Whiting and flatties popular
  |  First Published: November 2013

The weather is warming nicely on the Mid North Coast and many local and visiting anglers are out and about enjoying the balmy conditions.

It seems the Macleay River is a popular venue with quite a few boaties around the lower reaches.

We haven't had any rain to speak of for quite some time, so the Macleay is quite clear at the moment. Clear water usually means tough fishing, but despite the water clarity some nice fish are coming in.

The main players have been flathead and whiting, with the lizards preferring the last of the run-out tide when the water is discoloured, and the whiting hitting the flats early and late in the day.

If you're keen to try your hand at some flathead fishing, you can do a lot worse then jig soft plastics around the lower tidal flats on the Macleay proper, or in the Stuarts Point feeder arm.

The last of the run out concentrates a lot of fish around the deeper sides of weed beds and sandy drop-offs.

Flicking lightly weighted softies around 100mm long, you stand a good chance of coming home with a nice feed.

Bait fishos should fish the same locations with any number of offerings and cast and slowly retrieve them, or allow the tide to drift the baits through the strike zone.

Good bait choices are whitebait on a small set of ganged hooks, prawns rigged on a single hook, and various flesh baits and strips of squid.

Flathead certainly aren't too fussy; the key is simply running it past their nose.

Those with a hankering for some succulent whiting fillets should hit the tidal flats just above Jerseyville late or early in the day. The ideal combo is a high tide around 6am/pm.

The low light levels gives the whiting (and bream) confidence to scoot up onto the shallow country and by making long cast with light line, you can get in on the action without scaring the fish.

The lure crew love their small poppers and stickbaits; the bait guys are pretty happy with beach worms and nippers.

Those who love the freshwater can do a lot worse than hitting the bass country above Kempsey. Pretty well everywhere from the Kempsey bridge to Georges Junction and beyond are well worth a throw.

That's a hell of a lot of water but there are usually good numbers of bass right through the entire freshwater reaches.


Out to sea it's been a little quiet, with the only real stars being the snapper.

This is pretty close to prime snapper time and over the next few months we will see them thin out a lot, although the remaining fish will be quite large.

While there's not a great deal happening as I type, the good news is things are about to fire up big-time.

I saw the first hammerhead shark last week. This in itself is nothing too exciting, but the general flow of northern visitors goes something like this: hammerheads, mahi mahi, marlin, cobia, wahoo and mackerel.

The hammers may not be the most exciting northern visitors but there are plenty of interesting ones not far behind him.

The water has been around 22° and I suspect by the time you read this it will be closer to 24°.

From 23° up you can expect some fun northern visitors; just keep and eye on the water temp and colour.

If it's royal blue just off the Jail Wall, dust off the game gear and get out there.

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