The festive season is in full swing right now and we are moving into a great fishing period in the Macleay Valley. Although things can be quite hectic and crowded at times, it is well worth persevering, and by putting in the effort you will be rewarded.
Big mahimahi have been the first pelagic species to come through, with the DPI FAD firing at times. Being first on the scene of a morning dramatically increases your chances at a big fish.
Kingfish numbers have been good for a couple of months now. There have been some quality fish taken from the headlands and the usual haunts like Fish Rock, Black Rock and Green Island, as well as along the face of gaol wall. Downrigging slimy mackerel along the afore-mentioned wall has proven deadly of late.
A late run of snapper this year has kept the bottom fishing interesting. Unfortunately, the current has been racing, making the deeper reefs a bit harder to fish. Bottomship jigging has been a popular approach of late. Hopefully as you are reading this, mackerel will be starting to make their presence felt. Both spotted and Spanish become one of our main target species from now until about May, and if it’s anything like last year we are in for some fun and plenty of quality table fish.
January is also an awesome month for juvenile black marlin, and reports from up north are pointing towards a reasonable run through our section of the coast. Most fish will be live-baited with slimies, but skirts and trolled hardbodies can be just as effective.
Beach fishing is warming up, with a good amount of whiting in the gutters. Along Smoky Beach, school mulloway have been rampant, especially if fishing until after dark. The odd tailor and plenty of bream are coming in for those anglers fishing into the night. Worms and pippies have been readily available from most beaches, so there is no excuse for not having fresh bait.
Good amounts of blue spot flathead are being caught on 5” soft plastics thrown into the low tide gutters during the day. A 7’ 2-5kg spin outfit makes this form of fishing very enjoyable and keeps you mobile, so you can move from gutter to gutter without having to lug a lot of gear along.
Mud and blue swimmer crabs have been available throughout the main river, Clybucca Creek, as well as the various tributaries in the area. Flathead are absolutely everywhere, and are responding to just about everything thrown at them. The bigger fish seem to be holding along the rock walls, hanging in tight against the boulders waiting in ambush.
School mulloway have been as prevalent as ever, with the average size around the 5-6kg mark, making them well and truly legal if after a feed. The river is teeming with live bait, with tonnes of herring and small pike present. If you can get a tank full of them and set yourself up in an area holding bait, a big flathead or school mulloway is not far away.
Big forktail catfish are prowling around the first couple of kilometres of river. These fish have been fooling a lot of people into thinking they have hooked a decent sized mulloway, only to reveal their whiskery faces boatside, much to the dismay of the angler. Love them or hate them, they are fun on light gear.
The sand flats and weed bed edges up Clybucca Creek are fishing well for whiting on the surface, and there are plenty of flathead being taken from these shallow areas too.
Bass numbers are relatively good and the quality is improving. On some occasions it takes a fair bit of searching to locate the better fish, but I can assure you they are there.
Rock fishermen are catching their fair share of kingfish, most falling to stickbaits, poppers and larger metals. Groper have also been around in good numbers, with crabs being the preferred bait.
Love them or hate them, forktail catfish are lurking around the Macleay.
Tim Meehan with a quality bass taken from one of his secret locations.Reads: 449