Will March bring the blues?
  |  First Published: March 2017

Yes, it’s more of the same as far as game fishing along the Coffs coast goes. And yes, local game fishos are all heartily sick of it!

Weather windows remain few and far between, and we’re still battling to get a full day in before the nor’easter starts to pump. Wind from this direction is a fact of life on the mid north coast during summer, but hell’s bells, this has been a near constant feature since early September.

The early summer push of black marlin thinned out pretty quickly in close, but there’s always a chance of another bunch materialising in March, so it’s not necessarily game over yet. The odd bigger specimen might be poking around with them as well, which represent a real challenge on lighter tackle.

There are blues along and over the shelf, but accessing them is hard work. Best plan of attack is get well north from the outset, then come home with the wind. The water is blue, has reached 29°C on some gauges, and the current is running at up to 4 knots at times, so it’s a fast trip back south when the boat is turned round. Don’t overshoot!

If a wave-tossed ocean doesn’t excite you, there have been some reasonable mackerel about in close, with a beast of a Spanish in excess of 30kg coming from South Solitary, and smaller ones (including spotties) at other known haunts.

Slimy mackerel, which are so often the key to a good day out, have kept everyone guessing on a day-to-day basis. While readily available, sometimes they’re real horses, making the standard two-hook mackerel rig somewhat inadequate as the stinger only comes halfway down the back. Slimy mackerel make great marlin baits at this size, but they aren’t so good for the razor gang. The other drawback is that the smaller spotties sometimes find it difficult to chop through them, resulting in a lot of zippy missed bites.

Unfortunately, Coffs has had a pool of manky, albeit warm, water trapped on the coast for too long now, and that has made the mackerel action a bit here and there. It hasn’t helped concentrate the juvenile black marlin either. It’s good to the north and south, but not so great out the front. What we need is some decent southerly weather to disperse the murky stuff and fire the place up. Anything but these incessant nor’easters…


The Solitary Islands Game Fishing Club will again be conducting its Heavy Tackle Challenge out of Coffs Harbour on March 25-26. A heavy tackle event, the minimum line class is 24kg, with the specific aim of targeting blue marlin, which if correctly identified (and photographed) receive bonus points over blacks and stripes.

For further details contact club President Clayton Livingston on 0428 651 814 or go to the club’s website at www.solitaryislands gamefishingclub.com.

We’re long overdue for a long run of settled weather and great fishing folks, so hope to see you here.

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