Easter is always the traditional start to the bream season for most bream fishos on the Clarence and with the lower reaches of the river fishing exceptionally well now it is shaping up to be a good season.
With many large schools of baitfish like herring and small pillies in the lower reaches the bream fishing has been consistently improving. Fishos using live herring have been reporting good bream between 600g and a kilo while fishing the walls and Browns Rocks.
Those working the headlands have had the best of the big bream so far with fish to 1.5kg starting to become common. The lure fishos have been into the action as well with a variety of lures starting to work. Most successful lures so far are the 3” Berkeley Gulp Minnow stickbait and the new Shipton Ecoproducts Clionext range.
Most mackerel fishos are extremely happy. This year has turned out to be the best for at least the past five years and is promising to get even better. With the water off the coast reaching 26° some days and lots of big schools of bait visiting our area I expect to see a good run of Spanish mackerel continue. So far we have had many good Spanish to 24kg.
April and May are the traditional months for big mackerel but in the past few years they just have not been here in numbers; this year is shaping up to be much better. Best method is to anchor on the mackerel grounds and use big live bait like tailor, bonito, slimy mackerel and sea gar. Or you can slow troll the same big live bait or a well-rigged dead bait.
Remember to use good quality wire trace when chasing these fish, as they will find every weakness in your tackle. There has also been a consistent by-catch of quality cobia, snapper and even more small marlin so be prepared.
Those fishing the deep rock walls in the lower reaches have had a steady run of flathead over 4kg with some fish to 8kg. Live herring and mullet are the top baits for big fish. Best time is the slack tide on the low or high or find a good eddy on any break in the walls.
Remember, if you are taking photos and then releasing your fish, you must support the weight of a large flathead at all times. Don’t hold them by the gills as the body weight causes major damage to the fish and it will die soon after release.
Use a glove on one hand to hold the mouth and support the body weight under the belly of the fish with your other hand. Those fishos chasing smaller and tastier flathead will find good fish between the Harwood Bridge and the Broadwater.
The northern bluefin tuna season so far has been as good as it gets with some of the best catches of recent years. The strong push of tropical water down the coast has brought many large schools of northern blues to the Iluka breakwall. Spanish mackerel are also being taken by those using wire trace and live bait.
For those who like throwing poppers at the tuna it has been a good year with some mornings producing three or four hook-ups. You know where I am going as soon as I finish this report – yep, out the wall with my popper rod.
That big daytime high tide is now starting to taper off and the night high tide is beginning to build, which means more night fishing and bigger jewfish in the river. As April approaches so does the start of many nights fishing the T-piece on Yamba Wall, Collis Wall, the Turkeys Nest and Middle Wall in the hope of hooking a big jewfish. Best baits in these areas are live mullet and the best lures are any large, shallow-diving hard-body minnows.
The average fish in these areas usually goes 15kg but fish up to 25kg or 30kg can be caught. Remember, you must fish the slack high tide for best results.Reads: 1998