Explosive antics
  |  First Published: June 2014

Winter is here already and the first days of June mark the start of the closed season for bass to allow them to spawn. For the next three months we are not permitted to have any bass in our possession, so any caught must be returned to the water as soon as possible unharmed. During these months it is best that bass are not targeted at all as the stress that capture creates can disrupt their breeding cycle.

Light tackle lure anglers need fear not though as during winter the Macleay River presents us with other species which can be targeted using similar methods. School sized mulloway and big bream will be located throughout the lower Macleay, and deep diving minnows and soft plastics are the prime way to target them.

For bait fishers, live herring and mullet are the go-to baits for the river at this time of year and are readily available to be captured on bait jigs and in traps.

With the mullet run in full swing, mulloway catches are on the rise. Rock hoppers are getting amongst some solid fish, mostly around the low light periods of the day. Drummer, bream and tailor have also been in the mix from the rocks and will only get better as the year progresses.

The run of longtail tuna has been exceptional this year and looks like it may continue a little longer with most headlands being the scene of the explosive antics of these fish on a daily basis. The water has been alive with small whitebait and garfish and the longtails have been taking full advantage of the fact. Sharks have been a bit of a problem as always at this time of year. It pays to fish a bit heavier than usual as drawn out battles will normally end in your fish getting eaten at the side of the boat.

Offshore, cobia and wahoo are still making the odd appearance on the inshore grounds. Kingfish are in numbers around Fish Rock and Black Rock, although they haven’t always been playing the game.

Bottom fishing is starting to fire up as the water cools down. Pearl perch, snapper and teraglin are all on the cards however, the infamous schools of leatherjackets are in the 60m plus region. If leatherjackets are your thing, a wire rig will make a feed light work.

Deep dropping out on the wider grounds is producing the goods. John dory have showed up early and are of good size and also in good numbers. If you come across one, chances are it will not be the only one you catch. Provided you can get the conditions right with not too much current out wide, there’s a number of quality table fish species on offer. Kingfish, cod and pearl perch have all been coming in from this region on a regular basis.

Bream are an option on the beaches provided you can locate a good gutter. Live worms and mullet strips are a favourite bait for this time of year. Tailor numbers are good around low light times, with plenty of mulloway into the night.

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