March is a great time of year to be fishing in the mighty Clarence Valley. The summer species are still fishing well on the beaches; dart, whiting and tarwhine are doing well on baits like pipis and worms.
The dry summer weather has been affecting the river fishing, with the water being too clear and making the fish skittish through the day. Early mornings and late afternoons are much better times to fish.
Good eating size flathead have been around in numbers, ranging from just legal to 50cm. The usual plastics and blades have been working a treat, with colours like white and chartreuse doing well.
On the upside, that very same dry weather that has made the river fishing a little hard has also made the fishing outside great (the last few seasons were a washout). This time of year is when we start to see better quality pelagics so it's time to pull out and dust off the big gear. It’s important to make sure everything is working smoothly, especially your drags.
If you want to get out and among some sizeable fish, there are two ways to get the big one: lures and live bait. If you go the lure route, the best ones are Halco laser Pros and Rapala X-Raps. The trolling speed for these lures is around 6-8 knots.
If you go the bait route, live baits are best but you can also rig dead baits to swim. Any of the larger baitfish make great baits – mullet, gar, pike, yakkas, slimies, bonito and tailor all work well. You need to slow troll these, just idling along.
Places like One Man, Black Rocks and Woody Head are the best places to start hunting trophy fish like Spanish mackerel, cobia and the various tuna species. A handy hint is to keep trolling for another 10 seconds or so after you hook up and you may end up with a double hook-up.
That good, clean water will also hopefully give us a good crack at a great land-based game fishing season. The past four seasons weren’t the greatest, with rain playing a major factor in the poor fishing, so hopefully the dry weather will bring on a great LBG season for us.
Again, it’s important to make sure your gear is in good working order. As an angler you want everything to run in your favour as much as possible, especially in LBG where you only get so many shots.
On the rocks there have been some good bream caught on mullet gut and some nice flathead in the corners of headlands like the Bluff and Woody Head. There have been some good mulloway around as well on the rocks and north wall. Large fresh squid have been a great bait to tempt a quality jew but if you can't get your hands on fresh squid a great substitute is frozen Californian squid. These have done quite well on the mulloway when fresh bait has been unavailable.
On the lure front, local lure maker Steve Patti has been having great success with his Jewie Jewels. They have been accounting for many trophy-sized mulloway in the Clarence Valley, so if you’re a keen jew spin angler make sure you hit up one of the local tackle stores and get some.Reads: 1138