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The hot places to throw some fish a line
  |  First Published: March 2017



The warm currents and southerly winds have finally arrived. With water temperatures between 26-28°C pushing right down the East Coast, the arrival of the pelagic species into our area has begun. Plenty of rain has seen the rivers flushed, dams cleaned up and freshwater streams and creeks flowing. This means that most systems will be firing in the next month.

Offshore

Pelagics have shown up in good numbers and will thicken as the month goes on. Spotty mackerel, Spanish mackerel, summer snapper, spangled emperor and golden snapper are all on the close reefs. South Reef, Fidos, Cook, the 5-Mile and Kingy Reef are all producing fish this month. Drift lining works best for these species on the close shallow reefs.

Spanish mackerel, GTs, kingfish, cobia and wahoo are being caught around the 9-Mile, 5-Mile and the 24s. Trolling lures, live baits, stickbaits and troll baits is working best. Look for black marlin, mahimahi, wahoo and tuna around the FAD, 24s, 36s, 50s and current line between 50-80m of water. Trolling skirted lures has caught quality fish recently.

Estuary

Jacks are still the talk of the town, with a few specimens reaching over the 60cm mark caught this month. Live bait is still doing all the damage on these brutes. Plastics and hardbody lures tossed around pontoons, pylons, rock walls, mangrove structure and irrigation channels are still producing fish. Try Cobaki Bridge and wall, Boyds Bay Bridge, Chindrah Rock Wall, the Oxley Cove walls, Tumbulgum Bridge and the Condong Sugar Mill.

Whiting are on the chew and some elbow-slappers have been taken over the last month. Drifting channels, sand bars and weed edges with yabbies and beach worms is still the most effective way of getting a feed. For a bit more fun, try poppers, walk-the-dog lures and small plastics over skinny water. Stay in about 2-4ft of water while hunting these ghosts. Any deeper and they struggle to see your lure.

There are still GTs and big-eyes hanging around the river mouth, Jack Evans, Boyds Bay Bridge and Barneys Point Bridge. Mulloway are along Chindrah Rock Wall and in the hole at the Piggery. Muddies are moving around with the warm water and rain. Try Duroby Creek, Bilambil Creek, Cobaki Broadwater, Stots Island and Rous River.

Beach

We don’t have the best conditions for beach fishing right now with all the blue bottle jellyfish hitting the beaches. We’ve seen pipis and beach worms go deep into the sand. Fish are hanging out the back of the gutters more to avoid the stingers. Try the headlands and groins to get out past the stingers. Dart, mulloway, flathead and whiting are still around and you just need to get out to them.

Freshwater

The fresh has been on fire lately. The recent rain gave the system a good flush with all the rivers and creeks flowing again. Bass have been smacking surface lures with explosive reaction bites. Cicadas and winged cicadas are best for targeting these little brutes. Deep diving hardbodied lures, jig spins, walk-the-dog lures, plastics and bugs are all fishing well once the sun is up. Look for runoff, drains, spillways and waterfalls for the best action.

Summary for the next month

Most of the focus for the next month will be on the mackerel, mahimahi, wahoo and billfish. Trolling current lines in 50-80m of water is your best bet for a speedster. Trolling live and dead baits will be the best for mackerel. Always have a light metal rod set and ready to throw at bait schools, as you’ll get a lot of by-catches this way and it’s a lot of fun.

Jacks are still around in large numbers in the river. Live baits around bridges and pylons of a night will be your best bet for a big red dog. If you want some fun, try bouncing plastics along the rock walls. You will know when one will hit you. Whiting and flathead will still be in good numbers. Get up on top of the sand banks – you can never be in too little water for them. Poppers, plastics, worms and yabbies are fantastic.

Hot weather and crabs go hand in hand. Heaps of crabs are moving around. With the water temperature up and the recent rain, it’s perfect crabbing conditions, so get your pots out and grab yourself a feed. Remember to have your pots clearly marked and with a marked float. Do the right thing and only check your own pots. Huge fines can apply.

Rains have done wonders for the freshwater systems. Clarrie Hall Dam looks good, with flowing water all the way downstream to the weir. The dam will keep fishing really well over the next month. Targeting drains, waterfalls, weirs and runoffs while the rain is around is a great way of catching a few fat bass.

I wish you the best of luck. Stay safe and tight lines.

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