Food for starving pirates
  |  First Published: January 2016

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all readers. Now is my favourite time of year because the fishing is red hot and I get to eat and drink like a starved pirate. Remember though at this time of year there is more traffic on the water then normal, so take care. Be patient and make sure you have done your preparation with all your equipment. At the boat ramp take your time and above all, be courteous to all other waterway users.

The lower reaches of the Richmond have produced some great catches of bream, with the dirty water pushing downstream from around Lismore and Casino. Try casting noisy crankbaits at the walls early in the mornings while the tide is running. Fluorocarbon line straight through is best suited for this. I’ve had good success on the Atomic Crank 38 Deep, and the colour I use depends on the water clarity – dark colours for low light, solid and bright colours for dirty water and more translucent and natural finishes for bright sun and clearer water.

Crabs have turned up in patches around the middle reaches from Pimlico to Broadwater. The dirty water has stirred them up somewhat. Give the pots plenty of time to settle and let the crabs find the bait.

Prawns are on the move around the river, but it might be a little hard to locate them during the last fortnight of the month, with the full moon coming in about Christmas Day. By January they should be back up and moving around again, and this should fire up the estuaries.

Bass have been quiet around Coraki and Woodburn as the fish have well and truly moved upstream. You may find them in patches but for good numbers, try the upper reaches around Lismore and Casino. If you’re out early or late and the cicadas are deafening, be sure to tie on a cicada imitation. The trick with these is not to do too much. Just shake your rod tip slightly every now and again, exactly like a cicada that’s fallen out of a tree.

Offshore has been patchy, with the best results on the mahimahi coming from around the FADs. Make sure you get a long drift on these. Live yakkas have been working the best, with almost no weight. If you’re getting bites but not hooking up try putting a treble hook as a stinger hooked into the fish’s tail. This has helped a few local boys turn those bites into fish.

Mackerel traditionally come in towards the end of December and should be really thick through January. There were good reports around the Gold and Sunshine Coast early in December, so as the water warms up these beauties will come along with it.

The beaches have been producing good catches of whiting and flathead. Look for the main gutters around South Ballina, along Patches Beach and Boundary Creek. Fresh bait is always better. Try digging a few pipis or getting a few beach worms – that’s a skill I have not yet mastered!

Tight Lines.

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