January is red hot for plate-fish
  |  First Published: December 2016

This time of year is my favourite as the fishing is red-hot and you get to eat and drink like a starved pirate. Remember, there’s more traffic on the water than normal, so take care. Be patient and make sure you have done your preparation with all your equipment. Take your time at the boat ramp and above all, be courteous to all other waterway users.

The lower reaches of the Richmond have produced great catches of bream. Try casting noisy crankbaits at the walls early in the mornings while the tide is running. Fluorocarbon line is best suited for this. Lures to try are the Atomic Crank 38 Deep, and change up the colour depending on the clarity. Dark colours work for low light, while solid and bright colours are good for dirty water and more translucent, natural finishes for bright sun and clearer water.

Crabs have turned up in patches around the middle reaches from Pimlico to Broadwater. Hopefully, we get a bit of rain to stir them up a bit more. Give the pots plenty of time to settle and let the crabs find the bait. Prawns are on the move around the river. It might be a little hard to locate them around the full moon. This month they should be back up and moving around again and this should fire up the estuaries.

Bass have been quiet around Coraki and Woodburn, as the fish have well and truly moved upstream. You may find them in patches, but for good numbers, try the upper reaches around Lismore and Casino. If you’re out early or late and the cicadas are deafening, remember to tie on your surface lures to imitate these tasty snacks for bass. The trick with these is not to do too much. Just shake your rod tip slightly every now and then, like a cicada that’s fallen out of a tree.

Offshore has been patchy with the best results on the mahimahi coming from around the FADS. Make sure you get a long drift on these. Live yakkas have been the best with almost no weight. If you’re getting bites but not hooking up, put a treble hook as a stinger in the fish’s tail. This has helped a few local anglers turn those bites into fish.

Mackerel will come in about now and should be really thick this month. There have been good reports around the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast early in December, so as the water warms up, these beauties will come along with it.

Beaches have been producing good catches of whiting and flathead. Look for the main gutters around South Ballina, along Patches Beach and Boundary Creek. Fresh bait is always better. Try digging a few pipis or getting a few beach worms – a skill I haven’t yet mastered.

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