The current run of cobia along the east coast is a pretty amazing event. To put things into perspective, a ‘normal’ cobia run here on the North Coast is basically a short but torrid event, usually lasting anything from two days to two weeks with fish caught daily at recognised haunts.
This run, however, which started in late December and at the time of writing was still going strong, has seen good numbers of quality fish fall almost daily as far south as Sydney. Any of the more recognised cobia hot spots has been crazy with sizable fish caught virtually every day.
While it’s great fun wrestling with these obstinate black buggers, the reality is that with so many fish being taken over the past five months, I’d be surprised if we see such an event again.
Here at South West Rocks hundreds, if not thousands, of fish have been taken. Many other hot spots also have been mined for months on end.
It would be frightening to know the exact number taken on the east coast since December and probably a real eye opener to DPI Fisheries, who made it legal to take 20 fish per person per day, no matter what size they are.
I guess whilst it’s ‘legal’ to fill your boat with cobes, there’s no law saying you have to. If using suitable hooks, like tuna circles or the Eagle Claw L 2007, most fish will be hooked in the corner of the mouth and are quite easy to set free. An oversized landing net, a wet towel and some long-nosed pliers are all that’s needed for a successful release. A few happy snaps with the camera and off they go – too easy.
As well as some nice cobia running lately there was a very late wahoo run. It’s probably all over bar the shouting now (though I could be wrong!) but while it lasted there was great fishing with skirted lures at Fish Rock and just wide of Green Island. Most the fish were 15kg to 18kg class and were a welcome bonus so late in the season.
The snapper crew fared quite well by heading north off Grassy, Middle and Scotts heads, with much of the action taking place from 40m to 50m depths. Some serious bust-offs from resident samson fish, plus a few wandering cobia, made for a pretty hectic time from many that heading up that way.
It’s prime time for a run of bream and tailor along the ocean rocks. It’s been a little slow to start but the bream and tailor run seems to be building nicely and I suspect by the time this goes to print many wave-washed headlands and beach corners will be well worth a throw for both species.
Traditionally, jewfish seem to follow the bream, tailor and mullet runs so don’t be too surprised if a sizable jewie takes a fancy to your pilchard or flesh bait. Many serious rock anglers take the big gear out and when the tailor run slows, cast out a fillet or head of the last fish caught. This is a great way to find a big jewfish that’s been cruising with the bait schools.
In the Macleay River things have been a little tough. A lack of serious rain has it running close to gin-clear. Some of the bigger tides have stirred the water a little but overall it’s been clean at high or low tide and pretty tough going during daylight hours. Thinking anglers have overcome this by fishing lighter and staying out after sunset.
There have been a few bream (best after dark), the odd blackfish (still pretty early days for them here) and some reasonable jewfish following the remnant mullet run as they run the gauntlet of nets in the river and waiting greedily along the ocean beaches.
Flathead have slowed considerably with the cooling water, though there have been a few bigger fish found enjoying the midday sun around areas of shallow reef.
Up-river, bass have begun to move into the brackish reaches. Due to the lack of rain many of the traditional brackish zones are farther upstream, making a little tough to find a few co-operative fish. Having said that, there have been some good fish caught and released, especially after dark on big surface lures.Reads: 1126