Beaches the most reliable
  |  First Published: March 2008

Fishing in the Clarence River over the past few months has been ordinary but the beaches have been fishing extremely well with quality catches of big bream, whiting, tailor and big jewfish.

The beaches have definitely been the place to be with consistently good reports coming from Iluka Main, Back Beach and Shark Bay. The big bream have been moving between the beaches and the headlands with Woody Head holding the best of the bream.

The river has had a lot of fresh water come down over the past couple of months and this trend seems to be here for a while. The mouth has had the only consistent fishing with the top of the run-in tide the best.

With a large number of small bream in this area it can be hard to keep a bait in the water long enough to tempt a good fish. As the water quality cleans up, these small bream should move back to the small creeks and give you a chance at finding some quality fish.

All of the quality whiting have moved to the deeper water with all the rain, and finding fish willing to take a lure can be hard. The bait fishos are not complaining with good catches coming from Sleeper Island and Oyster Channel.

Best baits have been fresh prawns and live yabbies fished on a long leader. As the water cleans up the whiting will move back into the shallow water and should be quite hungry, so follow that clean water for best results.


The jewfish have been very hard to crack this year with only the odd trip producing any results.

These fish seem to turn up in an area and move on within a few tides, making it hard to crack a pattern. The only area to be producing regularly is Oyster Channel bridge. All the other recognised hot spots have been very hot and cold and picking the hot time is like winning the lottery.

The sea gar have moved into the river at Whiting Beach and are feeding on the run-in tide as soon as the clean water pushes into the river mouth. A pencil float, No 12 long-shank hook and some bread, dough or peeled prawn is what you need to catch these. Don’t forget a rag because they can be slippery little customers. The sea gar are also schooled up along the beaches and the main breakwall, where the pelagic fish are feeding on them.

Long tail tuna have been actively feeding along the beaches, around the headlands and along the main breakwall with some fish even feeding inside the river mouth on the top of the tide as they chase the sea gar.

Those wishing to hook and land a tuna using a large popper should be on the main breakwall now. Use poppers up to 80g for maximum casting distance and accuracy.

You can also use large chrome metal lures but nothing beats the surface explosion when a tuna takes a popper.

Good mud crabs have been on the chew throughout the North Arm and Back Channel so now is a good time to get in on the action. The sand crabs have been quiet with only the river mouth producing quality crabs.

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