Fight whiting, not crowds
  |  First Published: December 2006

The silly season is upon us again and with it comes warm weather, hot days, early starts and hectic fishing action.

All the summer species should be hitting their straps and the two most popular targets will be whiting and jacks. The upper reaches of the river should start to fish as well as the lower reaches – I usually spend most of my time fishing the upper reaches Tweed over Christmas.

The hot midday temperatures and heavy pressure on the Tweed can be a bit difficult to endure so try to be on the water during periods of low light. An early start or a sunset session will still produce excellent results.

The Tweed produces some quality whiting over summer and chasing them is something that the whole family can enjoy.

Getting the kids to help with pumping a few yabbies can be a great way to keep them busy. Once you have enough yabbies, grab a few live beachworms from one of the tackle shops so you have a bit of variety for the fish.

Whiting fishing is pretty good because you don’t need a flash boat to get out on the water. They can be caught just as easily from the shore.

Two light spin outfits rigged with 4lb or 6lb mono, a handful of hooks and a few small ball sinkers are all you need. A good whiting tip is to try to fish around the areas where you pumped your yabbies. You have disturbed the mud in this area and once the tide runs in and covers this, the fish are quick to follow. It’s a simple way of berleying a spot.

Always try to be as quiet as possible when chasing whiting. This can be a bit hard with the kids getting a bit impatient between bites as the bigger fish are pretty smart and are put off by any irregularities.

Trevally and queenies will be seen harassing the bait around the rock walls and bridge pylons. Small poppers, slugs and soft plastics retrieved with a quick, erratic action are good ways to pin a few of them, although they can be seen chopping bait at times and will refuse everything chucked at them.

The top reaches of the river will still have large numbers of bream as well as a few bass. The larger bream will be a bit tough to target because of the schools of juvenile fish.

We have been having a few top sessions at first light around the Murwillumbah and Condong areas. Schools of trevally have been chopping the bait on the surface and were keen on just about anything cast to them. Once the sun was up the action would die out.

Trolling hard bodies around the rock walls and sand flats should still produce a mixed bag of bream, bass and flathead.

The rivers will be chockers with herring and they are excellent bait. If lurefishing does not appeal to you, head to the nearest bridge and jig up a few for bait. Just remember that castnetting is illegal in NSW and Fisheries officers are pretty strict – you aren’t even allowed to have one on your boat.

I fish herring using a single hook with a small ball weight sliding on the trace. The size of hook depends on the size of the herring.

This is a very busy time on the waterways and parts of the Tweed can be a constant procession of boats headed in all directions. Try to be aware of other boats as it’s easier to avoid an accident than to wish afterwards you had taken evasive action.

The boat ramps are also a problem with long queues the norm over the holidays. Try to have your boat ready to go when it’s your turn to launch. Make sure the turnbuckles are loosened, bungs are in and gear is loaded so that you can just drop the boat in and head off to the parking area. There is nothing worse than an inexperienced boater stopping on the ramp and started to unpack their car!


The water temp should have made a substantial rise by December and the pelagics should have moved in. Small black marlin will be on offer around the Kirra Reef and the Nine Mile. Trolling small pushers on a spread behind the boat at around six to eight knots should see you in with a shot.

Unfortunately the razor gang make chasing the marlin expensive. Fidos and the Nine Mile will hold good numbers of wahoo and Palm Beach Reef will be the place to chase a feed of mackerel – if you can find a parking spot.

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