Fattening up for winter
  |  First Published: March 2005

This month can generally dish up remarkable results using interesting methods.

Getting towards the end of the Summer, many species are active and ready as they try to fatten up for Winter. Bream, bass, trevally, whiting and mangrove jacks will still be the pick of the bunch in the rivers and creeks.

Bream fishing should pick up in March, with some good catches recorded on the Tweed River last month. This will continue with the pick bait being live prawns.

Prawns are not a bait easily captured locally but a few hours of preparation on a quiet, dark night armed with a torch and net around a shallow, weedy should deliver. Fish this bait lightly with a long trace if you wish to work the bottom.

All major bridges should produce quality fish, especially at night. If prawns aren’t easy to find, try the good old baits like fresh-cut mullet, gar or gut. If bream don’t seem interested in these baits they aren’t there.

With some big tides on the way, it’s a good time to target big trevally down near the river mouth. Prime spots include the entrance to Jack Evans Boat Harbour, around the channel indicators close to the Air Sea Rescue HQ and around the Blue Hole.

The best trevally method, proven over and again, is high-speed jigging – great fun.

A single-tailed grub or Atomic 3” paddletail on 4kg to 8kg line and a medium-action spin out fit will do the job.

Allow the lure to sink to the bottom. Brace yourself, and explode into a jig-’n’-wind action, lifting the lure towards the surface. Trevally will strike with gusto, so hang on for the ride.

Deep water is needed for vertical jigging, otherwise a slightly longer cast will be fine. Other lures like poppers, chrome slices or live bait will also nail ’em.

Mangrove Jacks will still fire after unbelievable February action. Generally best results come from deeper water around rock bars and walls. Surface action should be slow.

Get your big gear out. Set some live bait just before rigging up 15kg to 24kg line onto 30kg to 35kg mono leader and get ready for some well-toned, heavy, big jacks to snap.

All bridges, especially the bypass bridge, Chinderah bridge and the one at Cobaki are all prime spots to live-bait at night.

If you’re looking to drift around for a lazy flattie, whiting or bream, head up river. Try up around Tumbulgum, down to Chinderah or in the lakes around West Tweed. Keep the yabbies well presented at all times because worn-out bait will never fish as well as fresh, fighting ones.


If you enjoy the tranquillity of the creeks then be ready and armed this March as nice sized bass continue to feed. The small creeks around Piggabeen, Bilambil and upper reaches of Cudgen Creek have been all producing fish.

These bass are taking all types of lures, especially small plastic shads, spinnerbaits and the occasional smash on the surface. Quite a lot of lures have been lost to jacks lurking among the bass.

If fishing with a mate it might pay to use different strengths of outfits, one for bass and the other ready for a potential strike from a big creek jack.

Be there early in the morning or late when the shadows are on the water. If you like your creek fishing, you will like March. Try something new this month – it might surprise you!

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