Winter is well and truly upon us and beanies and jackets will be essential for early starts on the Tweed River.
Heading up-river into a thick fog and chilly air might seem daunting to all but the hardened fishos but it is what makes Winter fishing what it is. I really enjoy this time of year, especially chasing big winter bream.
The bigger fish usually move into the system around the full moons right up to August. Targeting them with softies and baits is excellent sport but try to remember to take only what you need for a feed and release the rest to continue on their spawning run.
Big bream areas in the Tweed at this time of year are pretty obvious by the number of boats in the areas. They are usually a bit less obvious mid-week and this is often a better time to chase the bigger fish.
Remember, they didn’t get to be big by being stupid. They are wary fish and take a fair bit of stealth to catch. Good areas to try are the gravel patch in front of the Kennedy Drive boat ramp, the deep coffee rock ledges from the mouth of the Tweed to the area behind the hospital, Barneys Point bridge and the rocky area just up-river, and the Boyds Bay Bridge.
These are not the only spots and if these areas are heavily pressured then I look elsewhere. Towards the latter part of Winter the upper reaches around Tumbulgum and the Condong sugar mill hold some stonkers. This is obviously dependent on how much rain the area gets throughout the Winter, so keep a watchful eye on the weather before making a choice where you are going to fish.
The up- river sections of the Tweed also hold some quality bass throughout the Winter as they head to the salt to spawn. They tend to school up at times in the deeper sections around Murwillumbah and Condong.
I target these fish by towing deep-diving hardbodies through the schools or vertically jigging soft plastics through fish located on the sounder. It is not uncommon to hook fish over 40cm in the Tweed in Winter but, once again, try to release these fish because they are becoming harder to find each year.
Good numbers of trevally and school flathead also frequent the upper reaches and the next fish that nails your lure is quite often not the target species. They are all good fun to catch, though, so I don’t complain much.
Blackfish will be around in good numbers this month, as will be evident by the number of fishos lining the banks. I often go down to the river if I have a few minutes and watch them catching these interesting fish.
The points of the North and South walls sometimes have massive schools of these fish hanging off them but fishing for them is very tricky. The area around the Boyds Bay bridge, the junction of the Terranora and Tweed arm and the rock walls around the Jack Evans Boat Harbour are all extremely popular blackfish spots.
Many of the gun fishos take their tinnies to more secluded spots to try and get away from the crowds so if you are after a feed of luderick then don’t be shy to try new spots.
Last month I mentioned that I was going to give the snapper a good go on plastics. After reading so many reports about the excellent snapper fishing around Moreton Bay, a mate and I decided to head out to the ragged ground between Fingal and the Nine Mile to give it a go.
We tasted success on our first attempt and have since pinned quite a few of these prized fish on plastics.
The gear used is a bit of a trade-off because of the lures used. To get the best out of our softies we used a fairly light 20lb leader which makes stopping these tough fish from busting you off on the rough terrain fairly hard. I suppose that’s fishing.
Four-inch Atomic Prongs on 3/8oz or 1/2oz jigheads have been by far the gun plastics for the red fish.
Making a long cast ahead of the boat and allowing the plastic to slowly swim down to the bottom is a good technique. Once it has touched down, give the plastic a few good tweaks to get it back up in the water column.
The snapper have been hitting the plastics on the drop anywhere from half-way down to right off the bottom, so be ready for the bite as soon as the lure starts to fall.
Peter on Sea master Charters has been making good catches of pearlies and snapper from the 36-fathom reefs right out to the 50s with the odd amberjack, kingie and samson. Good numbers of kingies and amberjack have also been falling to 300g Chaos Jigs and livies fished around the 50-fathom grounds.
June is another good month on the Tweed with all the Winter species happy to oblige those willing to put in the hard yards, so get out there.Reads: 1989