Coffs anglers have been enjoying sunny days and warm water with offshore, inshore and estuarine species biting well for those with the patience and skill to deliver a bait or lure.
Mick Booth fished the freshwater reaches of a local river recently, catching and releasing half a dozen bass to 41cm. Young Andrew Yeung took some time from his rugby league commitments to catch and release several bass and bream to 47cm on deep plastics in the brackish water down near Macksville.
Offshore anglers seem to be faring best in the clear conditions with pearl perch to 2kg, snapper to 7kg, kingfish to 12kg, samson fish to 8kg, jewfish to 24kg, tuskfish to 3kg and trag to 3kg. Those fishing the shallow reefs have been enjoying great snapper fishing using 6” plastics or lightly weighted pilchards. Bag-limit catches of snapper from 2kg to 4kg are the norm with all the prominent reefs off Coffs, Woolgoolga and Urunga producing exciting fishing.
For those who persevere with larger floating baits in the washes there still are some big tailor on the prowl as well as salmon and kings to 4kg. The washes around the Solitary Islands are the best areas to cast and troll lures for tailor and kingfish, while anglers trolling the outer edges of the wash lines have been hooking bonito and the odd school yellowfin.
Around the headlands and breakwalls there have been tailor, bream and jewfish on bait and lures. The last hour before dark seems to be the best for lure fishing with metals catching tailor and salmon and large soft plastics producing jewfish.
There have been plenty of jew over the sand with cuttlefish and squid baits working well on the tide changes. The best recent jewfish was 29kg, caught near Moonee Beach on a tailor fillet. Apart from the really big specimens (that aren't very good eating anyway), there have been between plenty of 3kg to 8kg school jew an hour or so after the high tide.
The rocks around Charlesworth Headland have produced pigs, while Korora, Sapphire, Moonee and Red Rock Headlands have been the best tailor and jewfish possies. Matt Templeton landed several tailor to 3kg from the rocks near Hills Beach on 85g metals cast to the outer edge of an inshore bommie.
The entrances to Bonville, Boambee, Corindi, Moonee and Deep creeks have been fishing well for whiting on yabbies, while luderick have been taking cabbage baits on the first half of the run-out tide.
Bream lurers have been reporting good catches around the leases on the Nambucca and Kalang rivers, while the Bellinger has been fishing well for flathead and school jewfish around the road bridge. Lure anglers targeting tailor around the Pacific Highway have been landing jew to 4kg and tailor to a kilo on 40g metals. Both species have been feeding on large schools of herring that congregate around the bridge pylons.
Mike Colless and I went on our first bass expedition for the new season and caught fish to 37cm after dark on large surface chuggers. Over the next month bream will take deep plastics and possibly surface poppers and fizzers. Bass are still on the move with large congregations of fish starting to spread out along the brackish and first freshwater reaches of most large rivers.
Mangrove jack have continued to take baits right through Winter with some really big specimens busting up anglers near the rock walls on the bigger rivers and around the Coffs marina. Luderick anglers have reported good catches of fish on cabbage weed, with the breakwalls at Urunga and Nambucca being the pick of the spots.
Tailor fishing is at its best on sunset and there’s always the chance of a jewfish.
Andrew McIntyre with a by-catch from tailor fishing, a soon-to-be-released long tom.
The tailor have been prolific all Winter in numbers seldom seen in recent years.
Mike Colless lands a luderick at Urunga.
Jacob McIntyre with a nice Bellinger River flathead. There’ll be lots more around this month.Reads: 2632