Plenty of winter options about
  |  First Published: June 2015

It’s nearly goodbye to the trout for another winter. The rivers certainly copped a lot of water in the second half of the season, so let’s hope that leads to good numbers next season and a bit of a groundwater buffer to keep them flowing for the end of the year.

The plentiful water has made the plateau a surreal playground to spend your time fishing in this last month, and has made for some very enjoyable trouting. Remember that you have about a week to enjoy it before the season closes at the end of the long weekend.

Another long weekend event that normally occurs on the Coffs coast in June is the Dave Irvine Memorial Snapper Comp. Unfortunately, we won’t be enjoying it this June, as the competition had to be postponed/moved to another date. Organisers are looking at running the event in August, hoping for better snapper fishing and more stable weather. The other bump in the road has been the sudden closure of the Coffs Harbour Deep Sea Fishing Club. The club is currently under administration and there are efforts in several directions working towards having it back up and running as soon as possible. Hopefully it can be restored to business shortly, but whatever that form may be, nothing is set in concrete yet.

Some of you may have booked holidays prior to the Dave Irvine postponement and will be up here on the long weekend anyway. If that’s the case, then don’t feel like you’re missing out, as this long weekend is sure to be the best weather in a decade and it just means you can get out and not care if you happen to catch a kingie, sambo or a mackerel, which are still around in good numbers. There will be plenty of snapper about and no pressure at all, so enjoy the long weekend and remember the date change is just another excuse to come back in August!

The beginning of May was dominated by several massive weather systems that dumped a lot of rain on the whole coast. This meant the river mouths, rock walls and beaches were being dominated by mulloway and mulloway anglers.

Lures with really big profiles and a lot of vibration accounted for many school fish throughout the month. Some scored the odd large specimen, but it was live baits and slab baits that tempted the big fish most consistently, although bull sharks can be a pest when fishing this way in dirty water.

The estuaries were quite brown for some of last month, but as we slip further into winter, the conditions will become drier and estuaries move into that winter mode of crisp, clear days both in and out of the water. As the water cools, it’s a great chance to catch big bream down in the lower reaches. This means clear water and therefore finesse fishing.

Winter bream can be a quite a challenge to tempt, but it can also be very rewarding fishing. Your best bet will be deeper diving hardbodies and sinking lures like small soft vibes and plastics. Fish structure in deeper water, especially if there’s some pockets of slightly coloured water. Work slow and patiently. These same spots will produce flathead and whiting, and at this time of year you may still come across a mangrove jack or trevally.

With bass and trout off the cards, sometimes the freshwater anglers can feel a little hard done by during winter. This time of year is the perfect time to duck out west and across the range for some winter options. Dumaresq Dam is only 3 hours from Coffs and offers the possibility of fishing for trout in the middle of winter. From Armidale west there are many options for both wild and dam fisheries for natives and trout.

So whether you’re offshore enjoying the mild Coffs winter, or venturing out west to the sometimes bitter cold, stay safe and enjoy the plentiful winter fishing we have in this area.

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