Well the weather has finally turned the corner after the relentless rain, wind and big seas of late. It's good to have a blow and flush the estuaries out, but time has come to get amongst them again.
What the weather has done for offshore fishos is pretty awesome, with anglers targeting snapper having a field day. The word is the reds are firing on all cylinders, with most inshore reefs and gravel beds producing the goods. They are quality fish too, with a few knobbies upwards of 5kg amongst them. That's a solid snapper for here and not incidental captures either; there are a few around that size getting captured.
The inshore grounds are definitely fishing better, not only because it's been stirred up, but the cuttlefish run is in full swing, making them snappers hungry. Areas to try include Long Point, Haycock and White Cliffs; they have all produced lately and l can't see that changing any time soon.
You can expect morwong, John dory, trevally and flatties to make up the rest of the bag, with fresh, squid, cuttlefish and pilchards the preferred baits. Anglers casting soft plastics and bigger soft vibes will be rewarded also, especially fishing early around a tide change, preferably the low.
Further offshore and it's tuna time, with yellowfin, southern bluefin and albacore all possible opponents. Before the blow, some cracking yellowfin had been caught and a few jumbos lost, which is great to see early in the season. One visiting crew I talked to told me they saw 15-20 70kg fish jumping around chasing sauries about 10km past the shelf. They only trolled as they didn’t have live bait or berley, but unfortunately they didn't get a bite. That happens with yellowfin; when they’re tuned in on sauries they won't respond to anything else most of the time. Sure there's exceptions, but rules are meant to be broken on occasions.
The next few months will see these fish chew, with their whereabouts anywhere from the 40f line eastwards. It will depend on bait, water temperature and currents.
In the estuaries, they have received plenty of fresh over recent weeks and are just starting to clear as I type. The water has been very dirty, especially in Pambula Lake, but give it another week and it will be its usual crystal clear self. The fishing definitely slowed down with the amount of fresh we had as the water dropped a few degrees, but it's now picked up with flathead still pretty good fun on soft plastics. You can expect trevally, salmon and tailor towards the estuary entrance, with the main basin itself producing trevally, bream and blackfish. Anglers that have done okay are using smaller metal blades fished hard on the bottom in the basin, with soft plastics worked in the fast water towards the entrance. This system will only get better as we head into winter; it's a very reliable fishery when the cold water arrives, and I can't wait.
On the beaches, the swell has carved out some new gutters and closed others in, but most beaches have good solid formations. A quick drive around will soon see you fishing the right ones, but North Tura and Tura Main are the pick. Both salmon and tailor can be found in good numbers, with the usual methods like bait/popper combinations on paternoster rigs the most effective. Anglers after some exercise walking the beach will fare well casting metal Shiners deep into the suds for sizeable salmon. It's that time of year when big salmon will patrol the gutters, with greenback tailor on the cards as well.
If the pelagics aren’t for you, then you should be able to get a feed of bream and bigger whiting in the rockier corners on most beaches. Lightly weighted baits like pipis and worm should produce nice fish for the pan.
The rockhopper brigade after a feed shouldn't have any worries, with blackfish and drummer in good numbers on most headlands. I'd be looking at Short or Long Point, as both fish very well after heavy seas. Use lightly weighted baits like cabbage or bread with a little berley for best results.Reads: 407