Some promising action at last
  |  First Published: May 2007

After a long period of unusually slow fishing, it seems finally the drought has broken.

When things were lean, it didn’t really matter where you went, if you caught more than a few decent fish you we sure to be followed by others not so fortunate. But finally, after nearly five months of way below-par angling, we have some quality fish around in reasonable numbers. About bloody time!

It seems the spotted mackerel must have heard me whinging and right on the 11th hour they have shown up in pretty good numbers. Like most locals, I was sure that was it, another lousy spotty run, but it seems they are here in good numbers and size.

As usual, they’re favouring live slimy mackerel and the smaller the better. It’s funny, usually when you head out to sea you want the biggest slimies you can find but when the spotties show, you desperately look for schools of smaller fish.

Big fish get plenty of hits but you miss virtually every strike. You’re better off putting in the time looking for smaller baits.

If that fails, use pilchards and other flesh baits fished down a berley trail. While the mackerel have only just shown up, get out there quickly because they could leave any day!


Cobia are still plugging along, with some good fish coming from around Green Island and Black Rocks. The front of Trial Bay Jail is also worth a shot with fish up to 25kg being caught almost daily.

Over the past two years there have been exceptionally high numbers of cobia around. They have been caught sporadically in the river, along the beaches and rocks and offshore for months and months now. Every time I think ‘that’s it’, back they come again. They’re great fish and well worth targeting.

As expected, the marlin have thinned out markedly and most anglers have given up chasing them. The run was pretty average compared to years gone by but a surprising numbers of punters put in a full effort daily over the past few months. Most caught fish but mainly due extreme persistence. I chased them about eight times, caught two and quit. Hopefully next year they’ll fire up big-time.

Kingfish numbers are improving. While they’re not going nuts, if you head down to Fish Rock or Black Rock nice and early you can reasonably expect to find a few decent fish. Live yellowtail fished deep have been scoring the better class of fish. You’ll still have to sift through the just undersized fish but you should come home with a decent feed.

Snapper anglers are just starting to smile again. It’s been pretty quiet for most anglers (though a few guns anglers have consistently pulled quality fish for months) but for the masses, now is the time to seriously target snapper.

Most anglers fish the northern reefs in around 30m to 45m around 2km to 3km out anywhere from Grassy Heads to Scotts Head and even further north. There’s miles of reef, it’s all a mater of finding some interesting country – preferably with shows of bait – and putting in a little time. Baits and lures work fine. Find the good country and put in a decent effort.


The mighty Macleay River has been far from exciting for months. Some time back I thought that all we needed was a decent dump of rain but, after receiving a pretty good soaking, the river is fishing worse than ever.

I remember when a fresh meant jewfish firing up around the river mouth and good numbers of bream, luderick, flathead and whiting in the lower reaches for months on end. Now a fresh usually means you’ll catch very little for weeks on end and have to put up with this horrible fish-dispersing brown water.

While the river fishing is pretty bloody tough, it’s not hopeless. If you put in plenty of effort with good baits and proven lures you can still catch a few good fish.

There have been school mulloway around Jerseyville bridge, bream up around Smithtown and decent numbers of flathead on most tidal flats. The place certainly hasn’t been firing but it could be worse – it has been!

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