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Last chance for bass
  |  First Published: June 2014



The month of June has a lot packed into the first week here in Coffs. Firstly, by the time you read this you’ll likely have a couple of days to catch your last bass for the season. June 1 is the start of the bass no-take season to give them some wiggle room to spawn in. Most of the bass will have moved down towards the brackish stretches of all the local rivers and creeks to spawn.

Although the closure doesn’t prohibit you from targeting bass, just keeping any, it’s generally thought best to leave them alone to make sure they can have a successful spawning season. Bass may often become bycatch when bream fishing in the upper estuaries this time of year, so if you do hook a bass make sure that it is released as healthy as possible.

Trout anglers in NSW also have limited time to get their fishing done before the trout closed season begins. Unlike the bass closure, trout waters are completely closed to all fishing during the closed season which runs from the June long weekend until the long weekend in October. The trout fishing has not been the best over summer but it has improved dramatically with the rain and cooler weather over the last two months. If you’ve got the time, the last week before the closure may be the best trout fishing all season. You will need to be prepared for the cold though, as the region has experienced some severe chills this month already.

SNAPPER

Just to make sure that the saltwater anglers don’t feel left out, the long weekend will also see Coffs Harbour again host the Dave Irvine Memorial Snapper Classic. When this issue goes to print you will still have a few days to register and/or get some pre-fishing done. This event is always great fun and is a top way to get geared up and ready for a snappery winter.

For those traveling to the competition or locals who can’t get around to a pre-fish there shouldn’t be too much mystery to the snapper fishing this month. Over the last month the snapper have been hanging fairly close inshore in very shallow reef and rubble. The washes around the headlands and islands will fish well but the pick will likely be the shallow pinnacles rising from shallow reef.

If you’re fishing the Snapper Classic don’t be surprised if you get some very speedy bycatch. By the looks of the previous month there will likely be mackerel and longtail tuna still hanging around the inshore reefs. Using slower soft plastics worked down close to the bottom will reduce the chances of hooking any toothy critters on your light snapper gear, but if you’re after that rush then a soft plastic jerkshad retrieved as fast as possible around the bait schools will likely tempt a mackerel or two. Trolling hardbodies and live baits will be the most likely method of hooking a late season mackerel though.

Aside from the Snapper Classic there should be continued great snapper fishing close inshore. This time of year is a great time to get offshore on your kayak and enjoy sensational fishing only a few minutes’ paddle from shore. Sawtell, Diggers beach and Arrawarra are excellent launch sites with nearby snapper grounds. Ensure you pick the right conditions and remember to go with an experienced paddler if it’s your first time.

Trolling a hardbody lure and soft plastic fishing are both excellent ways to target snapper from the kayak. For the boat anglers it’s a great time to use a little less fuel and fish the inshore reefs. Plastics and cut baits will work well for the snapper and a live bait has the potential to attract good kingfish and the bigger snapper.

Over the last month many anglers have still been able to target the mackerel with live baits as well as lures such as stickbaits when the fish are schooled up around bait. The mackerel will follow the warmer water out of here shortly though and the main targets will again be snapper and kingfish.

MULLOWAY AND TAILOR

Although it’s cooling down, the mulloway fishing should be heating up, especially in respect to size. The beaches and headlands should start to produce a few more larger mulloway as well as some good tailor. Both species have been increasing over the last month. Each of these rain events makes the local creek and river mouths great mulloway attractants so keep your gear ready for those times.

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