Sweating on the pelagics arriving
  |  First Published: March 2015

Well it’s March and everyone is getting keen about our land based game season — keeping an eye on sea surface temperatures, wind direction, and rainfall in the catchment. These are all factors that can play a big part in how the LBG action plays out, and how hard you may have to work for a fish.

Our 2 main target species are longtail tuna and Spanish mackerel, but whether you’re floating out a live bait or throwing lures, you never know what you might hook in the big blue. Bycatch can be anything from a mulloway to a marlin.

With live baiting being the most common way to chase pelagics in these parts, the most readily available bait at this time of year is garfish. You can catch them with a mixture of bread and tuna oil, lightly berley with it, and then I like to use a size 12 longshank hook with a small ball of the berley mixture kneaded onto the hook to catch the gars. To keep them alive, a small inflatable kids’ pool with an aerator is all you need, but you will have to keep the water fresh throughout the day, so a bucket with a bit of rope attached is handy for this.

All these conditions make for great boat fishing as well. We should still be seeing a few spotted mackerel getting around at the usual haunts like Shark Bay and Angourie, and mixed in with them should be better-sized Spanish.

The tuna will be making their way along the coast too, so if you see a bit of bird action, you might be in for some fun.

The good old Clarence favourite, a 6” pink squid, will still be accounting for some good quality fish this month. If chasing a bit more size, you can't go past trolling a live bait. You can use any of the usual suspects like yellowtail, mullet and garfish, but by far the best is a slimy mackerel. Slow trolling them around any of the inshore reefs should see you in with a good chance of connecting to something big.

In the river we will be seeing a good bit of action with the prawns running. Any of the favourite flattie spots from the mouth to Maclean will be worth hitting, with North Arm, Oyster Channel, Browns Rocks, Harwood and the Back Channel holding some quality eating size flathead from legal up to the 50cm mark. Soft plastics and blades are the way to go if chasing up a feed of lizards. Hopping them along the bottom on sandy dropoffs near weed beds that are holding prawns is a sure-fire way to rustle up a few.

The crabs are still running hot, with plenty of good muddies around. Again, the usual spots like the North and South arms, Lake Woolawayer, or the Broadwater are all producing good numbers of crabs, but you do have to watch out for people who like to check your pots as well as their own. To try and keep crab theft down, stick around your pots and have a fish while keeping an eye on them.

The mighty Clarence and all her tributaries are firing on the bass front, with plenty of action still to be had. And for all you mulloway chasers, if you’re anything like me you’re counting off the days on the calendar until mullet season is here!

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