A spectacular Spanish and spotty season
  |  First Published: May 2015

Okay guys, say that 4 times real fast! What a cracking season the offshore sportfishos have had. The north coast inshore waters are alive with Spanish and spotted mackerel, and as I pen this column, my good mate Dave Wells informs me that cobia are in on the action as well, with several good fish being landed. The best was a 22kg beast on a 10kg outfit caught by local angler Damien Rafter on board Calypso.

The offshore action is taking place from Plomer Bay to Hat Head. If you want to get into the activity, you better hurry, as they won’t stay around with the water about to change for the cooler period of the year.

As to be expected with the amount of speedsters offshore, the inshore reef fishing has been a little quiet, however, throughout the coming month I expect to see anglers back chasing snapper and other reef dwellers as the tide should settle and make for better presentations of baits and lures.

Not getting out last season for snapper on plastics has me keen to try the grounds from Lighthouse to Cathie. These areas from 15-40m out hold some very good fish, and casting 125-175mm plastics up into the tide can definitely put snapper on the boat. The thing I really love about this style of fishing is the surprise element, with mulloway, pearlies, mowies and the ever reliable flathead getting in on the act.

Hastings River

The river had been patchy after a few freshes went through, but I am happy to report most of the system is back fishing well, with only the Maria River section remaining dirty after the flush. The exciting news will be the mullet moving out, and this will bring good mulloway activity. These next few moon phases should be worth a crack then, with live bait, slabs or lures. Already a few quality fish have been taken from the North Wall on plastics and hardbody lures.

On the walls, the bream will also become a good target as they gather for their spawning run. Daytime lure anglers can catch them in most of the deeper locations using deep plastic techniques or vibration lures. Just remember to work the lure slowly and the results will come. For the bait fishos, bream can be taken from the walls of a night with nippers, mullet or quality green prawns being the best bait options.

Up-river has seen a few mulloway caught and around the Dennis Bridge we recently had a few reasonable hookups, only to pull the hooks. Unfortunately, this happens, but we did still manage some good sport on a couple of legal models on plastics. On Castaway Estuary Charters, we have been tagging the mulloway for the NSW tagging program, so if you get a fish with a yellow tag in it, please record the number and let Fisheries know. If you are keeping the fish, return the tag to them.

Mud crabs have been exceptional, as have the blue swimmers, and this may be the longest period of consistent crabbing here for a very long time.

Luderick anglers are preparing for the winter run, and we should see action on the South Wall soon. What a revelation the green weed fly has been, with some long-time luderick fishos now saying they wish they were using them years ago. Just a note, the new limits on luderick are in force, so 10 is the limit now, which I’m sure is a good enough feed for anyone.

Rock and Beach

I did manage a trip to Lighthouse Beach for a morning tailor spin, but it didn’t happen for me. With the tailor definitely about though, we could be in for a great month. It is just a matter of finding the right formation and then finding the fish. The guys from Ned Kelly’s Bait and Tackle fished Lighthouse recently and managed a few smaller mulloway on slab baits. Let’s hope the conditions are good for May, because with the mullet moving and the tailor on the prowl, it could very well be the month to tangle with a big fish off the sand.

In May we can also look forward to finding a few bream, blackfish and tailor from the rocks. An early morning spin session for tailor can be well worth the effort, with either gang hook setups using pillies or garfish, or belting a chrome slice out across the washes. If you want a bit of fun, try blooping a Halco Rooster Popper — these can get you onto XL tailor, plus the odd king, depending on location fished.

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