Fighting whiting school up
  |  First Published: November 2007

Whiting are now schooling in the deep holes with the hot spot being Oyster channel around Sleeper Island.

The run-out tide at night is the best time to fish this area with yabbies and beach worms. I prefer worms and suggest you spend the time to gather the best bait you can, which will improve you chance of landing quality whiting.

The tide runs fairly strongly in this area and you need to use just enough lead to keep your bait on the bottom. I generally start with a No 2 or No 3 bean sinker and then alter the weight according to the tidal flow.

Throughout the day good catches are coming from the entrance to Lake Woolooweyah, the North Arm and the aptly named Whiting Beach, although most of the sand flats should hold good numbers. Yabbies and worms are the baits of choice throughout the day.

With many fishos now using lures to target the whiting, all sorts of hardware is being made just for these fish. Those who know how to make a good surface fizzers for the whiting are producing the best results. Unfortunately you cannot buy a lure designed to catch whiting so you will have to try to make one.


Bass have become very active and the surface bite in the afternoons has fired up. Some fishos have reported landing fish to 50cm with the average around 35cm.

I had the opportunity to fish Toonumbar Dam, near Kyogle, with a few locals and was surprised at the quality of the fish there. This dam had a good surface bite happening and over three sessions we landed and released over 100 fish averaging around 37cm. I am certainly planing another trip back there dam and I can recommend it.

The jewfish have started to school up in good numbers in the deeper holes with Browns Rocks the first place to fish well. This is hopefully the start to another great season and I know I am ready and keen to get into the action.

The bridges are also fishing well with Harwood and Oyster Channel bridges the pick spots. The bridges fish best at night with live bait like mullet, tailor or herring and you can also use fresh bait like squid or octopus.

Throughout the day lures are the go with soft plastics your best choice. Remember to fish the slack tide because this is when the fish are at their most active. The slack tide also allows you to work your lures into areas that you cannot when the tide is running.


The bream upstream have started to bite freely after the river has cleaned following some freshes through winter and early spring. The surface is where the action is with all the good bream falling to topwaters.

The best spots are the flats up river from Maclean but with the bream still moving around a lot, you need to cover as much ground as you can to find the best fish. A lot of small bream have been feeding on the surface in the Broadwater, which is perfect for those fishos whishing to learn about fishing with hard lures.

The Broadwater is extremely shallow so be careful and go slowly until you become familiar with the area.

The best of the breaming is on the shallow flats from Maclean to Grafton and you can spend weeks fishing this area and not hit the same place twice.

Snapper are still about in good numbers but will start to move to deeper water now. The wide reefs start to fire up with only the big boats able to access these fish.

Those with smaller boats suited to short trips should start to gear up for the mackerel season, with the first fish usually showing up in November or December in Shark Bay, near Woody Head. Boxing day is the traditional starting day for the mackerel but those in the know usually get one good run at them before the crowds arrive.

Tailor have still been a bit quiet over the past month with only the odd school showing up around the rocks. Trevally have made up for the lack of tailor with good fish to 5kg coming from The Bluff on large poppers. The faster you work these lures the bigger the trevally you seem to catch so don’t be scared of fast retrieves because these can really move.

Mangrove Jacks have started to appear in the river now with the hot spots behind the prawn pocket nets and around the reefs throughout the river. Yamba Marina is the pick of the spots for the really big fish with some jacks pulling the lie detector down to 4kg or more.

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