The key to success offshore this month will come down to one small species: slimy mackerel. Gathering slimies for bait is a relatively easy task for most of the year, but it usually becomes progressively harder as we get further into the mackerel season. The last few weeks have been hit-and-miss with slimies but luckily there have been plenty of scads around to fill in as a close second when it comes to live baits.
Mackerel numbers have been awesome of late with Spanish catches far outweighing spotties. The majority of fish for both species of mackerel have averaged around 7kg. However, there have been Spanish caught up to the 30kg mark.
Slow trolling live baits and anchoring up with a berley trail have been the most productive methods for catching mackerel. However, trolled diving lures have accounted for plenty of fish on the way to and from the mackerel grounds off Grassy Head and South West Rocks.
Some solid cobia have been caught from around Fish Rock on trolled diving lures as well as the odd decent kingfish. Black Rock and the surrounding reefs have also accounted for some nice black kings.
There is a buzz moving through the rock hopping community with the arrival of several schools of bluefin tuna over the last few weeks. These fish have been harassing the schools of garfish that are in the area at the moment. Marlin, Spanish mackerel and cobia are also frequenting the inshore washes.
Big bream are starting to enter the Macleay at present, mostly concentrated in the first few kilometres of the river system. Unweighted baits of tuna or mullet floated along the rock walls are proving deadly, as are small lightly weighted grub soft plastics.
Flathead are in good numbers in the mid reaches of the Macleay between Jerseyville and Smithtown. Most fish are being found tight against the rock walls waiting in ambush for unsuspecting prey. I have found smaller 2” grub soft plastics aimed at bream are accounting for most flathead. Jewfish catches in the river are rising now, especially catches of bigger fish. This should only get better as the mullet start to run.
Big schools of trevally can still be seen on a daily basis, especially around a tide turn, busting up everything in sight. There have been countless reports of anglers getting blown away by fish well over 6kg on light estuary gear.
Smokey Beach is fishing well through the mid section of the beach. Whiting have started to thin out, but the average size outweighs the lack in numbers. Blue spot flathead have been ever reliable and bream numbers are ramping up as we edge ever closer to winter.
Bass fishing in the upper reaches of the Macleay has come down to a game of finding a decent hole with water in it. If you find one you should be rewarded with some solid fish. Surface lures are still producing the best action and will also help you stay above the weed.Reads: 863