Ready for a change
  |  First Published: March 2003

Already summer is drawing to a close and the hot, dry days we have experienced certainly show no sign of backing off as we slide into Autumn.

Now comes a change in season, when a whole new range of fish come into play and intermingle with many of our Summer species. Talk about a great time to be out wetting a line – and too bad I have been pinned down at work for the next few months!

Lately anglers working their tails off for a feed. Reports of good numbers of blackfish in the Point Plomer region have filtered through, with local anglers tucking some fine bronzies into the keeper nets.

School jews have been fairly responsive with good numbers of schoolies from the stones and the myriad gutters on our beaches.

Red weed definitely remained a problem over the warmer months with many areas choked with the awful menace. It gets on line in seconds, chokes bait and clogs sinkers and you can forget about lure fishing

With Autumn now on us, I would expect the rock and beach action to liven a little, with many bread-and-butter species returning to the fold. Good numbers of choppers have already shown up on the rocks and beaches.


Estuary fishos are still enjoying a great season with plenty of action. Flathead remain prevalent right through the system, with good numbers sprinkled in the Maria and Hastings rivers.

The next few years should see a steady improvement in our flathead population, with the pros being shown the door by Fisheries. It's now up to us to set a good example simply by not plundering our stock of fish and thoughtfully managing our fishing futures.

Freezers full of fish are not a smart option any more, with cricket-score catches frequently frowned upon these days. It's up to us now how we want it to be.

Bream-spinners have certainly being getting among the action with some great fish lurking in the many snags that litter our systems. Early-morning sessions have been the go, with constant, nagging afternoon sea breezes making arvo sessions a little bit of a chore. The next month should see the action just getting better and better before the first westerlies arrive, driving fish down our system.

Blue swimmer crabs have been thick, to say the least, with the lower system littered with these tasty morsels. Chasing swimmers with dillies can be a great family experience with the kids keen to get in on the act. Remember to let the berried females go.


Talk of the first Spanish mackerel in our area has finally reached my ears, with a few hitting the deck to the north of Port. The action certainly hasn't being thick but all the indications of a good year ahead are in place. The past few years have certainly been downers with poor mackerel numbers or no-shows.

Cobia, too, have been a little slow in showing up. I wouldn’t be panicking yet, as I'm sure there will be a drastic improvement as the weeks unfold.

A few reasonable snapper have been getting about. Steve Atkins, of Port Macquarie, was fishing floaters over some shallow reef and bagged some solid reds with a real soaker tipping the scales at a healthy 9.5kg. Snapper of this size are a lifetime prize firmly etched in a fisho’s memory.

Bottom-bouncers are still managing to scratch out a feed with currents hampering them a lot of days. Fishing in a screaming current with a house brick for weight certainly isn't my cup of tea and can make for a frustrating day. The many braided lines on the market help a little but still, when that current is screaming it can be a real pain.

Good numbers of mahi mahi are still getting about with trap buoys holding numbers of these pretty fish most days. Dollies provide great light-tackle action, putting in a great fight with a number of leaps to try to gain freedom. They don’t give up when they’re in the boat, either, creating cockpit havoc.

Golden Lure

The Golden Lure Game Fishing Tournament has come and gone once again. As usual, Huey dished up some ordinary conditions for competitors with rough swells and wind encountered.

As always, the event attracted a good number of entrants with competitors travelling big distances to take part. Local entrants fared well, with a number taking out major prizes. Tag and release has become the major part of the comp, rather than catch and kill. There were, however, some fine fish weighed, including mahi mahi, tuna, marlin and shark.

Results: Tag & release 1 U-Wish, PMGFC; 2 Trogan II, PMGFC; 3 Addiction, PMGFC. Capture 1 Mojo, LMGFC; 2 Waverider; 3 Trogan II, PMGFC.

Champion male tag & release Peter MeKechdie, U-Wish; champion male capture Jeff Baker Waverider. Champion lady tag Tracey Cooke, Fishfinder; champion lady capture Donna De Riviere, Carrott's. Champion female tag Wendy Tinker, On Strike; 2 Tammy Kirkby. Junior tag & capture champion Jim Rocchi, Mojo; junior tag champion, Mark Winbank, Skeeta. Heaviest marlin Jim Rocchi, Mojo; heaviest other Jeff Baker, Waverider.


Eddie Studman, of Koolabung Lures, with a nice bream which took a liking to his fizzer in an early-morning bream session.

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