Breaming on the Clarence River this season has been a bit hit-and-miss.
Quality sea bream averaging 800g are about in good numbers along the beaches with the best of the fish showing on the rocky headlands. Fishos chasing these bream from the rocks will find fresh mullet gut and mullet fillets producing the best results.
Those using lures will find the Berkley Gulp 3” fry and 3” shrimp are the gun lures in these areas. Over the past few weeks I have been using some of the new Gulp 6” sand eel lures with good results on big bream, jew and snapper. This new Gulp is going to be the go-to lure for offshore fishos and those chasing large river fish.
In the river the hot spots firing have been the Middle Wall, the Turkeys Nest, Browns Rocks, Palmers Island and the caves at Maclean. The average size of the bream this year is down but on a good day the numbers are there.
There are many lures worth trying but I have been using the new Tiemco 40mm Sinking Stick Minnow everywhere from Foster to the Gold Coast and it has outfished soft plastic lures in some places. So if you like to play with new lures, this is one you must have.
Those using bait need to find quality live herring if they want really big bream. Fresh mullet gut and fillets are also good bait, especially for those fishing those big night tides.
The blackfish are in good numbers this year but those big fish are still hard to find. Fishos on the headlands have had the best of the action on quality fish. Good numbers of fish have been on the bite now in the lower reaches of the river on the run-out tide so check the tide before planing a trip.
The Middle Wall and Collis Wall are the river hot spots with the best fish taken on ‘black magic’ weed. The secret when fishing these deep walls is to find what depth the fish are holding and feeding and set your float accordingly.
Those fishing the headlands will find green cabbage weed and the high tide are producing fish up to 1.5kg.
It’s time to get excited about some really big Winter jew in the lower reaches of the river. You’ll need to upgrade your gear for a chance to land one.
In previous years I have been refining the techniques to catch big river jew at night on soft plastics. Here is how, when and where.
• How: Large lures, either hard or soft, will work. I prefer the new Berkley 6” Squid, while the rod and reel are your personal choice. Leaders should be nothing under 6kg for fish over 15kg. I learnt the hard way too many times using 3kg and 4kg so go light but most fish at night are a lot bigger than those daytime schoolies we get on bream gear.
• When: On a slack high tide between 5pm and 11pm is prime time. This might change for your local area, depending on when the fish prefer to bite.
• Where: Concentrate your efforts around the deep holes at the river mouth or along the deep walls where the mullet school up at night. How far up-river the jew can be found will depend on the river system. In the Clarence we can go to Maclean and sill catch quality jew but the best catches come from the area closest to the river mouth.
This month marks the run of those big greenback tailor over the magic 6kg mark with good numbers expected along the beaches this year. If you are using good quality bonito for bait then you are on the money and are probably already catching big tailor.
The best spot is Iluka Back Beach with Woody Head to the north and Middle Bluff to the south. These beaches hold more quality fish than any other places in the area.
If rockhopping is more to your liking and you are looking for serious action then the combination of large poppers, high tide and dull, overcast days is what you want when chasing big tailor from the rocks.
Good-sized stinger hooks are a must to ensure you stay connected to those big tail-walking tailor. I use a 10/0 hook on a swivel attached to the lure with the same split ring used for the back treble hook.
For all those looking for a feed of quality chopper tailor you will find the main breakwall and the open beaches produce well early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Pillies, gar and chrome spinners are all the go.