Radical river fishing
  |  First Published: February 2017

The fat man in the red suit has come and gone and everyone is back at work or school again. Some great times were had on and around the Richmond River over the holidays. Offshore has produced quality fish when able. The 32s are holding snapper of average size and you can pretty much guarantee a good feed. The FADs are holding mahimahi. The bigger models come from the 48s when the tide is really moving. However, the mackerel and marlin have been a bit quiet since Christmas.

The beaches of South Ballina hold good numbers of dart and whiting. When the swell is down, try flicking blades and plastics like the Atomic 3” Prong for flathead in the low tide gutters. This can be a really productive technique and you may be surprised at how many quality fish you can come up with. Take care when traveling on the beaches. It only takes a couple of idiots to spoil the fun for everyone.

In the river there are great numbers of whiting on the flats around Pimlico Island on surface, as well as bream and flathead. The Bassday Sugar Pen 70s are still producing great numbers. At this time of year, it is great to see the number of families lining the river with kids just hoping to catch something. Getting kids into fishing is something that is easy to do if you use fresh bait, the right equipment and don’t make them stay out in the sun too long. In the main river, try Mobbs Bay or the weed flats past the Ferry with the little ones.

With all the fresh that’s been showing up, lower reaches have had good mulloway off the breakwalls in the last part of the run-out tides. Big hardbody lures, paddle-tail soft plastics have been producing the best. Anything that produces big movement and pushes a lot of water is good. Once you hook something, get it in fast. There are plenty of toothy critters around looking for a feed.

Bass are in the main river sections and the fresh water coming down from Kyogle and Casino should really get going once this settles down. Dirty water fishing can still produce good numbers. A good start is the drains and creeks running into the main river. Chatterbaits like the Bassman Mumblers are a good start as well as noisy jerkbaits like the new Bassday Mogul 66. Use something with loads of noise and plenty of flash. Nevertheless, you might have to do some traveling to find the fish, but when you do, you can rack up good numbers quickly.

Crabs are a little quiet. The new moon should fire them up. Remember to mark your pots properly, as NSW Fisheries have been around confiscating unmarked equipment and issuing fines. They will take anything not marked or not marked as per regulations. They are also checking fishing licences, size of fish and bag limits. If you haven’t got a licence, it’s worth getting one. The money goes back into the fisheries and facilities and above all else, it’s just not worth the fines.

Rules are there for everyone to abide by so the fisheries are sustainable for everyone in the future. If you see anything suspicious, please report these to authorities. Until next issue, tight lines.

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