Things looking good at last
  |  First Published: June 2007

As the weather gets cooler, the fishing is only getting hotter.

Since last month’s report things have picked up markedly. While the late flurry of mackerel action was certainly welcomed, sadly it was very short-lived. So again we had another flop mackerel run with only a few hectic days for the entire season, but a new influx of cobia has sparked up in the inshore scene.

Most of the action has been just off Trial Bay Jail but those chasing reds up north, and kings down south, have reported cobia action as well.

They’re certainly not as thick as last year, (which was an exceptional run unlikely to be repeated) but they’re in pretty good numbers compared with any normal seasonal run. If you put in the time in known haunts with quality live or dead baits, the odds are you’ll find a cobe or two.

Most of the cobia have been from 10kg to 16kg with a few much bigger specimens thrown in. Some around 30kg have been taken, no doubt giving the lucky anglers a great work-out.

This is usually the last month when we see cobia in good numbers until December, so if you like fishing for them, get out ASAP before they move on.

Surprisingly, there have been a few black marlin calling the Jail Grounds home. Last week I hooked and landed a 25kg black fishing for cobes in 20m of water. And the charter guys report hooking a few trolling skirted lures close to shore. They may well be gone by the time you read this, but who knows? Every species this year has been late, so maybe the marlin run is about to start!


With the mackerel all but gone it time to think snapper. All those northern reefs in 30m to 50m are well worth a shot as some big reds move from the deeper water onto these shallower reefs during the cooler months.

Some judicious anchoring, a little berley and lightly weighted baits should give you a good shot at the snapper. Start your day early and keep the berley trickling along and you should come home with a nice feed.

If you’re like me and love chasing Winter kings, heading south becomes exciting again from now on. Although you can catch kingfish all year round, it’s the cooler months (and particularly towards Spring) when the big bruisers come out to play.

It can be heart-in-mouth stuff throwing surface lures at Fish Rock or Black Rock during Winter when the kings tend to be very aggressive and happy to take surface lures.

Most average 6kg to 10kg with reasonable numbers of 12kg to 18kg models. I’ve seen schools of 20kg to 30kg fish destroying 3kg salmon so don’t be too surprised if you turn up and there are 1.5m torpedos cruising around.

Closer to shore, the bream and tailor have thickened up along the headlands and beaches. Get out at dawn and dusk casting a few pilchards to tempt a few fish.

Reports from anglers fishing the stones have all been good – plenty of bait, good-sized bream and ravenous tailor in low light.


The mighty Macleay River has been a bit of a fizzer for months now and for me it’s been pretty lousy since last November. Sure, there are a few bream, flathead and jewfish if you put in the time but compared with seasons gone, the fishing just isn’t what it used to be.

Hopefully it’s just some seasonal lull and nothing more sinister. Time will tell but, as it stands, if you’ve been catching good numbers of fishing in the Macleay recently, you’re either super-lucky or a gun estuary angler.

Reports of bass movement up-river have sparked up a few jaded anglers. As the weather cools we should see some more action a little closer to the salt, with areas between Kempsey and Smithtown worth a shot if you’re keen on Winter spinning.

Last Winter the run was very slow but this year’s could be a little more exciting.

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