Blacks in the blue
  |  First Published: February 2004

WITH THE recent onset of blue water came the first wave of inshore black marlin. True to form, they arrived just off Trial Bay Jail and soon found the huge rippling schools of slimy mackerel.

While it hasn’t been the most hectic start to the season, there have been enough fish hooked to keep any marlin chasers keen. Most sessions have been producing between one and four fish, depending on luck and effort.

Last year the blacks arrived at the same time but faded away for nearly five weeks before returning en masse in February. Time will tell if they’re here to stay now and also whether the numbers of fish will increase. Fingers crossed it’s another blinder!

The current has really kicked into gear, pushing south and hard with water temps inshore up to 25.5° and reports out wider running at just over 27°. The game crews eagerly await this good blue water and so far it hasn’t disappointed, especially those chasing bigger fish out around the Trial Bay canyons. Reports of good-sized yellowfin tuna and blue marlin are coming in. I’ve heard of two blues caught, one going 147kg, the other 138kg. These are good fish for trailer boats, with the latter blue being taken in a 4.8-metre cat.

This blue water has triggered a good run of mahi mahi. At the time of writing most of the fish have been really close to shore with dollies from 7kg to 10kg barely a kilometre from the stones. If the current keeps pushing in, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of a few nice mahi mahi coming off the rocks at places like Hat Head.

There have been a few spotted mackerel taken off Grassy Head. It’s still only fairly early days and numbers should have increased significantly by the time you read this. And with the netters gone from south-east Queensland, we may get a run reminiscent of the good old days.

The good run of snapper continues up north with reds up to 6kg. Those heading a little further towards Scotts Head seem to be faring better than those around Grassy. With the current running south hard, you may have to fish a tad closer to shore but usually the fish will bite more freely. As they say, ‘No run, no fun’.

River rewards

In the Macleay River it’s been a steady stream of bream, flathead and school mulloway which kept holiday anglers entertained. The extra boat traffic tended to quieten things but those fishing tidal changes late and early usually returned to the ramp with a nice feed.

Bass continue to be active up-river from Kempsey and with recent rains added some much-needed water to the smaller pools. Floating weed was a big problem for lure-tossers, but last trip there it seemed to have cleared markedly. Don’t forget to work poppers around the schools of herring as they flick on top just before dark.

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