The lower reaches of the river are looking good with the mullet starting to school and waiting for that first big southerly wind to blow. And the jewfish will be waiting for these mullet along the walls and in the deeper holes in the river.
This is the best time of year to chase jew in the river with 15kg to 20kg fish quite common. Lures and live bait work well with most live-bait fishos in their spots at night a few hours before slack water to catch their bait and secure the good spots.
Fishos using lures will work the same areas day and night. With less pressure on these areas through the day, throwing lures produces opportunities not available at night. The size of the jewfish is always bigger at night and the bite is usually better but the crowds are always bigger, too.
Some big schools of luderick have been lurking around the walls in the lower reaches with good catches taken on the first of the run-out tide. Best bait for those bigger fish, as it is every year is ‘black magic’ weed. For those unable to collect their own black weed, you should find all good bait shops stocking good supplies now.
On the rocky headlands the bigger blackfish have been active with fish to 1.5kg taken on green weed. The pick of the spots have been Iluka Bluff and Woody Head.
The beaches and headlands are all fishing well now with tailor and bream accommodating most fishos. Tailor around a kilo are common along the beaches with Shark Bay beach the pick. Pillies, sea gar, strips of bonito and chrome spinners are all producing fish. On the headlands sea gar and poppers are producing the bigger fish with Woody Head the prime spot for fish to 5kg.
Big bream are along the beaches and headlands in good numbers now with many fish around a kilo. The headlands are producing the best of the fishing with cut pillies and beach worms the baits of choice.
In the river the fishing has been a little up and down with the fresh taking a long time to clean up, courtesy of all the rain in the southern catchment behind Coffs Harbour. Most of the quality fishing has been from Browns Rocks to the river mouth. The pick of the spots has been Oyster Channel, with cleaner water pushing back in faster than in the main river.
Best baits have been mullet, yabbies and prawns. The lure fishos are doing very well in the canals with Berkley 3” Gulp Minnows in pumpkinseed producing fish to a kilo. While the dirty water is in the river this area should continue to fish well.
The longtail tuna continue to keep coming through with the average fish around 15kg. Live sea gar, slimy mackerel and weighted poppers have been the best choices on the Iluka Wall. The fish should start to thin out through May but have been caught right through to July some years, so just watch that water temperature.
Some quality Spanish mackerel have been landed from the Iluka Wall this year and now is the time the really big fish start to show there so wire is now a must when live-baiting.Reads: 2013