Some fish are meant to be caught
  |  First Published: September 2014

In mid-July and were still Spanish mackerel to be caught. How totally weird was that? They weren’t numerous, but that might be because nobody was really bothering to chase them. Most anglers either switched into snapper mode or got the feet up and the boat in bits after a busy gamefishing season.

Local charter boat Better Than Vegas put in the days right through early winter though, and some proved to be diamonds. The gamble of running to the Red Rock Canyons, a distance of about 40 miles northeast, certainly paid off for first-time marlin fisho Mick Hooper from West Wyalong. He scored a nice striped marlin of about 90kg for his troubles after the fish did the usual stripy thing, window-shopping the entire spread before settling on a lure it liked.

A couple of weeks later, with the current easing out wide, a planned deep dropping trip got canned as they passed through 40 fathoms, simply because of the sheer amount of bait marking mid water. This produced six mahi mahi from 75-95cm, a bunch of fat stripies and mac tuna, and three keeper kings. There were also a couple of marlin marked around the bait, but unfortunately they refused to rise to the lure spread.

Mahi mahi in July. Again, how totally weird is that?

A couple of other striped marlin have been seen and at least one caught in the 50 fathom area recently, in less than cobalt blue water. Stripes don’t mind the green stuff so long as there’s bait present. Fishing green water does my head in, so I’m probably better off concentrating on snapper fishing for the time being, which, as an aside, has been very tough going this year. Granted, the water is still perhaps a tad warm as I write this, but there is another theory: due to almost no rain this year (by Coffs’ standards at least), the pH balance along the coastal fringe is all out of whack and it’s not suitable for snapper spawning. Right or wrong, that’ll do me for an excuse until a better one comes along!

One reasonably successful day though, saw one of my Alveys throw off a massive backlash when a red picked up the bait and hit the afterburners. The line went round the handle so tight that I couldn’t free it, and the rod continued to bend like it was going to snap. Consequently, I was left with no choice but to wind the mono around the handles and over the tangle rather than onto the spool, and basically hope for the best.

Then the fish got me in the kelp for a while and I could feel the taut mono dragging through the underwater shrubbery. Fortunately, it came clear and I was able to nurse the fish to the surface on shredded line. While not massive at a couple of kilos in weight, some fish are just simply meant to be caught!


There was a disappointing turnout of just a couple of dozen people at the Deep Sea Club back in July to hear representatives from the Roads and Maritime Services explain the future of recreational boating in the Coffs region. It’s symptomatic of the malaise affecting this part of the world.

Crown Lands should have been in attendance to explain what was happening with the slipway, but weren’t, and there’s still no progress on fixing the state’s worst boat ramp either. Apparently the ball is in Coffs Harbour Council’s court now. Any ratepayer who’s ever had to wait to get a pothole filled or some other work performed will know that it’s anyone’s guess when it will commence. Even a look at the plans would be something, but no…


There’s some good waterfront news at least. The new diesel bowser at the Coffs Harbour fishing co-op is now accepting credit cards, so fuel is available 24/7, which is fantastic news — no more waiting for the commercial boats to finish unloading, and no call-out fees for after-hours refuelling.

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