Summer visitors
  |  First Published: December 2002

A few more recognised Summer species have arrived at SWR.

The first to show were small hammerhead sharks (which usually denotes the first push of good northern water) followed by flying fish, a few scad, sauries and, finally, a fresh batch of cobia. It seems the good water is just around the corner!

If you’re connected to the internet there are a few websites that show thermal charts of the East Coast (sea surface temperature maps), allowing you to see just where the good blue water is at any time. The main one I use is found in the Manly Hydraulics Laboratory site http://marlin.mhl.nsw.gov.au/data/csiroday.htmlx. If you’re a keen blue-water angler, these sites are invaluable.

I recently ventured down to Black Rock looking for a few snapper and was fortunate to run into small cobia. I hadn’t seen a cobia for that long I forgot what they looked like, so to have six small fish in the berley trail was pretty impressive. There are reports of bigger fish coming in, particularly around Hat Head and Hungry Head. Here at The Rocks one local angler hooked a monster close to 40kg below the lighthouse while fishing for jew. Unfortunately he lost it at the gaff when the hook snapped.

The abundant kingfish of last month seem to have gone. There were some terrific schools of fish in the 10kg to 25kg class busting tiny baitfish but they were very difficult at tempt. I fluked one going 11kg on 6kg gear and a soft plastic grub but most simply ignored my offerings.

Last trip down there they were all gone. Where they go is anyone’s guess but don’t be surprised if by the time you read this they’re back. Strange fish these kings.

Some good catches of snapper are starting to filter through, especially for those heading north and fishing the close kelp beds. Some of the reds have been close to 8kg but most are from 1kg to 1.5kg. Summer here is usually pretty good for quality snapper in close but there are so many other quality fish on offer that the snapper tend to get left alone for five months or so. I guess it’s a good thing for the snapper fishery as a whole.

This time of year in the Macleay River usually heralds the start of the flathead run. So far they have been pretty patchy at best due to a combination of fluctuating water temps and the dreaded red weed, but when the conditions have been to their liking, some beauties up to 8kg have come in.

These bigger flathead are pretty easy pickings and susceptible to over-fishing by greedy, unscrupulous anglers. They’re pretty lousy to eat, so if you do chase the big girls, just take a few pics and let them go. Our estuary fish need all the help they can get.

Some big mulloway were caught last moon, with some going close to 24kg. Catching the live baits has been a bit of a problem but if you can score a few pike, tailor or GTs, you’ll give yourself a pretty good shot at a jew. The red weed has been a problem; so let’s hope it thins out a little by the time you read this.

Farther up-river some nice bass are biting, especially below Belgrave Falls. There’s a lot of water between Greenhills and Belgrave but, by scouting around working any likely haunts, you should run into a few co-operative fish. Some of the better fish are going close to 48cm fork length – or in English, around 1.8kg.



The Author with healthy 5 kg kingfish taken of a Storm 6” Shad. Soft plastics and kings go hand-in-hand.


There have been quite a few mackerel and striped tuna around Fish Rock. This 6kg mack feel took a live bait aimed at a kingfish. Greedy buggers!

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