Avoid the summer masses
  |  First Published: December 2007

The summer heat is well and truly upon us, which makes fishing throughout the middle of the day a bit difficult. Sticking to early mornings or late arvo sessions is generally a bit more of a comfortable way of fishing the Tweed this month.

The boat traffic is also not as much of a problem around these low-light periods so trying to catch a feed will be more pleasant.

All the usual summer species will be around this month. Mangrove jacks will be haunting structure in the river, whiting and flathead will be around the flats and weed beds and trevally will be harassing the baitfish schools around the bridges.

This is the start of the silly season with large queues at boat ramps and uneducated watercraft pilots making traversing the river a bit dodgy. So I thought I’d outline a few tips for anyone out to enjoy this beautiful waterway and hopefully make the holidays a bit more bearable for everyone.

If you are new to the river, make sure you have a decent map that depicts the channels and sand bars – if you hit a sand bar at speed people can get hurt very badly very quickly. You can pick up a map at local tackle stores or the Maritime Authority.

Try to leave home earlier if you want to avoid boat ramps at their busiest.

When you arrive at the ramp, make sure that all your gear is packed onto the boat, the bungs are in and the straps and trailer board removed before you back the boat onto the ramp. This will allow you to get the boat in the water quickly and efficiently without delaying everyone else in the line-up.

Try to back the boat down one side of the larger ramps so more than one boat can be launched at a time.

Once you are mobile, be aware that many of the people piloting watercraft may be doing so for the first time and are not very experienced. If a situation occurs where you need to take evasive action, even if you are in the right and the other vessel is in the wrong; do so. Don’t expect the other boat to be the one that will move.

Accidents happen very easily when a massive number of vessels are in a very small area. Always remember safety first.

When you decide to head back, make sure that once you have put the boat back on its trailer, secure the safety chain and move off the ramp before unloading the boat. This will again help to keep the flow of trailers moving on the ramp.

The area around Tumbulgum and in front of the Fingal boat ramp towards the river mouth is usually chockers with boaters, so if you intend going for a fish then avoid these areas.


If you want to fish them, early or late are the times to be doing so. If you want to avoid the boat traffic a bit, head up to the top sections of the river around Murwillumbah or around Seagulls. There are plenty of little feeder creeks where one can anchor up and soak bait or chuck lures around for a few bream, flathead or whiting.

I do most of my summer fishing at night to avoid the crowds. The wind usually abates and the river glasses out.

Schools of big-eye trevally run amok with the baitfish and prawns under the cover of darkness and it’s great fun chucking poppers or plastics at them. Simply driving the boat out and heading to one of the many bridges on the Tweed can get you among them.

You can actually hear the trevors boofing bait on a quiet night and then drive over to where they are. Sometimes the action can last all night while on other occasions it only lasts for a short period of the tide.

The odd mangrove jack will also be caught on poppers cast at trevally and we have come across a few jacks that have herded schools of bait up against rock walls and, if we didn’t know any better, would have mistaken them for trevally.

So if you are having an early morning troll for a jack and hear some fish getting stuck into the bait, head over and investigate before dismissing them as trevally.


The mackerel at Palm Beach Reef should be in full swing by now with the usual flotilla of boats out there having a crack at them. Casting slugs or fishing pillies back into a berley trail are good ways to get them.

This is a good time to start trolling pushers for small black marlin around Kirra Reef, the Nine Mile or the Mud Hole. We had a cracker of a season last year with everyone having a go so it would be hard to gauge just how good the season will turn out this year.

If you are after some advice or some good gear then head over to the folks at Anglers Warehouse or call 07 55363822.

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