Big jewies in the surf
  |  First Published: August 2007

The jewfish action in the river over the next month will start to slow, with most of the big fish moving on as the schools of mullet move off the walls.

But the school size fish will start to move into the deeper water because the prawn season is now only a few months away. The start of September should bring the school jewfish into areas like Browns Rocks, Palmers Island and the many bridges throughout the lower Clarence. Lets hope this year’s season will be as good as last year’s.

Big jewfish off the rocks and beaches is where the best of the action has been with many fish over 20kg. The best bait off the beaches has been a big live mullet you can free-swim out into the gutter.

Finding the right place to fish is just as important and those fishos in the know have had the best of the action. Other baits that have also been working off the beaches are fresh squid and fresh tailor fillets cut into long strips.

The jewfish off the breakwalls have also been biting freely with a good run of 12kg to 15kg fish. Live mullet is also the No 1 bait here with fresh octopus a close second.

The occy is the best fresh bait for this area because the small picker fish can’t eat the bait before a jew comes along. They also give away the position of your bait as they pick at it. An occy can also stay on the hook even after several casts. You can even use it like a lure with constant casts and retrieves.

For those that prefer to soak a bait then fresh fillets of mullet and tailor or fresh squid are your best options.


The flathead at Maclean are still on the bite with the Broadwater the pick of the spots for school fish. Lures and bait are working well in this area with many of the better fish falling to hardbody lures worked over the shallow sand banks.

Best tide for the Broadwater is a high and the run out for the mouth of the lake. Fishos chasing the larger fish will find them in the deeper water around Maclean with Rocky Mouth the hot spot.

Bream at the mouth of the river have been thick with all fishos bagging out. This has been a good year as the morning temperature as been low enough to get those big fish biting in good numbers. Bait and lure have been working with the night fishos getting the best of the big fish.

Those night fish have been getting up to 1.5kg. If you do fish at night on the Clarence, keep an eye out for other boats because 90% of boats using the river at night do not use their nav lights and it has been getting quite dangerous lately.


Good catches of big tailor have been reported on the beaches and rocks. The beaches have had a run of fish up to 1kg with the odd bigger fish after dark. Best baits have been pillies, sea gar and mullet fillets, with chrome lures working well through the day to reach the fish sitting in the backs of the gutters.

Off the rocks, large poppers are landing the big fish through the day with big minnows and large sea gar working best at night. The rocky headlands are fishing well on the run-out tide while the beaches are best on the run in.

Snapper will be moving on to the close reefs soon and the chance to land a snapper over 9kg on a soft plastic is looking good. August, September and October are when I have had my best plastics sessions on big snapper.

With many quality fish being caught it is starting to look good for the season ahead. The best snapper usually bite on the rising tide on the inshore reefs and drifting across the reef slowly is usually the way to work. But don’t be afraid to experiment – it is how you get an advantage over your mates.

It seems a lot of fishos believe that I still own tackle shops in Iluka and Yamba. I sold both shops in June, 2005, and have had no connection with them since. Many visiting fishos have asked where they can get reliable info and good tackle and I suggest you visit Paul at Big river Bait and Tackle at Maclean. He stocks and uses the latest and greatest in lures for all local fish.

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