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Big season ahead for rock fishers
  |  First Published: November 2015



November is the start of a transitional period for South West Rocks and the mid north coast. No species have been outstanding, but it’s possible to fish for both winter and summer species in the same outing and still have a successful day on the water.

The current has already started running hard to the south bringing with it some beautiful warm blue water out wide. Big yellowfin tuna have been absolutely demolishing schools of baitfish present in the region and have fished explosively out on the shelf. All signs are pointing to an early pelagic season this year with the arrival of good water early, hopefully mother nature will be kind to us and the rainfall will stay at a minimum. Cobia has been the first species out of the gates this year, with fish being caught as far back as September. Most of the cobia caught have been from the areas around Green Island and Blackrock as well as a few fish that showed up on the gaol grounds.

The rocks

Fish Rock has generally had a lot of small but legal sized kingfish cruising around and some days is loaded with schools of bigger fish. This area can be hit and miss at times but you never know until you give it a try. It is very easy to be tricked into fishing light when catching these just-legal fish but, rest assured, the second you drop down to lighter gear you are likely to get blown away by a monster.

Black Rock is still holding some fair snapper especially during low light periods before sunrise and late in the afternoons. Mulloway and kingfish are a likely bycatch when chasing snapper here along the edge of the drop off.

With the current running like this it looks like the end of the deepwater fishery for this season. Perhaps with the exception of a few days here and there if the current lays off and you’re on the ball. Out to about the 60m depth, the current is still quite manageable especially if there are low winds. The leatherjacket plague has all but disappeared and there is a whole host of quality species to be caught. Snapper, pearl perch, teraglin and pigfish are all species that are still on the cards when fishing these depths.

Reefs

The bait reef waters in the region are alive with baitfish and are all holding plenty of slimy mackerel and yellowtail. However, the number of baitfish will decrease greatly because of increased fishing at this time of year, and mainly due to the arrival of the summer pelagic species of mackerel, marlin, and wahoo that will feast on these fish at the bottom of the food chain.

Tailor numbers are decreasing rapidly now, although the fish that are remaining are definitely of a better class. Rock fisherman are being kept entertained by a solid run of school mulloway, the average size of which has been around the 6kg mark – an awesome size to target on light to medium tackle. Soft plastics off the stones are a great way to target mulloway, it pays to keep mobile when fishing with plastics and cover as much terrain as possible until you find the fish, rather than being confined to one area and waiting in hope for the fish to come to you.

If there is a mulloway in the hole you will generally find out within the first couple of casts.

Rivers

The Lower Macleay has had some good sized flathead but the water is still fairly cool and they have not been overly active in the deeper holes and channels. Finding fish up on the sand flats and in the shallows has proven to be far more successful of late. Whiting are starting to appear up in the shallow areas pillaging through the yabby beds in search of food. Some cracking big whiting have already been taken on surface lures out of these shallow areas of the river.

The bass are really firing now with good fish being found throughout the Macleay River system and its feeder creeks. Surface lures are currently recommended as after a few hot days and the influx of the summer bugs these fish are now actively feeding on the surface. Good water levels and not too much weed are making for some enjoyable bass seasons up river.

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