Macleay summer surface action
  |  First Published: December 2013

Bass fishing in the Macleay has been at its finest of late and should only get more exciting as the action turns to the surface with the influx of summer insects.

Lack of rain in the valley has caused the river to drop dramatically leaving a lot of the rapids with only a couple of inches of water flowing over them, making it hard for the upstream migration to commence. For the best results paddle a kayak or canoe up to the top end of the bigger holes where the bigger fish are stacked up, and pepper the hole with spinnerbaits and deep diving lures. Countless fish in the high 50cm (and even low 60cm) have been landed already this season, through all hours of the day, making it well worth the effort.

The lower Macleay has been all about big flathead and school mulloway, these fish will not just jump on your hook. Concentrate your efforts around deeper holes and tide changes for the best results. The most productive forms of bait have been 4-5” plastics and live herring.

This month we’ll see whiting numbers increase further in the river. Poppers and small pencils/stickbaits are by far the most exciting way to catch these tasty little fish. However, there is nothing wrong with a relaxing bait session using either pink nippers or live beach worms.

Offshore we are coming out of our transition period quite nicely. Although Mother Nature has dished up some fairly windy conditions the fish are there.

Acres of tuna have been spotted on occasions, which is a good sign of warm currents and things to come. Jigging on the deeper reefs has accounted for plenty of kingfish in the 8kg plus category, with a number of good-sized mulloway coming in from the same areas.

By December, Fish Rock will be firing, although the average size will decrease as we get closer to Christmas. Soft plastics and small jigs are the best option with a few poppers and stick baits thrown in for good measure. Be sure to fish heavy as you never know how big the next hook may be and the reef is never too far away.

Rock hoppers are being rewarded with some decent sized kingfish. The odd early season cobia have been spotted, these first sightings always spark excitement in the land-based sector for they know what is just around the corner. Clear water has made it tough to catch a lot of the other species, which dwell in these areas by day.

Night fishing for mulloway has been as productive as ever off the headlands. It is important to note that the legal length for mulloway has been raised to 70cm with two fish in total. This is a positive step towards rebuilding the stock to a sustainable level, and will only benefit everybody in the future.

Warm water on the beaches brings an influx of whiting and flathead into the gutters. A 7’ rod and a small spinning reel loaded with braid are becoming commonplace on the beaches, especially with the use of soft plastics and vibes for flathead. If there are fish in the hole, you will usually know before your lure hits the bottom.

Good-sized bags of flathead will be common right through the summer on mid-sized plastics and you never know when a decent mulloway will nail your presentation.

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