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Shades of red at Port
  |  First Published: April 2007



Lately we’ve been seeing red along the beaches and sometimes in the rivers – the dreaded red weed, that is – but conditions have been slowly improving and the weed dispersing. But anglers venturing offshore have been seeing a different kind of red, one that makes the heart race and shortens the breath.

Good-sized snapper have been cruising the shallows and taking soft plastics. The inshore reefs off Lake Cathie and Laurieton have been the hot spots.

Good gear and some good luck will help you land these fish. Chris Blanch from Port Macquarie Tackle sent me some great pics from some happy customers who found a good patch of reds and had a lot of fun. Targeting fish and slowly drifting 5” Gulp Jerk Shads in camo colour was the key.

Some good Marlin have been tagged and released or landed with the best action coming from north of Port Macquarie. Trolled slimy mackerel are the preferred baits.

The bottom bashers this month should have the best rewards with some good bags on the cards.

Rockhoppers have begun to smile as the weed clears and have been producing some nice bags of bream, tailor and luderick.

A good friend was on a regular rock outing chasing bream and tailor when some visitors turned up and decided to get into the action. Without spending any time observing the conditions, these anglers chose a very low spot and started fishing.

My mate was horrified because he’d spent some time at the ledge and had seen several waves crash over the spot these guys were fishing. Luckily for them a small wave came and gave them a scare and they moved before something terrible happened.

This is a timely warning to any angler wishing to fish the rocks. It’s better to waste 15 to 20 minutes watching the conditions before setting up to fish than to end up as another rock-fishing statistic.

WEED RECEDES

The beaches have also been improving as the weed clears with good catches of bream from the gutters on Lighthouse Beach.

Tailor have been patchy but should start to pick up this month. Pick spots for tailor should be the northern beaches and Dunbogan Beach.

Whiting should still be around with the southern beaches the most productive with worm baits. Fresh strip baits should tempt the bream and tailor.

I’ve heard of reports of rays and shovel-nose sharks playing havoc at night but if these two species are hanging around there is a good chance some nice mulloway won’t be too far away. Some good catches should start rolling in this month.

The estuaries have been fishing reasonably well. On a recent outing we aimed to spend three hours on the water and caught around 80 tailor, flathead, bream, herring, trevally, and whiting. We took home a feed of flathead and had an absolute ball.

We went out with little expectation except to have fun. A lot of the fish we caught were undersized but ate a variety of lures from soft plastics to hard minnows – suspending, sinking, surface, you name it, we threw it and caught fish.

We did all this along a 1km strip of bank fishing natural structure and a healthy weed edge dropping into deeper water. So get out and enjoy the fishing in the rivers this month.

Those inclined to chase luderick should be in for some good rewards. On recent bream outings I’ve seen heaps of good-sized fish cruising the flats.

The usual shore-based spots will be the go but if you have a boat the weed beds in the Maria and Limeburners creek will be very productive. Since the Hastings River became an recreational fishing area the luderick are spreading out and spending more time on the weed beds and less around the rocky points and usual shore-based spots.

On the weed beds they once would have been easy prey to the commercial netters so remember this and be grateful that we have an RFA and respect our waterway.

Flathead mostly have been up-river due to the red weed in the lower sections but this month they should spread throughout the system in good numbers.

Sifting through the small fish can yield some good results for legal-size fish and some big females. Big lures and big baits will get results. Remember to handle these bigger fish with care and take only what you need, not your limit.

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