Consistent rainfall has ensured estuaries along the Coffs coast have been firing for flathead, whiting and bream. Flathead over 5kg have been taking soft plastics and live mullet, while the whiting have been taking yabbies and beach worms.
Bream spinners have been catching fish off the leases on soft plastics and hard divers, while those fishing further upstream under the trees have been getting good bream on small surface poppers and fizzers. The best rivers for chasing bream include the Kalang, Nambucca and Bellinger.
Mike Colless and Russ Williams got some good bream in the Kalang recently with Mike getting busted up by a couple of unstoppable fish that took him back under the floating racks. Trevally, mangrove jacks and jewfish are in residence under many of the oyster racks so it can pay to concentrate your efforts around these floating takeaways.
Bigger lures and live baits will often coax bigger species into a strike, but there'll be a long wait between hits.
My son Kurt and I walked the banks of the Bellinger at Mylestrom flicking out 3” plastics on 1/16 oz jigs, having a great time battling a couple of dozen flathead to almost 2kg. Kurt's mate, Jacob, lost a 5kg-plus specimen that was just too big to manhandle in for a photo.
Bonville Creek, Moonee Creek, Corindi Creek and the Sandon River have been producing the best whiting with many quality fish over 500g landed. If you're targeting quality whiting keep your traces light and long, with a 3kg fluorocarbon leader and size 10 long-shank hooks the best gear at the business end of things.
Anglers chasing luderick have had plenty of success on fish to 1.4kg with the entrance to Moonee Creek, Bonville Creek, Corindi Creek and the V-Wall at Urunga producing most consistently.
On the beaches there have been reports of chopper tailor and school jew in many of the deeper gutters and around the rocky fringes. Anglers throwing soft plastics have reported some jewfish action on fish to about 4kg with early in the morning and late in the afternoon around the tide changes the best times for luring.
Locations like Brooms Head, Scotts Head, Hat Head and Crescent Head have an almost unlimited number of jew-spinning options for anglers prepared to put in the hard yards. At present the spots close to Coffs have been pretty quiet and over-fished.
There seems to be no end to the salmon schools patrolling our headlands and beaches, although once the water warms up a bit more we should see the last of these at times frustratingly fickle feeders. To make up for the imminent departure of the salmon, inshore lure-tossers should be well catered for with bonito, mack tuna and striped tuna that will move close to the headlands and along the backs of beaches in search of small baitfish.
The snapper run has continued with more and more anglers mixing their baitfishing with some soft plastic efforts. Fish over 7kg have been caught off Urunga and Wooli, while plenty of fish of 2kg to 4kg have been caught on all the popular reefs such as The Patch, Bullocky and Bundagen, all accessible from the harbour ramp.
Spotted mackerel have started to take snapper baits with the first few fish of the season being caught in October down near Third Headland. There are plenty of mahi mahi around the traps with big fish to over 12kg taking slow-trolled or cast live baits.
Kingfish, samson fish and the school yellowfin tuna are also there to be caught over the deeper waters reefs, with livebaits sent down deep doing the job on the kings and samsons, while slow-trolled baits and lures are catching yellowfin.
Bass fishing was hot and cold during the early part of Spring, with only average fish to 45cm being caught from our usual haunts on the top ends of all the local rivers and creeks. Anglers fishing early and late in the day have reported some surface lure action, while anglers after dark have been doing it pretty tough in recent times with unstable weather patterns making the bass feeding patterns very hard to predict.
Over the next month I'll focus my efforts on bass and mangrove jacks. A moonless night is my favourite time for bass luring and a run-out tide early or late in the day is the best time for jacks.
Bream have been feeding actively in the Kalang River. Trevally, mangrove jacks and jewfish are also in residence under many of the floating oyster racks.
Summer is time for whiting of all sizes on North Coast beaches.
Kurt and Hannah Atkinson with some Boambee Beach whiting.
The author and Mick Booth with some bream from the floating oyster racks. Some bigger fish were just unstoppable.Reads: 1966