Sparkling with potential
  |  First Published: February 2005

Fishing in February, what a delight! After some recent generous downpours, the Tweed River should sparkle with potential leading into the dwindling throes of Summer.

Many species of fish will be biting, offering anglers from all over plenty to talk about over a quiet one with friends.

Mangrove jack would have to be the highlight for February. As these fish start to spawn they become very active on the surface and below. Get your gear into top shape because these beasts, commonly thought the biggest estuary jacks in Australia, unleash at any well-presented bait or lure.

Try this method of attack: Just before or just after dark, tie on a surface popper that is similar in size and colour to a poddy mullet. Attach the popper to 15kg braid and a 25kg mono leader around two to three metres long.

Keep the leader long with these busters because they can take no time to slam you back into the snag. The mono trace will give you more chance to reef out those thumper jacks.

Look for cut, snaggy banks with some tidal flow. Chinderah rock walls up around Tumbulgum right up to the Condong sugar mill are prime areas to find such places.

Keep the retrieve slow; make that popper look sick, with random sluggish movements. The River 2 Sea range of poppers are exceptional.

Beware, though, because some of the bigger jacks can straighten out the hooks. It is best to beef up the trebles.

Other quality table fish should be on fire this month. Flathead should be up the river behind the airport and behind Seagulls Leagues Club – these are always good spots.

If you enjoy bait fishing, fine, but you can’t go past plastics for flathead in these areas. If you’re unsure what type to tie on, 3”to 4” shads in natural colours always work.

With plenty of small channels surrounded by sand flats, Tweed flathead can be very easy to find. Best results come when drifting along a stretch of bank casting to selected areas.

The best line for these fish is 4lb to 6lb Fireline, which provides plenty of sensitivity to bites yet can cast a country mile. Be sure to run at least a 4kg mono trace to decrease the chance of being cut off if your lizard decides to scoff your plastic well down. The best retrieve seems to be a long, slow lift, with random raises in between.

Whiting should show their aggressive face this February. Try your favourite bait from near the Piggery through to the sugar mill at Condong.

Yabbies seem to be the flavour of the month. This bait is easily found and stocks are thick on most sand banks throughout the river.

Quality bream have been a little scarce, with plenty of just-legal fish around so if you’re keen for an easy feed, try any of the rock walls near the mouth down towards Chinderah. Best baits are fresh prawns, cut flesh or live herring.

With the prevailing winds generally coming out of the north, the best arm to fish is that leading past Chinderah. Many sheltered pockets provide plenty of different options if limited action arises.

Enjoy this month. Ensure your tackle is up to scratch as one of these Tweed monster mangrove jacks may strike at any stage. Prepare your mission, leave no stone unturned and, most importantly, enjoy your fishing.

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