Diseased fish begin to heal
  |  First Published: May 2008

With over half of our river fish spending the last few months on the beaches cleaning themselves from red spot disease, it has been hard to find quality fish in the Clarence.

But now these fish are heading back up river and fishing has improved.

A lot of fish being caught at the moment are holding scars from the recent red spot outbreak. During my last river trip about 25% of the bream we caught bore scars from red spot.

The environmental concerns of our rivers need to be addressed now before all the NSW rivers have the problems that the Richmond River is facing. DPI Fisheries believes that killing all fish with red spot will fix the problem but I think fixing the cause of red spot is better than killing our fish stocks.

The Clarence River bream have started to school up and are on the chew. Good fish have been taken from the area around Maclean, with the Broadwater producing some big numbers.

The Broadwater has been fishing really well due to the large number of prawns in this part of the system.

Some days you can sight cast to the bream as they attack the schools of prawns in the shallows. Surface lures such as the Ecogear PX45F are accounting for most of the fish.

Bait fishos are still getting most of the quality bream with fresh mullet and fresh mullet gut the way to go. The walls in the lower reaches are holding the best of the fish as the sea run of bream slowly starts to turn up. This should only improve over the next month as the sea-run bream move along the coast.


The winter run of flathead is looking good this year with good reports of quality size flatties coming from the Broadwater already.

The area between the Harwood bridge and the Broadwater has a reputation of producing good catches through winter and spring.

All forms of fishing work here with lures best in the lake and bait best in the deeper water. The lake is best fished early in the morning before the wind gets up because the wind chop stirs up the water and shuts down the bite.

Big tailor are finding their way on to the beaches and headlands with some fishos reporting quality fish to 5kg.

The best of the action has been on Shark Bay Beach using stripes of bonito; the traditional bait to catch big tailor from the beach. This bait and style has been producing some quality tailor and the odd big Jew.

Shark Bay has also been holding some big schools of black-tip sharks and anyone wishing to chase these will find action in the afternoon and early part of the night.

Dedicated jew fishos have been out with reports of fish to 15kg coming from Shark Bay and Back Beach. The rocky headlands are also producing some good fish with the Middle Bluff the spot to be with large hardbody lures and feather jigs.

Those fishing into the night are finding the best of the fish with the headlands and beaches best on the late night tides. Live mullet worked off the Iluka breakwall are also worth a shot with jewies up to 20kg lurking in these waters.

Longtail tuna have been about in good numbers on the Iluka breakwall with a good supply of baitfish off the wall indicating a good time to try your hand at hooking one of these torpedos.

Surface poppers between 50g and 100g are also a good option but you will need a quality pair of polarised sunglasses to spot the fish as they speed through.

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