Bonus big time snapper on the horizon
  |  First Published: August 2016

Offshore of Ballina has fished consistently over the last month. This should continue, and all signs are pointing towards a bumper snapper season. Areas around Riordans Reef, Black Head, Lennox Point and the close reefs around the Ballina beaches are all holding quality numbers of snapper up to 90cm.

There are some big girls out there at the moment. The best baits to throw are horse mackerel, fresh squid and bonito floating or very lightly weighted depending on the current. Soft plastics have accounted for the bigger fish. Try big plastics around the 6” size like the Atomic Jerk Minnows in ghost pearl, white or ghost orange. This time of year, the big girls are here to breed, that’s why there are so many in such good numbers. Only keep what you are going to eat and let those trophy ones go to breed.

Further offshore on the wider reefs along the 42-fathom line, there are pearl perch, amberjack and kingfish on the move. There have been a lot of great fish caught on Lucanis Jigs and knife jigs. This is a really physical way to fish so don’t worry about going to the gym that day. Try to get in early before the wind gets up as it becomes too hard to hold onto the fish.

The beaches of South Ballina have seen plenty of tailor taken on blue pilchards. When the westerly winds flatten the winter swell, it’s worth walking the gutters with 1/4-1/2oz blades to target flathead. You’ll get the odd bit of by-catch with some big snowy bream. These things pull hard on light spin tackle. There’s plenty of bait if you’re out for some fun with the kids catching pipis. These can turn into some great baitfishing fun as the winter bream and whiting take a liking to them.

There are some reports of massive mulloway taken in the river. The town stretch has had some of the biggest fish taken in recent memory. Local gun angler Jake Stewart caught a 30kg beast while live baiting not long ago.

The river mouth has produced some great size and numbers of bream and blackfish. Try getting there on the top of the tide as it starts to run-out for best numbers of blackfish. As always, green weed or weed flies are always best. The Gamakatsu Pan Fish Green hooks are best for this technique. For great numbers of bream, try cut baits along the south wall on light weights. The bream hole in behind the Police Station is also worth a shot.

Surface fishing for bream in Emigrant and North creeks will be worth a shot. It may not produce huge numbers but you’ll most likely come across some thumper winter whiting. The Atomic Pop 50 in yellow chartreuse or rock crab are the go for this technique. It ain’t no use if it ain’t chartreuse!

Until next issue, tight lines.

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