If you are heading up the Tweed or out wide for a full day’s fishing, make sure you either have a good bimini top on your boat or plenty of 30+ sunscreen and a good hat.
Fortunately my lovely wife sticks a tube of sunscreen in every conceivable tackle bag I own so that I don’t have any excuses when I come home with bad sunburn.
The fishing in the river really hots up this month with the summer species settled in and feeding well. At the time of writing the river had a lot of phosphorescence during the nights, hours making lure fishing difficult.
This didn’t happen to the boys soaking baits, though, and they were still catching good numbers of jacks on flesh or live baits while I was struggling on lures.
So the next evening session you have planned for chasing jacks, keep this fact in mind. If it looks like New Year’s Eve fireworks when you retrieve your lure through the water, switch to bait for better results.
The whiting have been coming out in force for those putting in the effort and the action will continue this month. Although the river has been a bit discoloured due to the regular afternoon showers, there have still been fish spread out through the entire system.
The flats opposite the Murwillumbah boat ramp, the grassy island up around Condong and the flats opposite the Piggery and Fingal should all produce a feed of these delicious table fish.
There are quite a few spots to choose from so if you arrive at your favourite possie to find a few boats there already, simply move a bit further up or down river til you find another one.
This is also a good way of finding new ground that you can hit when the well-known spots are chockers with boats. Big whiting don’t like too much boat traffic, especially in shallow water, so finding a spot that is not very obvious to the average punter is often an excellent way to target the better class of fish.
Jacks will be in a really aggressive mood this month with the water temperature right up there. Trolling hardbodies, casting lures, live-baiting or fishing flesh baits are all great methods to try for one of these prized estuary fish.
Early mornings or late afternoons are the better times to be on the water. I recently took out Antony from Tweed Coast Marine for a late evening jack fish to show him how I go about catching them.
I was under the impression that Ant’s casting ability was fairly limited so I opted to troll hardbodies. He later showed me that this was not the case when he had no problem getting a popper straight into a school of trevally busting up on herring.
On our second troll run Anthony’s rod doubled over and I gunned the motor to pull the fish away from the rocky bottom. When the fish popped up next to the boat he couldn’t believe how strong it had been for its size. It put a big smile on his face and that’s what fishing is all about.
On the way back to the ramp we found some big-eye trevally busting up around one of the bridges and they were more than willing to jump all over the poppers we cast to them. All it took was a constant retrieve with a few flicks of the rod to get the popper blooping on the surface. It’s great fun watching the trevally smash it, especially if they follow it all the way to the boat and then hit the lure as you try and lift it out of the water.
The wahoo action around the Nine Mile Reef generally hots up this month although the number of fish around changes from year to year. Last season was a cracker with plenty of fish between 6-12kg coming out on just about anything that was trolled.
The boys towing for marlin were having a whinge about the number of pushers they were losing to these toothy critters, while the rest of us who were targeting them were having heaps of fun.
The usual technique used for these speedsters is to troll hex heads fairly quickly (between 10-14 knots) but hardbodies accounted for their fair share as well. The Halco Laser Pros, Rapalas and Halco Tremblers did most of the damage.
Just remember to add about 30cm of wire to the front of these lures to stop the wahoo snipping you off.
Also be aware that most of the guys trolling for these fish pull their lures a long way back so be careful when trolling past behind them. There are often a few punch-ups at the boat ramps caused by this so try to be aware of the boats around you.
The Nine Mile becomes a very small place when boats are trolling in all directions.
All in all, February is a great month for fishing so get out there and get stuck into them.Reads: 965