Quality fish move in
  |  First Published: February 2014

Summer is in full swing and the fishing and weather are heating up. After weeks of northeasterly winds holding cold green water in close, we have had a few successive southerly winds bringing nice, warm blue water and quality fish with them.

Some quality catches of snapper and pearl perch have been coming in from the reefs out along the inside edges of the current line. These catches were far above any expectations of bottom fishing for this time of year.

We now have mid to high 20ºC waters and a pelagic season starting to fire. Spotted mackerel have not been in huge numbers but they have all been of a quality size, and Spanish mackerel have been playing the game for those keen enough to fish light. This has been resulting in a lot of bust-ups but that’s OK – the fish will become less timid as the season progresses.

In close, small black marlin are making an appearance with reports of the odd sailfish out from Hat Head. Blue and striped marlin have been found out a bit wider along with some big mahi mahi (dolphinfish). The Fisheries FAD is loaded with small mahi mahi but it is hard to pull a decent sized fish from this area at the moment.

Mixed bags of bream, whiting and dart are in abundance among the beaches. These bread-and-butter species are a great way to get the whole family out, and with plenty of fish around it is easy to keep the younger ones interested.

February and March are the best months to target flathead off the beaches. Low tide usually gives access to the best gutters. It is amazing how the shallowest of gutters can hold some of the best flathead. I try to find the gutter with the most baitfish, whether it be mullet or small whiting, because that means the flathead won’t be too far away. My favourite lures are 5” plastics, but metal lures, blades and even freshwater spoons can also produce the goods on any given day.

Rock fisherman are being rewarded with Spanish mackerel and cobia as well as jewfish, bream and the odd tailor. Black tip whaler sharks are around in large numbers at the moment as well as the less desirable shovel-nose shark. Big flathead and school-sized mulloway (school jew) have still been a major feature in the river. These fish have moved upstream as the salty water pushes further up due to our lack of rain. The best catches have been in the Smithtown to Jerseyville section of the river. Big schools of trevally have been seen in this same area, busting up schools of baitfish along with kingfish and tailor.

Bass are still in abundance in the upper Macleay. Small fish are there by the thousands but there are also plenty of big ones about. There is an amazing amount of cicadas this year and it is not uncommon to catch a fish with half a dozen cicadas in its mouth. With this in mind, cicada imitation surface lures are by far the best choice at this time of year.

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