While the mackerel season was not all that memorable in Coffs, it seems that the arrival of cooler water, around 19°, has brought the snapper onto the bite with many fish from 3kg to 9kg being taken on bait and soft plastics around the inshore reefs and bommies.
Offshore anglers trolling live baits have been hooking a mixture of mackerel tuna, longtail tuna and the odd spotted mackerel. Most fish have been caught over reefs less than a kilometre off the coast at places like Macauleys, Moonee, Sawtell and Bundagen.
Anglers trolling live baits or throwing lures around the headland and island washes have been hooking some big tailor, with fish from 2kg to 3kg common. For those wishing to plumb the deeper reefs, there are plenty of plate-sized snapper to 2kg, teraglin, tuskfish and pearl perch. Those sending big jigs and live baits to the bottom have been hooking big samson and the odd king to 18kg.
In the estuaries there have been good numbers of luderick, bream and flathead in the lower stretches and around the breakwalls. Luderick anglers should turn their attention to the breakwalls at Urunga and Nambucca.
As the water cools further and becomes clearer, lure anglers will need to fish farther upstream in the discoloured water.
On the beaches there have been some good catches of bream and whiting at Boambee and North Beach, while school jewfish have been taken around the tide changes at Hills, Sapphire and Back Beach at Woolgoolga.
Rockhoppers have reported plenty of mackerel tuna and the odd longtail tuna at Mutton Bird and the Quarry, while there have been some good tailor to 1.5kg taken at these same spots on ganged baits and metal lures.
I dropped a nice jewie yesterday on a 6” plastic from a local headland. It hit me in the stirred-up and sand-filled water at my feet and managed to free itself on the opening run.
If you are intending to fish for jew with plastics from the rocks, you are best concentrating your efforts in gutters that have sand bottoms and plenty of stirred-up water on the deeper edges. For consistent success you'll need to work your lures slowly, keeping contact with the bottom at the end of each hop. For this challenging form of angling I use an 8’ Saltiga Dorado rod, medium-sized threadline, 30lb braid and 50lb leader.
Gamefishers have reported water to 23° out on the continental shelf with yellowfin tuna, striped tuna and striped and blue marlin taking baits and lures.
In the freshwater, bass are taking soft plastics fished in the deeper holes and snags during the day while surface lures are still taking fish early in the morning, late in the afternoon, and after sunset.
There should be some good bass activity over the next month in the brackish stretches. If you are fishing in these areas, watch out for those bull sharks which have a bad habit of eating a fish as you're about to cradle lift it into the boat or canoe!
Over the next month I'll turn much of my attention to tailor and jewfish with the interesting headlands around Station Creek and Brooms Head calling for some attention. In these areas I'll fish soft plastics for jew and big poppers and metals for tailor. I'll take a small daypack and two rods, a threadline outfit for jew and an overhead for tailor.
Luderick have moved into the estuaries and good catches have been made on green weed.
There have been some good sea-run bream near the mouths of the estuaries. They’ll take lures and bait.
This bass ate a surface lure on a foggy morning.
The first few days of July should be the last for spotted mackerel – if they indeed do hang on this long.Reads: 982