Royal blue water
  |  First Published: March 2003

Finally some good water has hit South West Rocks, with royal blue 24° to 26° current hitting most spots between Nambucca and Hat Head.

With the good blue water came the much-awaited game fish. First on the scene were billfish (yippee!) with a mix of 40kg to 80kg black marlin plus some much-welcomed sailfish and striped marlin.

This is the first year I’ve seen striped marlin so close to shore, some only 400 metres from the stones. Some days there were only striped marlin on the Jail Grounds, which is pretty unusual for these parts.

Mixed in with the blacks, sails and striped marlin were a few good mahi mahi in the 10kg to 12kg class, and even the odd cobia closer to the shore. All in all, when the water s blue and pushing hard on the coast you can expect some fun and games just off Trial Bay Jail.

Another welcome annual visitor to SWR is the spotted mackerel and late in January they hit with a vengeance. Most of the fish are 1.5kg to 2.5kg but there s a few 5kg to 6kg models poking about. Surprisingly, considering the number of longliners raping the area, there are actually a good numbers of slimy mackerel in Trial Bay, and they re even the perfect size for the macks.

You can expect the average size of the macks to increase as the season progresses, with the thumpers in the 6kg to 10kg class usually showing in late April and early May. After last year’s dismal show of spotted mackerel it’s a huge relief to have any fish show up!

Fish Rock and Black Rock are housing a few kings to 10kg plus a few jewfish around the moon. Most of the kings are rats, but there are a few bigger lads if you troll some bigger baits around. You can probably add wahoo to the Fish Rock scene soon and hopefully some Spaniards at Black Rock.

The Macleay River is going pretty well at present with some stud flathead bitting from Jerseyville downstream, particularly around the deeper rock walls close to the mouth. Add some nice school jew up to 8kg and you can have some fun in the lower reaches using live baits and larger soft plastic lures such as those produced by Storm.

Bream are also fishing quite well, mainly up around the oyster leases and smaller creeks like Clybucca. Fish the tidal change around low tide with minnow and small soft plastic lures and you should score some reasonable fish.

Summer to many anglers means bass and this season has seen most bass fishos very happy indeed. I’ve somehow found some time to chase my old mates above Kempsey with most trips producing 10 to 25 fish, virtually all on surface lures. Some nice fish up to 1.4kg have been caught and released. If you like your bassing, head up and enjoy the good run of fish we’re having.



The Jail Ground reefs are home to black marlin, a few stripes and some sailfish. Here Rob Powell looks for the gimbal slot as a 50kg black hits the afterburners.


Todd Fisher with a popper-munching bass. This season has been a blinder for bass above Kempsey, so head up there before the weather cools again.

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