All forms of fishing have been producing quality captures with warm water in the ocean and rivers providing a pleasant relief from the cool westerlies that are becoming more frequent.
Offshore anglers using live slimy mackerel baits have been landing Spanish mackerel to 24kg, cobia to 18kg, longtail tuna to 26kg and kingfish to 10kg. Anglers dropping live baits and jigs to the bottom on the deeper reefs have been hooking amberjack to a whopping 30kg- plus.
The inshore run of yellowfin tuna has continued with Dave Rae scoring a pair of 8kg fish while trolling live slimies a couple of kilometres off Urunga. The southern reefs off Bundagen and Third Headland have been the best mackerel producers with the northern reefs off Korora and Moonee Beaches inconsistent at best.
Local free-divers have been spearing good-sized wahoo and mackerel on the shallow reefs near North and South Solitary islands with line anglers also getting wahoo, mackerel and yellowfin tuna on high-speed lures and live baits. As the water starts to cool we should see larger snapper coming into berley trails, with unweighted pilchards and 6” plastics two of the best ways of tempting fussy reddies.
Land-based anglers have been hooking longtail tuna from Mutton Bird Island and the South Wall/Quarry with most fish from 17kg to 24kg. Anglers fishing Mutton Bird Island have been catching live yellowtail from the North Wall and carrying them onto the rocks. South Wall fishos have been catching garfish on the inner side of the wall and yellowtail on the seaward side.
Yakkas are happy to take baited jigs cast onto the bottom and garfish prefer a bread-baited jig set under a float. My son Kurt and I travelled up to Iluka recently and on what was a slow morning by Iluka standards I was lucky enough to land an 18kg longtail that took a live garfish on 10kg tackle. This was the only run of the morning from among four or five groups of experienced anglers who had all sent live garfish seaward under corks or balloons.
Mike Colless and I went bass fishing on the Bellinger and caught and released about a dozen bass from 35cm to 42cm. After a pre-dawn start we didn't hook our first decent fish until 9.30am. All fish were caught from timbered areas using 3” plastics on 1/16oz jig heads. Surface lures and divers proved ineffectual, with only a few smaller fish showing minimal interest.
Bream anglers working plastics and hard lures around the leases on the Kalang and Nambucca systems have been landing reasonable bags of fish to 35cm, with the odd mangrove jack and trevally causing extra trouble for those fishing with ultra-light leaders.
Farther upstream the mangrove jack populations have finally made it back onto their favourite snags and they should hang around until the end of the month, taking lures and live baits.
On the beaches there have been large schools of small chopper tailor feeding on whitebait during the day with larger fish to 2kg arriving on sunset and feeding enthusiastically on moonlit nights.
Anglers chasing jewfish have had mixed success on bait with a few big fish to 20kg coming from the northern beaches at Sapphire and Hills. My kids and I have enjoyed some quality whiting fishing in recent weeks with live beach worms and long 2kg fluorocarbon traces integral parts of our system.
Over the next month I'll continue to drift live baits from the rocks and troll them behind my small boat. As the mullet start to run we should see big jewfish, tailor and Spanish mackerel feed without caution at the backs of beaches and headlands and this is great news for inshore anglers.
The bream-bass double is on the cards in the lily pad zone of local creeks.
Plenty of quality whiting remain on the beaches but you’d better get out there before the water cools down.
This bream took a small hard-bodied fizzer on the Kalang River.Reads: 2565