Warming water holds the key
  |  First Published: October 2006

The water in the rivers is starting to warm up and the Summer species are beginning to poke their noses out.

In the Tweed, we generally get a few days of really good weather that causes the water in the river to jump a few degrees, switching on the fish until the water drops back again. If you are on the water when this happens then you are in for some top fishing.

I try to spend as much time on the water as possible this month watching for this sudden change because it can easily be missed. I remember last year I managed to get it right and caught four good-sized mangrove jacks in one session when the water jumped to 24°. I got out the next morning and it had dropped to 21° and I couldn’t get a hit.

So timing your outings will be important this month. If we have a few really hot days that correspond with a low tide around midday, the sun has a good chance to bake the exposed mudflats. Once the tide starts to run in and cover the flats they warm the water just in time for a late arvo session.

There should still be a few good bream around in the Tweed but I think that the whiting will start to become a more popular target from October. The flats opposite the Fingal boat ramp are a good early-season starting point. Unfortunately this is also a very popular stretch of river for boating and skiing so if you want to get a good feed of whiting you will have to be out there really early.


I had an interesting session on the bream with a mate at the time of writing. We headed out to chase a few with bait and I was experimenting with some new 2lb mono. It is so thin that I was battling to tie a knot but as soon as we started fishing I could not go wrong. I had five fish in the boat before my mate got his first good hit.

He eventually used a piece of it as an ultra-long leader and immediately started to catch fish. This would be something to keep in mind when chasing quality whiting through the Summer – try to fish as light as possible and you will be amazed how your bite rate will improve.

Drifting over the flats with a few yabbies on daybreak should see you in with a good chance for a feed. Don’t forget to chase them at night if the daytime sessions aren’t producing. Some of the bigger fish in the Tweed are often pinned during night sessions and I recall some great nights last year when the river was absolutely glassed off. I found it very tough to eventually head home.

October is the first month that I really start to chase jacks up the Tweed. They are generally a bit more active this month, especially towards the latter part of October. Trolling hardbodies around any of the rock walls, rock bars or bridges could see you in with a chance. Whether you land the fish or not is what makes it all the more exciting.

I try to get my lures down to about 4m, letting them hit bottom occasionally. Livebaiting is also a top technique and at this time of the year might just have the edge on luring because the Jacks might not be as active yet.

When I am chasing jacks I like to get on the water and make sure I have a bit of time to look around first. Sometimes one spot will fire better than others and there are a few telltale signs to look for. Bait is a very important one. If I get to a spot and there is quite a bit of nervous bait hanging around, I am always a lot more confident.

Water temp also plays a big part, especially early in the season. I will generally fish the warmer spots over the others. Later in the season temperature doesn’t really matter because the entire system is warm.

Trevally will really start to stack up this month and there have already been some good numbers caught throughout the system.


The inshore reefs should start to hot up as the current pushes in closer. Cobia, kings and a few early season mackerel will be the popular targets. Snapper should still be around in good numbers on Fidos and the Mud Hole with the odd jew showing up, too.

The wider grounds will start to get a bit tougher to fish so make the most of them while you still can. I will be getting out for a jig as often as possible this month because we had a bumper jigging season last October with heaps of kings, ambers and samson around to stretch the arms.


A top kingie caught on a 300g Chaos Jig on the 36-fathom reef north-east of the Tweed bar. There will still be a fair number of these top fish on hand this month.


The author with a good Samson caught in 50 fathoms east of the bar. Make the most of fish like this because the current will increase this month.

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