This month the water should have cooled off significantly with the majority of the Winter species starting to settle in the river.
Bream will comprise the majority of the catches, while fishos looking for a feed of blackfish shouldn’t be disappointed. We should see the majority of the spawning bream heading into the system over July and August. Last year we had pretty foul weather over the full moon which caused the main body of fish to arrive in August. It will be interesting to see what happens this year.
The quality of the bream in the Tweed at any given time is quite visible at the foot of any of the cleaning tables at the boat ramps. You will be amazed at the number of good-sized bream hanging on the fringes of all the little ones getting stuck into the bits of scraps thrown into the water. I use this as a simple indication of when the bigger fish arrive.
The cooling water will bring the bass out from the tops of the creeks and into the main river as the urge to spawn forces them towards the salt. The area around Murwillumbah and down as far as the Condong sugar mill will have the odd bass lurking in the snags. They are quite happy to hit a small popper or hardbody worked tight against the structure, just remember to fish with a decent leader or you will soon be tying on a new lure.
Towards the latter part of the month the bass tend to school in the upper reaches and can often be seen on your sounder in the deeper sections.
July sometimes sees a fair bit of rain in the Tweed and this often influences where these fish are in the system. There were reports last year of bass being caught as far down-river as the Chinderah rock wall after some heavy rain, so they can pop up anywhere.
Some big flathead are found throughout the deeper sections of the Tweed in July and can be targeted with large plastics, livies or whole dead baits. Just remember that these are mostly the breeding females and try to handle them with care. The biggest fish I got last season went 92cm and was back in the water very shortly after being caught. Hopefully this same fish will be caught one day when it has eclipsed the magic metre mark.
The Winter run of tailor should be happening by July and the end of the North and South walls should have a few good fish. Spinning with slugs or drifting whole ganged pillies around the fringes of the whitewater should see you in with a good chance of a feed. The low light periods will be the best times to target these fish.
Jewfish are also a target species in the Tweed over the Winter. Fish for them around the change of the tide for best results. Any of the deeper sections of the river that have a constant supply of bait are good places to start.
There have also been tagged jewies stocked into the Tweed so if you manage to catch one of these tagged fish, please let the relevant authorities know. There have been signs placed at the boat ramps with their contact details.
Winter is one of my favourite times for offshore fishing. I can get stuck into the local Seriola family with the jigging gear or do a bit of bottom-bashing for reefies.
Good-sized snapper are starting to come in thick and fast. Floatlining for these impressive fish is always the best producer but recently soft plastics have been taking their fair share of quality fish. It seems the plastics work a lot better once the sun is up while the bait accounts for more fish in low light periods.
We are still experimenting with the two techniques and are learning more and more on each trip. Unfortunately the jighead stocks take a bit of a knock every time a knobby takes a liking to one of my softies and decides to keep it. We have hooked some absolute brutes and stopping these fish before they find the reef is always a challenge.
The deeper reefs have been producing good catches of pearl perch and Peter from Sea Master Charters has been getting stuck into them.
July is a good month to be out on the water. The early starts might be a bit cool but the fishing usually makes up for it so get out there.Reads: 717