After a solid week of 20-knot south-easters we finally got some warm water at Coffs, which sent the surface fish into a frenzy.
LBG anglers got among the longtail and mackerel tuna in a big way with longtails from 13kg to 21kg taking yellowtail, garfish, slimy mackerel and chopper tailor baits from the rocks at Mutton Bird Island and the Quarry/South Wall. Most mack tuna have been from 3kg to 5kg and have been taking yellowtail baits.
No mackerel have been taken from the rocks but there have been reports of bite-offs on mono and light wire.
If you are serious about catching a Spanish from the rocks then 60lb wire is the starting point. Given the extended fights and difficult terrain, it makes sense that rock anglers will need to fish slightly heavier terminal tackle than the boaties.
Young Johnny from Fishing Tackle Australia helped me land a 14.5kg longtail from the rocks a few days ago and he was desperately unlucky to lose an even bigger fish at his feet after an extended fight on 10kg tackle.
Fishing writer Scott Amon has been getting snapper over 5kg on soft plastics. Scott's not saying but a little birdie told me that he's been pulling some of his bigger fish from some very shallow and well known bait grounds. These same bait grounds are fish-rich at the moment with bait, tuna, mackerel, kingfish, tailor and cobia all getting in on the act.
The reefs to the north of Coffs have been fishing particularly well with most anglers never having to travel more than a couple of kilometres from the harbour before they can get at the big pelagics. Chad Hastings and Billy Livingston have been taking their bass punt out on the flat days and giving the kings, cobia and mackerel a hiding using live baits and soft plastic lures. The Park Beach Bommie has the starting point for most of their successful trips.
Wide of South Solitary Island, the bigger boats have been trolling up wahoo to 12kg, yellowfin tuna to 20kg and black marlin. Deeper down there have been pearl perch, samson fish, teraglin and snapper to 9kg.
In the estuaries there are still good numbers of mangrove jacks hitting lures and live baits as well as flathead, bream and luderick.
At the moment mullet, bream and luderick are starting to school up near the inshore bommies and river mouths so I guess the scourge of the North Coast, the beach haulers, won't be too far away.
Jewfish anglers have reported good catches during the recent dark of the moon with fillet baits and soft plastic lures accounting for some big fish to almost 20kg. A mate who is a land-based game fan showed me a photo of a 30kg jew he landed recently. The big fish took a whole squid bait from a headland on the northern beaches.
In the freshwater there have been plenty of bass taking surface lures with the early morning and evening periods accounting for the best fish. The bass will start to head back down to the brackish stretches over the next month and this should provide anglers with the opportunity to experience some excellent after-dark bass action.
The next month should see the best mackerel fishing for the late season, while at the same time the estuaries and beaches will go into their Winter mode.
Mackerel from the boat, jewfish from the beach, luderick from the break walls and tuna from the rocks will be high on my target list.
If you are travelling to the North Coast to do some offshore or rock and beach fishing, it may pay to bring a canoe or light car topper. If the south-easterlies blow and the seas get too big, the freshwater fishing options may be a real trip-saver.
Now’s the time to target big bass at night on surface lures.
An estuary cod prior to release. These are a protected species in NSW.
There'll be jacks around for the remainder of this month. The good news is that the solar sombrero will be exchanged for a beanie!
The warm currents have brought the whiting onto the bite on the beaches.Reads: 593