If you are a local, December should be a lot of fun as the river in January will be chockers with holiday makers. The weather’s slowly heating up, but the good news is the river is full of baitfish and prawns of all sizes making the waterway a veritable smorgasbord to the fish.
Bream, trevally, whiting, fingermark, flathead and the odd jack are all showing up around the sand pumping jetty up river from Chinderah with plastics rigged to suit the tide working well. Blade vibes seem to work best and as the water is murky the brighter coloured lures seem to entice them. If you are up that way it’s a great spot to chase the elusive horse bream along the banks all the way up to the boat building shed.
I’ve heard of a few showing up but not much excitement yet, one keen mate with his new yak has been surface fishing at daybreak at Bray’s Park Weir, but so far no luck. I will be chasing bass myself soon – and if you don’t have a boat check out some of the inland streams from Bilambil to Marbah, it’s a lot of fun and the fish are there.
Terranora Broadwater and Cobaki are currently producing a lot of nice legal whiting and I’ve noticed the ‘guys in the know’ pump their nippers at low tide – what ever the time – and head out when the flats are covered with water. As the nippers seem to be everywhere, they catch their feed and go home. If you can’t pump your own nippers, some of the local tackle shops sell them and live worms work almost as well. Look for the yabby holes on the low tide, then fish them with fresh bait on the high tide and you could be in for a feed. Those nippers bite, so I’ll stick to poppers any day!
The north and south walls have been a little unpredictable, with more fish caught on the outgoing rather than the popular incoming tide. If you’re bait fishing for bream, tailor or mulloway I’ve always found the incoming works best. Tailor have been landed on metal slugs and gang hooks with pillies, however I suggest at this time of year, if you’re a night fisho, to explore Jack Evans Boat Harbour. Sometimes the fish that move through there chasing bait are the biggest you’ll see in the river.
Good news for flathead fishermen, as more quality fish are being landed in the river. A lot of them have been around the 55cm mark, which is perfect for the table. If you’re chasing lizards with lures, sometimes it’s better to think outside the square. A common practice is to find a hole and fish either side of it depending on the tide, but out of the 10 or so 90cm plus lizards I’ve landed on the Tweed, 8 were caught in less than 2ft of water, which is very interesting indeed!
Getting back to those big predator fish – you’ll need what I call a broom stick rod – one that can stop a big fish in its tracks, or at least slow it down, as well as a good reel and some serious braid and leader. One morning under Boyds Bay Bridge around 2am – it was pitch black, tide coming in, I was on my yak casting along the pylons with the trusty ‘horn dog’ Z-man Jack lure, and then ‘damn – a snag.’ That snag took off like a bullet! I turned the yak away from the bridge and peddled my guts out trying to pull this fish away from the structure. I was thinking ‘big jack’ but this monster was pulling the Hobie all over the place, I’m thinking ‘don’t panic’ - all I wanted was to see what it was, and I knew once I had him away from the bridge he was mine. Eventually I wore an astonishing big trevally out and as he was floating behind me, I couldn’t even fit him in the net, so I ever so slowly pulled him in and lip gripped my personal best 7kg+ trevally.
These fish will show up at Jack Evans Boat Harbour, under all the bridges, but if you have a boat and don’t mind an all nighter Condong Sugar Mill is worth a try, seems quiet most of the time. But if you’re like me you’re thinking every cast you’ll get one and then after a hundred casts you’re starting to think lovingly of breakfast foods and then ‘whack!’ And the fun begins!Reads: 1131