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Summery sea-times ahead
  |  First Published: November 2016



November is always a funny month for us in the Coffs region. It’s starting to feel like summer in the inland waters, but the offshore still feels like winter. This month often has the coldest water temperatures we see off the Coffs Coast, although that’s not so cold considering the winter water temperatures didn’t get much below 22°C. This month we can expect to see similar offshore fishing to the last few months. Snapper will be available on almost any reef, it’s just a matter of choosing how you target them.

Soft plastics and slow pitch jigs are the most consistent performers and probably the most popular strategy. For those using bait, cubing with pilchard pieces and floatlining your bait down has been the most successful, especially when it comes to finding big snapper.

Kingfish are a little sporadic, but have still been hanging out around the islands and deeper reefs. Again, berley and floating a bait down the trail has been a consistent way to produce bigger fish. Don’t be afraid to use a big bait, especially with live baits. Legal size tailor are very popular with hungry kingfish and will also attract the interest of any cobia that have been popping their heads up around the place last month.

The estuary has been seeing some very consistent mulloway action although most have been only small fish. There has been the odd 5-10kg model but most have been closer to 3-5kg. These fish are still a lot of fun, especially using lighter estuary gear.

Medium size soft plastics have been popular, in particular the jerk shad style plastics that can be worked vertically as well as horizontally around major structure. You can target mulloway in any of the deeper holes and around major structures of local creeks and rivers. The road and rail bridges have been fantastic, but they can be crowded on the nights that fall on the right tide and weather.

Elsewhere in the estuary, bream are very active on the surface. Expect that to increase as prawns begin to run this month. Poppers placed anywhere around the weed beds, oyster racks or edges with a decent amount of still time in between bloops will produce good bream.

The trevally and jacks have been interrupting many bream fishers, particularly in the mid and upper estuaries. Trevally have dominated larger rivers like the Bellinger and Kalang, and there have been a lot more jacks in the smaller creeks like Bonville and Pine creeks. Either of these species turning up during your bream session will certainly heighten the excitement with light line. Poppers and walk-the-dog style surface stickbaits are most likely to attract the trevally and jacks. The odd soft plastic is being picked up by these larger predators as well.

Flathead will be coming into their own this month. There have already been several notable captures around that magical metre mark in our local estuaries. If you love your flatty fishing and want to test your skills or just have some fun with other anglers, the Urunga Anglers Club will be running the 2016 Berkley Urunga Estuary Sport Fishing Flathead Tournament in the middle of this month. It’s cheap to enter and fun for the whole family, with loads of prizes up for grabs for anyone entering.

Further up in the freshwater, bass are settling into their upstream homes and the cicadas are starting their short venture above ground. Surface crawlers are the go-to lures for most, and have been smashed by many bass this season, day or night. In most of the local systems, even the skinny water high up has been producing plenty of fish.

This month sees the opening of the Nymboida and Mann rivers for fishing once again. In November last year, bass in the upper Nymboida were in incredible condition as many didn’t make the spawning run and chose to stay in the upper reaches. Going on the numbers of fish that have been piling up under the Clarence Gorge over the last few months, I’d guess that a lot of the bass population did take the long round trip to the salt this year and may be in slightly poorer condition, but hopefully a little more hungry.

If you’re looking for a classic river bass trip, the sections of the Nymboida running into the Mann River have excellent fishing and great paddling. Remember, the eastern freshwater cod that also call that river home are totally protected, even from catch and release fishing. If accidentally caught they must be returned to the water immediately without harm, or preferably not removed from the water at all and de-hooked. Whether you’re going for a multi-day trip of a lifetime or just a quick flick down the local waterhole, enjoy the beginning of summer season fishing.

1

Along with kingfish, samsonfish have been getting around the place in the past few months.

2

Even with all the rain, some of the trout creeks are quite low. The temperature is far cooler than last year.

3

Now is the prefect time to get the kids out for a fish – not too hot yet, plenty of fish about and heaps of light after school for a flick.

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