the best chance of having a successful trip.


With water temps pushing 23° to 24° offshore the mackerel season began off Woody Head with some big catches of spotties. Top Nob Reef was one of the hot spots again this year with all the traditional methods working well.

Through the rest of Shark Bay, trolled pink squid lures worked best to find schooling mackerel.

This month the southern mackerel grounds will really start to fire and those big Spanish mackerel should make a show so be prepared.

Those looking for some good LBG action should turn their attention to the Iluka breakwall with all the bait showing up this month. Those longtail tuna will be close behind and the action should heat up now with surface lures and livebait with the average fish this time of year between 12kg and 18kg.


Whiting are still going strong with bag-limit catches at night for the experienced anglers. The current hot spots at night have been Sleeper Island, Oyster Channel and the North Arm. Good quality live worms are a must for the big fish in these spots at night so take the time to get good bait.

During the day the best spots to try are the sand flats around Turkey Island and the Back Channel. Live worms and live yabbies will do the job through the day.

Those chasing the smaller trumpeter or diver whiting will find big schools in the lower reaches. The main channels around the Middle Wall and around Freeburn Island are the best spots to start looking.

Worms, yabbies and prawns will catch these fish. Lures also work very well with the Berkley Gulp sandworm in a range of colours producing good results. When using lures for these whiting, stay on the drift to keep the lure moving.

Crabbers will find their targets spreading farther up-river with good catches coming from many recognised spots. The water quality at the river mouth is good and the sand crabs are active on each run-in tide.

Finding good spots to set the dillies can be hard with the big tides causing the river to flow faster so choose your spots carefully and avoid any excess water flow or add extra weight to keep the dillies on the bottom.




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