Find the bait for action
  |  First Published: March 2008

Summer is slowly coming to an end but it will still be another month or two before we start to head into the winter patterns.

The Tweed has experienced a large amount of fresh going through the system and this really gave it a good flush. There have been heaps of baitfish in the system and the fish have been in pretty good condition. The secret has been to find these schools of bait and you will find the fish.

To give you an example, Nathan Johns and I hit the river for a morning bream session. We fished a few spots that normally produce good numbers of fish but could only manage a few barely legal specimens.

We went for a drive around and found that the Fingal rock wall was absolutely loaded with schools of small bait. The bream were balling up the bait from underneath and getting stuck into it.

We started by throwing plastics and small vibration lures and pinning a fish with almost every cast. It turned out to be a top session with the two of us catching more than 50 bream.

The lures that did most of the damage were the new blade baits. The Lucky Craft Spin Board 35mm, Evergreen and TT blade baits took a hammering. These lures are great for covering ground quickly and searching for active fish.

One tip when fishing these lures is to keep a lure retriever handy. These new mini-vibration lures are extremely snag-resistant when fished over rocks but on the odd occasion they do get snagged. It is then simply a case of getting out the Tackle Back and you should be able to knock it free.

These lures seem to get the fish active and they keep hitting them until they hook up, so it’s not necessary to fish ultra-light leaders.

There have been some good-sized bream coming off the Fingal rock walls in the early mornings. These fish should spread out a bit more in the system as the water quality improves – if we don’t get more rain dumped in the system.

Whiting have been around in good numbers with the majority of the quality fish preferring the lower reaches and the cleaner water. Unfortunately the smaller bream have been a bit of a pest for the guys trying to get a good feed of whiting but perseverance has been the key.

Yabbies and worms have been the mainstay baits, although a few fishos have been catching some real elbow-slappers on poppers over the flats and weed beds. The trick is to keep the popper moving fairly quickly until it disappears in a splash.

Trevally and mangrove jacks will still be around in March and if you haven’t yet got a few of these fish this is the month to do it. They will still be on the prowl in April but their numbers definitely start to decrease.

As the first of the colder water starts to find its way into the system the fish sense this and start to get stuck into the local baitfish with gusto.

The bigger jacks also seem to come out this month so if you are after a trophy jack, now’s the time.


The rains put a bit of a dampener on the summer offshore pelagic season this year. January was almost a non-event with only the odd yellowfin, wahoo and mackerel being caught.

The action started to heat up a bit more over February with some good catches of wahoo on the Nine Mile, on hex heads and bibbed minnows. The odd flash of mackerel was seen at Palm Beach but nothing too consistent.

March could go either way on the offshore grounds. It could be a late season although this will be very weather-dependent. If we see the inshore water clear up then it should be game on but more rain will mean the rivers pour out more dirty water to shut down offshore bite.

If you are chasing marlin then look a bit deeper than in previous seasons. Although they have not been around in any sort of numbers, a few boats have still been getting the odd fish on the 36- and 50-fathom reefs but there has been a lot of water between strikes.

Make the most of March and get out on the water.

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