Don’t be an April fool!
  |  First Published: April 2004

IF YOU don’t get on the water, then you’re an April fool!

I’ve said it before, but April certainly is my favourite month to fish. The scorching sun of Summer has dissipated and the cold of Winter is yet to inflict its bite. The fish are all on the job, with seasonal changes, cooling estuarine waters but a spike of coastal current that still holds some pelagic species. The weather is a tad unsettled with enough gaps to afford plenty of fishing time.

The slight fresh at the end of February has helped to stir things up a little and that is a good thing, considering the patchy season we have had. The fishing has been good one day, then average for a day or so. There have been no real consistent results, with the exception of the flatties.

Some big flathead have been about with a mate landing and releasing a 92cm fish from The Paddocks. Merv Wright was on his own at the time and did well to land, measure and release the fish, but no one to immediately share his capture with. Merv’s neighbour brought home a metre-long flattie and apparently regretted it, suggesting the flesh was coarse. Perhaps it was the hard time Merv gave him for killing such a big female fish...

The fresh should have pushed some bream back into the lower lake from the tributaries and the increased competition will serve to spark up the bream. The whiting of a night have been worth chasing, with one bloke illegally from the bridge into the Tuncurry channel taking a haul of fish on yabbies. All were around 30cm to 35cmand he was fishing the end of the sand spit on a falling tide. He let his bait drift back into the shallows and bob’s your mother’s brother.


It has been a long road this season to find decent fish from the rocks. The fish have not stayed for any length of time and while there were a few reports of kings and bonito, the spin fisho has seen lean times. Neil Baker has spent a few mornings spinning his heart out lately for zero result. Let’s hope this month breaks the drought and we see a few runs on the board like as we used to a few years ago.

One report of an angler spinning the rocks at Booti Booti (Flat Rock) filtered through. He had been devastated by a big king that snaffled his lure. As he watched the take, it was clear to the angler concerned that the fish had already indulged in a couple of Raiders – the evidence was swinging from its jaw. Needless to say, the king claimed another for his lure collection. The good news was that the big fish had an entourage of smaller, more manageable, fish with it.

Very few reports of northern blues from the rocks have surfaced and we are running out of time for it to be a blistering season on the longtails. Hopefully we will see a few pods of big fish over the next two months. The washes have some bream and blackfish floating around but I would like to see some more action from the stones.


Apart from a few mixed bags from the reefs, things have been drifting along with nothing much to write home about. The game boys, and in some of the weather lately you have to be game, have raised a few marlin and a recent 125kg fish was just reward for Lloyd Campbell and the boys, who spent a lot of time (and money) chasing the critters. The fish took Lloyd’s Pakula Pusher but unfortunately it wasn’t Lloyd’s turn on strike.


Oh, what a feeling! To have a big live bait vacuumed up while standing on the breakwall can only mean on thing – a jewie, right? Wrong! The bronze whalers, and even small hammerhead sharks, have been making their appearance felt along the wall.

A friend related the story of a two-metre hammer sniffing around the shallows under the bridge recently. Glad they weren’t around during the school holidays, hey?

The lads and I had a big bronze try to steal a big-eye trevally off the hook in the Manning system about 3km up a tributary, so be careful with your keeper nets hanging over the side of the boat.


As I write, it is too early to predict the movement of the bass in the freshwater. A little more follow-up rain and a significant drop in water temperature and the bass are likely to start moving down stream early.

This will concentrate the fish in the lower sections and bring them on. On a recent trip, before the rain, I experienced something that in almost 30 years of bass fishing I hadn’t encountered: Not a single sign of a fish. The water was so warm that it was difficult to tell if you were actually standing in it. No mullet or herring were moving and there was not even a slurp of bump from a bass. It was a complete shut-down and the late February flush should fix things nicely.
* In competition news, the Croki Cup was taken out by the Green Machine (Trevor Green and his young mate Mitch). It was a hard fought event this year in blistering conditions and there was not a beer in sight. Congratulations to all involved.


They might be good fishos but they’re lousy cameramen! A head shot of a 125kg marlin taken off Forster recently.


Mitch, left, and Greeny with some of their catch that took out the Croki Cup Invitational.


Ross Lamotte presenting Trevor Green with the Croki Cup.

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