Dirty water stirs up the crabs
  |  First Published: April 2017

The beaches around Ballina and Lennox Head have been fishing really well and should continue to get better. Look for gutters on Patches Beach and back to South Ballina as well as the beaches along Seven Mile Beach north of Lennox Head. There have been good catches recorded of tarwhine and flathead on soft plastics and blades.

I recommend 1/4oz for both plastics and blades, but bearing in mind if it’s really windy, this might be a struggle.

There are still good numbers of pipis around, and these little fellas are a great fresh bait for most bread and butter species. Just remember you’re not allowed to take these from the beach as per NSW DPI rules.

The rock walls have produced some decent mangrove jack. While not in good numbers, better size specimens have come out to play in recent times. The breakwalls have been a little quiet for mulloway, but the town stretch of the river has been fishing well for these beauties. Live mullet seem to produce the best catches.

Mud crabs are showing up in North Arm and Immigrant Creek. The dirtier water has definitely stirred these guys up. If you’re after a feed, get out and get into them.

Dans Lane and Pimlico Island flats have been very consistent producers of bream. If you’re into soaking bait, nippers are one of the best baits and are good fun to catch with the kids around. If you’re into throwing lures, small crankbaits and small topwater poppers are always my go-to. You’ll pick up a few whiting too, although dirty water has hurt the numbers of whiting caught.

If you’re after a feed of flathead, try the stretches between Pimlico Island and Broadwater. Whitebait and fresh prawns are the go if you can get them. The prawns are on the move at the moment, so if you can find them, you’ll find great numbers of the tasty fish.

If you’re into throwing hardbody lures, troll some deep diving hardbodies that will get down to 3.5m in the holes around the Wardell Bridge and areas close by. Bright colours are best. Once you’ve found the drop-offs, it’s always a good idea to have a 3 or 4” soft plastic with a 1/4oz jighead and 3/0 hook ready to go.

The freshwater stretches of the Richmond and Wilsons rivers have been patchy. There have been reports of people catching 15-20 fish one day and then going back the next and getting one or two. The best lures are spinnerbaits with big gold blades, and lipless crankbaits with bright colours.

The noise and flash is what’s attracting these fish in this dirty water. The creeks around Bangalow and Corndale are worth a cast now that they’ve cleaned up a little. Downsize everything that you’d normally throw in the main river. You’d be surprised how big the fish that live in these small creeks can get. Small 2” plastics and bream or trout-size crankbaits are what you should look for.

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