A delightful dilemma
  |  First Published: May 2003

No matter whether you fish the estuaries, beaches, rocks or offshore, it’s a delightful dilemma what to chase around here at the moment.

Tailor have been the big movers in the past month, with metal-tossers and pillie-flingers scoring well from Brunswick Heads to Evans Head. Some days the beaches have been better, while the rocks have been the place to be at other times.

Most of the better beach formations have worked well at high tide, particularly when offshore winds have flattened the seas enough to allow the tailor to chase the bait in close. Good catches have been taken from Black Rock in Byron Bay, Tallow Beach and Seven Mile Beach, Angels Beach and South Ballina Beach, while Boundary Creek and Airforce Beach have also turned up good hauls.

Successful rock platforms have included those on Cape Byron, Broken Head, Lennox Point, Skennars Head, Black Head, both Ballina walls and Evans Headland. The better fish seem to be biting in the afternoons and on into the night but dawn outing have also been productive.

It’s also a good time for a sunset jewie excursion from similar rock and beach venues and the bream are also going great guns. The lower Richmond has been fishing well for bream to around a kilo on bait and lures and is improving daily as the fish gather for spawning. Not long ago I was about to lift a kilo bream from the water when a jewie around 20kg swallowed it! With a locked-up drag and 6lb leader, it was all over in seconds for the bream and for me.

Blackfish are also starting to improve, with the odd school already deciding to take up residence in the Richmond, so the Porpoise Wall Gap and the southern Prospect Bridge approach in North Creek should be worth a look. And when there’s a bit of a roll outside, the walls at Ballina and Evans Head come into their own as the fish seek shelter and a bit of tucker in the stirred-up water.

Offshore mixture

Offshore, anything can still happen, with spotted mackerel feasting on the bait schools as they head back north. The late run of fish are normally of a better size, with a shot at fish to 8kg or even 10kg at times. The late Spaniards are also of a better calibre and it doesn’t hurt to try just at the back of the breakers for these big models, which are partial to knocking off travelling mullet.

Snapper, too, are a fair prospect this month as they head inshore to take part in the general melee. As the weather cools they tend to grub in the shallow reefy areas for a variety of food, including a number of species of segmented worms. Believe me, you’ll know it if you gut a snapper that’s been feeding on bristle worms – the fine hairs will stick in your hands for days afterwards, painful reminders of your catch.

And to top everything off, there are still some quality bass available in the rivers as they head downstream to spawn. This is really the last chance to have a decent crack at them until August, so make the most of this time.

What more could you ask for?


NSWFM Yamba writer Glen Porter with a late-season bass that took one of his Dahlberg flies.

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