Plenty to share around
  |  First Published: December 2016

We’ve come full circle once again – it’s the last month of the year. Snapper have been in relentless form over the last couple of months with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The larger fish have been the most common on the deeper reefs, especially those close by the islands.

In these same areas, kingfish and samsonfish have been active. They respond well to big live baits swum deep, or sinking stickbaits worked around the bait schools. Both methods bring the possibility of snagging an early mackerel. There hasn’t been any news of their arrival yet, but they shouldn’t be far away.

The estuaries will be where December really shines. Whiting have been on fire on the surface in all the major estuaries. The lower stretches have been producing the most fish, although small fish are there in plague proportions on some of the flats. This leads to many strikes, but rare hook-ups to larger fish.

There have been good flathead throughout all the local estuaries. The lower and central sections are where the bigger fish have been found. As with all summer flathead fishing, if you find a patch of smaller fish (30-50cm), continue fishing that area – there’s likely to be a larger female close by. This is the reason the smaller males are there.

Soft plastics continue to be the number one technique for a good flathead session, but hardbody lures and the trusty yabbie are responsible for their fair share too.

This month is the beginning of the school holidays. There will be great opportunities to fish the local estuaries with the family. Pumping some yabbies and casting a line or two with the kids could be rewarded this month, with flathead, whiting or bream.

In the middle to upper estuary, jacks and trevally have continued to dominate. The small jacks that swarmed around the snags last season have grown a little. This last month has seen a lot more medium size fish caught small to medium surface lures and hardbodies.

The far upstream stretches of our coastal creeks and rivers have seen plenty of bass action this last month. Surface crawlers have been working morning, noon and night. Larger, noisy baits such as the Jackall Pompadour Jnr have been a favourite, even in some of the skinnier water. There’s still a place for smaller lures like the Tiemco Soft Shell Cicada, when the fish get a little spooky.

With so many freshwater sections to choose from, even the extra crowd of holiday makers will be spread fairly thin on the ground. When planning a bass trip, it’s always worth having a few options in mind, just in case you arrive at the river and find someone else is fishing that section. Obviously, the further from town you go, the less likely you’ll run into other anglers, but even on the popular close rivers there are plenty of sections to enable a backup plan to be implemented on your bass mission.

The same can be said for the land-based anglers the month. This next couple of months will see plenty of extra lines in the water on our beaches and headlands. You may have meticulously planned your Friday evening mulloway session only to find a whole family fishing in your intended spot. There are many long beaches to the north and south of Coffs Harbour. There are gutters all the way down their length, if you’re happy for a little walking, and you can easily find a gutter that you can have all to yourself.

On the beaches there have been building numbers of whiting eager to take a worm or whitebait. The school mulloway have been active in the same areas, although there are many more undersized fish than decent ones. The same baits will be effective on the small mulloway as well as the odd larger fish that may drop by.

There’s likely to be plenty of you out for a fish this month, with the family, mates or out on your own. No matter where you choose to fish, remember to respect those around you and the environment you’re sharing with them.


Craig Hanlon getting in some solid pre-fishing before the Urunga Flathead Tournament.


Dayne Taylor with a prime example of the typical size fish you’ll see during a good flathead session this month.


Dayne Taylor has been working hard on his bream tournament form lately. It seems to be going ok.

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