Late shallow snapper
  |  First Published: October 2016

The Richmond River started to clear from the rains in September, which really dirtied up the higher reaches. Bass season is now open and this is my favourite time to get out and chase these feisty fish. They will be on the move to upper reaches in creeks and main river arms, but don’t overlook main river stretches.

Fish are always hungry at this time of year after doing their business. Try big Bassman Spinnerbaits and Atomic Hardz Vibe 60 with rattle in black beauty and rock crab. As the weather warms and the bugs come out, the surface action will heat up, but it won’t be that great for a little while yet.

On the offshore front, get far out to the edge of the shelf to chase blue-eye trevally and bar cod. The best bait is cuttlefish. Cut the backbone out of the cuttlefish and use strong circle hooks. Electric reels are a must.

Close reefs will still produce good snapper – towards the end of the month they’ll start to move out to the 32 fathoms. This is where to look when you can get there, and when the tide allows you to fish it.

The northeast winds that start over the next few months will make it harder to fish deep reefs. As the water warms, the cobia and mahi mahi should start to move on the close reefs. Get some live bait like yakkas and slimy mackerel, and throw these around the FADs for a good start. Gamakatsu Live Bait hooks are the best to give these fish some curry.

The lower reaches of the Richmond River should see some mud crabs fire up as the warmer weather brings them in. Emigrant Creek and North Creek are the spots to start looking for these tasty guys ­– best baits are luderick frames and any mullet frames left over from your bait fishing trips.

Over the flats, around the town stretch of river, whiting should start to come on the bite for surface lures. Target the shallow flats as the water moves up with the incoming tide. The best lure to try is definitely the Sugapen from Bassday.

Beaches are fishing well and the dart have started to come on nicely. Slugs are a great profile to use for these guys. You may still get the odd tailor off the beach, but these will start to become scarce. You will pick up the odd big sea run bream and flathead in the gutters as by-catch. Big bream can really give you some stick on light gear.

Justin Northfield with a beautiful snapper from a close in reef. 

The author with an early season Aussie bass caught on an Atomic Hardz Vibe 60. 

One of the hot lures in the Richmond River – the Atomic Hardz Vibe 60. 

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