Get out there and get jacked!
  |  First Published: April 2016

With a cyclone around the East Coast of Australia at the start of March, the swell bashing the coast has been nothing short of impressive. In turn, the fishing has certainly been stirred up in the wake. The beaches around Ballina and Lennox Head have fished really well and should continue to get better.

Look for gutters on Patches Beach and back to South Ballina as well as the beaches along Seven Mile Beach north of Lennox Head. There have been reports of good catches of tarwhine and flathead on soft plastics and blades – try in 1/4oz size for both types of lure. If it’s too windy this might be a struggle. There are still good numbers of pipis around, and these little blokes are great fresh bait for most bread and butter species. Just remember you’re not allowed to take these from the beach as per NSW DPI rules.

The rock walls have produced some good size mangrove jacks. While not in good numbers, the better-sized specimens have come out to play in recent times. The break walls have been a little quiet for mulloway though the town stretch of the river has fished well for these beauties. Live mullet seem to produce the best catches. Mud crabs have shown up in North Arm and Immigrant Creek thanks to the dirtier water.

Dans Lane and Pimlico Island flats have been consistent bream producers. If you’re into soaking bait, nippers are one of the best and good fun to catch with the kids around. If you’re into throwing lures, small crankbaits and small top water poppers are always my go-to. You’ll pick up a few whiting although the dirty water has decreased the numbers of these fish being caught.

If you are after a feed of flathead, try the stretches between Pimlico Island and Broadwater. Whitebait and fresh prawns are the go, if you can get them. The prawns are on the move at the moment so if you can find them, you’ll find great numbers. If you like to throw hardbody lures, try trolling some Atomic Shiner 75s down to 3.5m in the holes around the Wardell Bridge and areas close by. Bright colours are best. Once you’ve found the drop-offs, it’s always a good idea to have a 3-4” soft plastic with a 1/4oz jighead with a 3/0 hook ready to go.

The freshwater stretches of the Richmond and Wilsons rivers have been patchy. Reports have commonly been of people catching 15-20 fish one day and then going back the next and getting only a couple at best. The most effective lures are spinnerbaits; big gold blades and lipless crankbaits with bright colours are the best. The noise and flash is what attracts these fish in this dirty water. The creeks around Bangalow and Corndale are worth a cast now that they’ve cleaned up a little. Downsize everything that you’d normally throw in the main river. You’d be surprised how big the fish that live in these small creeks can get. Small 2” plastics and bream or trout size crankbaits are what you should look for.

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