Rolling down the river
  |  First Published: January 2016

You’ve got to love January on the Tweed! Even though there are lots of tourists around and the waterways are pretty crowded during the day, the fish are beautifully conditioned and the whiting, bream, and flathead are fat and fired up. The healthy state of the river, with baitfish of all kinds is to blame for these gorgeous fish. With all this holiday traffic, if you’re planning a picnic or fish beside the river get there very early as all the good spots fill up quickly.

The nippers are plentiful on low tide, and chasing them is a great way to spend some quality time with the kids, screaming blue murder when one bites you! They just so happen to be one of the best baits to use on the river. Traditionally used as whiting bait, in the last month nippers have accounted for mulloway, tailor, whiting, bream and rays. A great way to fish the Tweed is on the move without anchoring, I can cover so much ground and with a few rods on board I’m ready for anything and everything.

Locations to catch decent fish are a hit and miss affair (by decent I mean a trophy jack or mulloway or a cracker trevally) as they move all the way through the river system. The big trevs, alongside some nice-sized fish have been caught under the Boyds Bay Bridge – the little bridge you cross before you get to Seagulls Club, and some monsters have come out from the Chinderah Highway Bridge.

Mangrove jacks are on the bite and showing up at all the usual spots, the bridges mentioned, along Chinderah wall, the rock wall out the front of Oxley Cove, the mulloway hole near Seagulls, and of course the trawlers and Ivory Hotel.

If you are chasing jacks, keep in mind how hard they will hit your lure, usually on its way back home to a snag. You need good stopping power and heavy line as sometimes there’s just no room to move.

Tailor, bream and the odd juvenile snapper are caught off both rock walls at the seaway entrance on pillies and metal slugs, with chicken tenderloin the favourite meal of bream off the walls. Be quick though. as they smash it, don’t think twice, just set that hook.

The beaches along Fingal are always worth a look, and a lot of whiting have showed up in the gutters. If you’re keen a mate of mine landed a monster mulloway in the middle of the night on a ganged hook with a pilly for bait. He noticed the whiting while surfing during the day and thought that something would want to be eating them and targeted big fish accordingly. With all this bait, the big fish are around just not necessarily during work hours.

Down the other arm of the river (heading to Murwillumbah) the fishing has been going off. I fish from a yak and live near Terranora Broadwater, so this area of the Tweed is too far for me, but I’ve got a couple of mates who are keen yak fishos that live down that way, one at Oxley Cove and one at Mar-Bah. The photos Josh sends me make me so jealous as he is constantly pushing the margins. He catches bull sharks in the canals at Oxley Cove; he tells me the permanent sand pumping structure just downriver always holds fish, and that the Piggery is another hot spot. I’ve seen my other mate Les catch two bass on a Megabass Siglet and he simply smirked at me like this was normal practice. The bass are around, but a little fussy on the bite. The Brays Park Weir section of the river is where you’ll find the bass – and Les.

For those on holiday reading this and thinking of wetting a line – find some fresh or live bait, it will make a difference.

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