Better times ahead
  |  First Published: September 2008

After six months of what amounted to pretty ordinary weather, things are finally looking up.

A fair chunk of our snapper season was blown (and washed) out but now the water has cleared and the wind has backed off to leave most of the popular inshore reef haunts with an almost-untouched feel about them.

The soft plastic fishos are having a ball with reds under 5kg hardly worth a mention.

Everything seems to be running a bit behind this season with some good pearl perch and trag still sitting in very close. Usually the pearlies are heading for deeper water by now.

As long as good weather stays with us, the run of inshore reds should continue right through September.

There does not seem to be a defined season for cobia over the past few seasons and the winter fishing for them just gets better each year off the Clarence coast.

Many attribute it to the increasing amount of whale activity we are seeing every year. Maybe there is some truth in it, too, as some big cobes caught recently were hooked as whales passed close by. Possibly some big rays were also in the convoy and everyone knows about the close relationship between mantas and cobia.


Even the Clarence River is running a couple of months behind schedule.

Normally the winter flathead run kicks off around Maclean a week or so after the full moon in May and tapers off in August. This year the lizards only started to hit their straps in August.

September should see the end of any prawns moving so I expect to see the best of the flathead fishing on the flats. The water is at its coldest by then and they love to bask in that shallow water.

The resident bream will start to head back into the tributaries from their winter feeding grounds lower in the system. This is one of my favourite times for chasing them, back in the snags, where you can tempt them out with small hardbodies and surface lures.


Early September in the Clarence valley really does have a spring feel to it. By now we are starting to get the odd afternoon thunderstorm and when I see little hatches of bugs dancing outside the kitchen window in the late afternoon, only one thing comes to mind (or two, if you include closing the window!) – bass.

The only thing that has helped to keep me sane through all the bad weather is the knowledge that winter rain on the Clarence means plenty of bass made their way down to spawn and will be migrating back upstream with very empty bellies and looking for a feed and hopefully my lure.

Most years the bass fishing throughout the Clarence catchment is quite frankly overrated. After wet winters, though, when all those landlocked beasties get to do what Mother Nature intended, this is the time when those almost mythical 50cm-plus wild river bass come out to play.

• For more info or advice call in and see us at Big River Bait & tackle, 16 River St Maclean or call 02 6645 1834.

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