Iluka on fire in February
  |  First Published: February 2016

What a fantastic holiday period it has been here in the Iluka region. The end of January marked our first year as the new owners of Iluka Bait and Tackle (formerly Dizzy’s Bait and Tackle). Local reports indicate that this has been one of the busier years, with plenty of NSW and interstate holiday-makers enjoying this fantastic area with all its incredible diverse fishing.

It has been an unusual year weather-wise. The lead up to January was characterised by long dry periods and warm water temperatures. We experienced extensive rainfall at the end of last summer, with a great deal of fresh water flushing the Clarence, but unfortunately not much after that. The river is very clean and in need of another good flush to help improve things. Having said that, there have been some good fish caught in the river over January.

Flathead have been taken around the entrance to the Esk River, Browns Rocks, and other usual spots, and recently local angler Debbie Brown weighed in a nice 1.9kg fish at the Bimbimbi Caravan Park. Lots of smaller fish have been caught, but the odd 4kg monster is caught and released in the area. Local fisho Brett McInnes weighed in a 4.4kg lizard taken on lure at Turkeys Nest on 8 January. The bream have been plentiful, with some great fish taken off the beaches on yabbies and nippers. Peter Miller caught a beautiful 1.69kg tarwhine on Iluka Beach early morning on 10 January.

There have been some elbow slapping whiting caught around river sand flats and the open beaches on worms and poppers. Ben Geide weighed two whiting at 360g and 400g in store, and there have been others up to 500g.

The newly renovated rock wall has pleased everyone, as now there is much better access, which consequently means more great fishing. Mulloway have been a constant staple catch off the new wall and there have been some nice schoolies taken on the beaches and headlands (when weather has allowed it). The Old Ferry crossing and further up the river are the places to frequent for mulloway. They have been taken on squid and octopus baits, as well as hardbody and soft plastic lures. Karl Grossman weighed in a 12.5kg fish on fresh squid on 21 December.

When the southerlies aren’t kicking up a fuss, trag jew and snapper are available at Black Rock and Woody Head. Spotty mackerel were on the run and were caught on Woody Head reef until those winds hit us. Unfortunately, they haven’t really returned yet, but I’m sure it won’t be long now. Trevally, cobia and snapper have been caught off The Wall, The Bluff and Woody Head. The odd luderick has been caught around the Old Ferry, and Allan Murdock weighed in a 930g fish on 9 January.

Mud crabs are still elusive, with greater numbers further up the Clarence. Blue swimmers are around but aren’t going crazy. The tailor fishing has been very poor with a few fish caught around 1-2.5kg. An estimated 80kg black marlin was a standout recent catch by Steve Millington in 100m of water.

We are looking forward to the Spanish mackerel and tuna season, which should start to fire up very soon.

Happy fishing, and make sure you pop into the newly renovated Iluka Bait and Tackle store as you enter the town, on your right. You can’t miss the giant blue marlin over the door.

• For all your fishing needs and up-to-date information and tips for spots and fish drop into the shop for a chat. Iluka Bait and Tackle is located at 3 Owen Street, Iluka NSW 2466. Give us a call on (02) 6646 5217 or 0402 997 572. We are available online at www.ilukabait.com.au or visit our Facebook page.

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