I wrote last month that the offshore pelagic scene had been pretty hot and reminiscent of years gone by and apart from a little fading around the edges, the marlin and tuna are still creating excitement off the mainland of the Mid North Coast.
Some of the captures in recent times have been fish like the 55kg yellowfin that Paul Xasisa landed – along with four or so billfish hook-ups in the one day. Mark McDonagh accounted for a 17kg kingfish and there has been plenty of other offshore action with continued (though slowing) mahi mahi schools.
Night fishing near The Pinnacle and Latitude Rock has produced some jew and snapper action with the water column hotting up through the day with bonito, small kings and some size tailor.
The tailor and bonnies are also making good appearances on the rocks with bags for the spinning brigade a welcome sight. The tailor are up to a kilo and it is good to see fish of this size early in the run. The blackfish are piling up around the washes, too, and it is likely that potholing anglers will encounter fat spawners, especially after dark.
Rumours of northern bluefin tuna are surfacing and given the early offshore season, it would be easy to call April as the start of a good bluefin run this year. With bonnies, tailor and other baitfish hugging the coastal fringe it’s a near certainty that the bluefin and cobia are just waiting for a bait to be swum out into the current lines off the rocks.
There has been some action on the beaches, as you would expect this time of year. The tailor schools are haunting the gutters with some jew and whaler shark action in close proximity.
The hole at the north end of Janies Corner has held some nice-sized bream and tailor while the rock washes and back of the beach have been full of salmon, tailor and travelling blackfish.
Worm baits for the dart, bream and school jew are good while fish flesh like pilchards, gars and mullet strips will account for the tailor and salmon.
In a bit of southerly weather, when everything else seems unfishable, it is worth remembering that Shelley Beach down at Boomerang can go off. A mate last month was witness to the carnage of baitfish from the air and water but was working at the time and with no rods in sight.
There is plenty of good fishing in the lake this month with the crabs, bream, flathead and whiting all fairly abundant. The whiting should be over the whole spawning thing by now and should have lost the black cheeks and fighting instinct.
Fish the deeper channels for the larger specimens and remember the 27cm legal length on sand whiting. Yabbies and worms are the obvious bait choices and if you need a bit of a challenge try a 2” grub-type soft plastic or the new yabby soft plastic from Storm. I haven’t tried mine yet but they look great.
Bream around the leases in the lower section of the lake have been elusive and spooky so if you’re bait fishing, anchor well away and drift your bait in. As for the lure-tossers, long casts are the only sure way to present to fish that aren’t hightailing it away from a boat.
Deeper leases, like the floaters behind Regatta Island’s eastern side, have still had a bit of surface action on them and are well worth a fish.
Another spot that is worth a look is the western side of Yahoo Island around the edge of the weed fringe. Berkley Gulp Minnows in black shad or smelt have worked well here in the past and can produce some nice fish.
The Wallamba River snags have fished well and I imagine will get more than their fair share of attention in next month’s Megabucks to be held at Forster. I love surface action and casting lightly weighted Bass Minnows around the heavy cover. You may not get as many fish as among the racks but the scenery is a lot better.
With the spasmodic storms and rain periods in the upper catchments the river levels have been up and down lately. The Wallamba has the roadworks going on around it with a water pump down on the crossing. The bass have been ordinary in this section with no numbers or size fish caught. This may be a direct result of the fish kill a couple of years ago and studies to take the crossing out will, I hope, benefit the fish – they need all the help they can get.
The Manning River is still the healthy length of water it always is and the fluctuating river levels only serve to make the new-season fishing that much better. I’ll give you a full report next month as the lads and I are doing a three-night trek over 50km before next deadline.
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Big flatties are still lurking in the channels and flats if you want to tangle with them on lures or bait. Brian Everingham caught this stud 3.5kg model over a weed bed with a hard-body lure.
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Mark McDonagh with a 17kg kingfish caught off Seal Rock on a live bait. At this size they put up a great fight and never give in – nor do the fish!
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Paul Xasisa with a 55kg yellowfin from near the continental shelf. It has been a while since ’fin of this size have been within reach of the trailer boater. Here's hoping the season only gets better.Reads: 540