Fishing fires as tourists leave
  |  First Published: February 2016

February is a strange time to fish on the Tweed. The pressure is off the river and hopefully all those visitors that passed through have fattened up the fish, as I saw a lot of undersized fish caught and released over the Christmas period.

The bite is on out front off the walls with the incoming tide, right up until the clear water arrives. The bream are there in numbers with tailor and trevs moving through every now and then.

What excites me is news that little mac tuna have been running through the headlands. Their favourite spot to harass bait is Jack Evans Boat Harbour. They don’t stay for long but they are a lot of fun if you run into them! They tend to like a very quick moving metal slug lure, and the quicker the retrieve the better.

I’ve paid attention to what people use to fish the walls and as you can imagine, it varies greatly. I’ve seen fancy paternoster rigs, and gang hooks, but I found for bait fishing a jighead on its own does the job, just make sure you beef your leader up a fair bit. The bait I saw ranged from lives, prawns, pillies and green prawns, but unnatural baits like tenderloin chicken works too.

Those elusive Tweed mangrove jack are around for those keen to try them out. I haven’t caught a screamer yet, but have consistently caught 40cm fish around the old yacht club bridge, Boyds Bay bridge and the cadet school. In fact, I’ve been catching trevs and jacks so much so that I’m starting to tell the difference in the way they fight. It takes confidence to chase these fish, and every jack I caught previously I initially thought was a trev. Jacks, they go hard at the beginning, but once you get them away from their lair they are pretty much done, where as some of the trevs I’ve caught go nuts, ramming the kayak, trying to bust me off on the Hobie peddles – a lot of fun. The good news is these fish eat lures and baits and they’re moving through the whole river system.

Whiting in good numbers and size are still caught at Cobaki Broadwater and Terranora flats, and nippers are the preferred bait. If you don’t have a boat, try the south side of Boyds Bay bridge. You’ll see a heap of tender boat, this is the area I’m talking about. Around there and past the fuel pumping jetty is a great area to target for whiting. Again, the incoming tide works better at the moment.

Everyone loves mud crabs and they are in plentiful supply in the Tweed River. If you’re crabbing, remember you need to have your details attached to your crab pot. Don’t leave them out of sight, as there are some blacked out boats and ski riders that have taken up raiding pots. I received a new one for Christmas and when I went to check it after using it for the first time, it had been slashed in four places, making it useless. This happened at Cobaki, but it’s happening more and more. Maybe it’s time for a trail cam with dark flash, that’ll catch them…

The Murwillumbah arm of the river has fished well too, however the wind has made most of the good spots too hard to fish. Fingers crossed, the temperature will increase before the cool and the bigger predators will show their heads.

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