The heat is on!
  |  First Published: December 2005

The past few months have been fairly interesting on the Tweed River. I would be up the river chasing mangrove jacks one morning in a pair of shorts and a shirt and the next with longs and a jumper but hopefully we can now say goodbye to the cooler days.

The jack season is well and truly under way and there have been some fantastic fish taken. This action should get even better this month with the fish getting used to water temperature in the upper 20s.

I have found that once the temperature gets above 25° there seems to be a lot more surface activity around daybreak and sunset. If I’m on the Tweed and see patches of trevally busting up on bait and mullet flicking, I am pretty confident of a jack hook-up.

Don’t be shy to give surface lures a good go. It gives you more chance of landing the fish as they have to move well away from their hidey-holes to hit them.

If you see fish chopping up bait, have a few casts because sometimes jacks can be mistaken for trevally.

There is, unfortunately, a lot of pressure on these fish through the summer so try to release the majority. To give you an example, two of the biggest jacks I have caught in the Tweed in the past few months have both had hooks in their mouths from previous encounters.

I trimmed the line off and after a few quick pics released them to terrorise the local herring population. I thought that if these fish were tough enough to beat some other angler and survive then they were definitely too good to keep.

Trevally have been fairly well spread throughout the system and can be targeted around any of the bridges or rockwalls. These fish definitely like the change of light periods best.

I often keep a light spin rod rigged with a small soft plastic ready to make a quick cast at a school that starts to chop bait close to the boat. There should also be a few good schools of trevally up around Murwillumbah but a dawn outing is definitely a must to find them. Once the sun is up the action dies off.

We had some red hot sessions up around this area last month catching a few trevs on daybreak and then pinning a few flathead and bream around the snags with the odd bass thrown in. Who could ask for more?

If luring for them doesn’t appeal to you, drift a few livies through the areas where they are chopping and hang on.

Whiting should be around in numbers and using light gear over any of the flats should see enough caught for a feed. The areas around the Piggery, Oxley Cove and up around the Sugar Mill are fairly popular.

There are still a fair number of bream around, especially in the upper reaches. Unfortunately the majority are small but persistence should see a few bigger fish.

There will still be some flathead this month. Try the deeper water as the shallower flats get extremely hot during the day and the bigger flatties tend to prefer deeper water. Jigging large soft plastics like the 4” Atomic Shads and Squidgies, or drifting livies or ganged pillies are two good techniques.

January is a very good month for fishing the Tweed; it is also a very popular month for holidaying as well. The amount of boat traffic on certain parts of the river has to be seen to be believed.

Many of these folks are not used to these busy conditions so please be careful when using the river as accidents happen very quickly. Try to remember safety first and if you are going for a fish, steer clear of these ‘highways’ even if they are some of your favourite spots.

It’s a good time to go exploring up-river for a quieter area. Try to be on the water very early and you will have managed to pin a few fish by the time the rest of the mob wake up.

If you are going for a fish over the holidays and aren’t too sure of where to go, pop in to Angler’s Warehouse for some quality gear and advice or call them on 07 5536 3822.


This is definitely the month to get out the trolling gear. There should be a few small black marlin around the Kirra and Nine Mile areas. Trolling smallish pushers or slowly trolling livies are two of the best options.

The current out wide will be ripping so if you are after a feed of bottom fish, try the shallower grounds. Alternatively, you could try jigging as there will still be some good kings and amberjacks on the 36- and 50-fathom lines.

Jigging 300 and 400g Chaos and Knife jigs might sound like hard work but the rewards generally make it worth the effort.

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