We’ve been waiting for this!
  |  First Published: April 2004

THIS is the time of year that many anglers living on the North Coast have been waiting for.

The waters is as warm as it’s going to get and usually full of all sorts of exciting tropical and temperate species. It’s the time of year where you can chase anything from bass to billfish and fully expect success. Basically, if you can’t find a co-operative fish or two this month, you may have to take up golf.

Over the past six weeks I’ve pretty well mainly chased billfish. I figure they’re usually around for only two months or so on the Jail Grounds, so heading out every second day to enjoy the action is well-founded.

And has there been some action! Most days have produced one to three fish with a few red-hot periods seeing up to eight or nine billfish taken per boat. And when you throw in the odd cobia up to 20kg, some big mahi mahi, hammerheads, bull sharks and the occasional wahoo bite-off, you stand a pretty good chance of having an action- packed day.

Exactly how long the good bite will continue is anyone’s guess. I suspect perhaps only a few weeks or so as we edge closer to Winter so enjoy it while it lasts.

There’s not a true North Coast trailer boat fisho not eagerly awaiting the annual run of spotted mackerel. So far, this season has been a shocker with the fish biting for only one or two days for the whole season. Quite simply, they just haven’t been there due to a lack of Summer currents, which usually bring the fish down. Hopefully by the time you read this the situation has changed but as it stands, it looks pretty bleak at Scrubby Creek.

As usual at SWR, when one species is not co-operating, another is. Snapper have filled the void for anglers heading north looking for spotties, and those fishing the afternoon bite are really producing the goods.

I’ve found snapper fishing far more productive late in the evening and it’s usually just a case of setting up a good berley trail and fishing lightly-weighted baits for success. The hardest thing is usually finding a nice, calm afternoon in which to head up to the reefs off Grassy Head.

Big boats are fine in a little chop, but I can tell you it’s no fun in a 4.5-metre tinnie. Thankfully, April is perhaps the calmest time of the year on the North Coast so you should be able to find a decent evening in which to try your luck.

With the lack of current, the resident kings at Fish Rock and Black Rock are playing hardball. I’ve been down a few times recently and have been lucky to pick up a few under-sized fish. I’ve actually seen a few bigger fish chasing sauries near Black Rock, but getting them to eat anything I had to offer proved impossible. If the current kicks into gear I’m sure both spots will fire up nicely but at the moment save your petrol and head to north or east.

I’ve head of some ripper cobia coming from the Hat Head area recently with one fish going close to 35kg taken on a lure. There’s been a consistent run of 8kg to 10kg fish along the stones, especially down around Hungry Head. Fishing into the evening should produce a few mulloway also, especially with a rising tide just on dark.


The Macleay River has kept many anglers busy with a consistent run of bream both along the walls for the bait fishermen, and up river for those who enjoy throwing small lures around. Mixed in with the bream are some nice dusky flathead, plus a few school jew when fishing the lower reaches.

The bigger mulloway have been a tad quiet with only one 26kg fish caught all month. Hopefully this will all change as I’m going to start fishing the river again with soft plastics – fingers crossed they reappear.

I haven’t spoken to any bass anglers of late but I suspect they’ll be plugging along for the next few months or so. Last time I ventured up for a try there was nearly a carpet of weed clogging the bigger pools and making lure-fishing nearly impossible, but the rains have come and gone since then and the deep pools should be clear and fishable. So if you like your Summer bassin’, head up soon before they quieten down for the Winter.

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