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No excuses…
  |  First Published: March 2003



There is really no excuse for anyone to come home without a feed of fish, prawns or crabs over the next month.

The lake, estuaries and offshore have been fishing well and March is the start of the Autumn – the best season of all.

Some big bream and flathead have been taken in the lake’s lower reaches, while the blue swimmer crabs have been around in good numbers. One word of advice with the crab nets is to check the float rope for fatigue.

If the nets have been lying round the yard or anywhere in prolonged sunlight, the nylon mesh or float rope may be weak. Hauling a hoop full of blue swimmers to the boat, only to have the rope snap and the lot sink out of reach, can be disheartening.

Also make sure all your floats are marked and no excess rope is floating on the surface. The easiest way to weight the rope is with a sinker or a strip of old lead flashing coiled around the rope. In fast current it is also worthwhile to wrap some lead around the hoop itself to ensure it doesn’t tumble along the bottom or drift away.

Lake

Apart from the blue swimmer crabs in the lake, there has been an abundance of sand whiting and some good flathead in and around the sand and mud flats and islands. Big garfish are still haunting the currents and can be encouraged with a little bread berley. Anyone wanting to stock up on prime tailor baits, now is the time to do it.

There are plenty of flathead around and some monsters among them. A drifted live poddy mullet is probably the best way to cover a lot of ground but for those wanting a big lizard on a lure, it is only a matter of visually pegging out some likely water and systematically casting over it. The best lures to use would be shads like the 85mm Squidgy Fish or 1/4oz DOA Shrimps. Keep the lure near the bottom and you are in with a chance.

The big bream just keep lining up for a crack at snatching a lure or two. Recently I took Greg Catt, from Feral Catt Lures, out in the lake and he managed a few good fish before being summarily smashed by a huge fish. Chris Daly suffered the same fate, not once but twice. If I could only describe his shocked expression – it was funny. All the fish were of the unstoppable type – or 50lb leader and 20lb baitcaster maybe fish.

The upper salty reaches of the Coolongolook and Wallamba rivers have fished well for bream and the occasional flathead on soft plastic. Some bream are in the 700g range and late afternoons have been taking fizzers and surface lures such as the Taylormade Basscadas.

Offshore

With warmer water spotting along the coast, it is good to see some decent fish coming in. Lloyd Campbell and the boys went wide a while back and while they raised and hooked a marlin, their ‘bring home’ was a 15kg mahi mahi. A few pearl perch were being cleaned at the Tuncurry tables the other day and when I asked where they were caught, I just received a smile and a shake of the head. It doesn’t hurt to try.

Sand flathead, a few mackerel tuna and some mixed reef fish have accounted for a lot of the catches offshore of late .

On the rocks, mackerel tuna and northern blues are about and some small specimens made an early start. All we need is the schools of bait we had around three years ago and we are in for a bumper LBG season.

Charlottes Head is the best of the platforms, with Flat Rock and Cape Hawke worth a fish. One word of advice: Get in early because I suspect there will be a few guys out to have fun this year. Positions on the rocks may come at a premium.

Freshwater

The Wallamba River above the weir is very weedy and we need a good flush to try to rip some of the stuff out. In spite of the weed, there has been some bass action with fish to 40cm being caught. Many of the fish are in the 30cm bracket but it does make a welcome change to the saltwater scene.

A few of the lads fished the Manning River last month and the fish just went off. The biggest was a 54cm bass, while many others were in the 40cm-plus category. There is still plenty of time to get the bass gear out, so why not give it a go.

Captions:

1

A 15kg dolphin fish or mahi mahi was a good end to a few missed marlin hook-ups off the coast. Things are hotting up and pockets of warm water should bring the fish on.

2

Big lizards are always worth chasing and this 6.1kg fish makes all the effort worthwhile. The author has been sworn to secrecy about the lures, location and the fact that this fish was on the back of a 5.4kg fish a month previously.

3

Greg Catt of Feral Catt Lures, with his best lure-caught bream, a 1.3kg Wallis Lake howler. Just after this fish was released, one of Greg’s lures went MIA to a monster.

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