Plenty of river options
  |  First Published: May 2005

The heat may well be out of the weather but it’s not necessarily missing from the fishing action.

It’s time to put your mangrove jack outfit away and pick up lighter spin gear to target bream, trevally, tailor, flathead, jewfish and gar.

The Tweed River should really fire and the main target species will be quality Bream. The best time is at night or early mornings in the lower reaches around the cotton trees near the hospital and downstream to both bridges. This area will give you the best chance to pick up a travelling blue nose as they wander in to spawn.

For visual excitement on a large tide, try small surface poppers and fizzers early in the morning. Cast in tight to structure because some big bream will lurk in and around the rocks to feed. A slowly retrieved popper will generally excite them even when soft plastics might be a bit slow.

After sun-up, try a live bait in deeper water as the bigger ones retreat away from light and river traffic. Judging by the number of herring in the system of late, such a bait will surely pick up a feed.

Carry a bait jig and check around the bridges and places where an eddy might form – the herring shouldn’t be too far away.

Flathead should continue to show in numbers around Cobaki Lake and the Terranora Broadwater. Both locations have many islands, drop-offs and sand banks that attract flatties.

Most tides produce fish but the early part of the run in seems to be the go. As the water floods, the flathead seem to creep up the banks or wait on the turbulent side of a drop-off to ambush unsuspecting prey.

Tossing plastics or retrieving a fresh bait imitating natural movement are sure-fire ways to achieve a feed. If you do take a feed, check the fishes’ innards to see what they have eaten earlier. On your next session try matching your bait or plastic to the fodder found.

If keeping an eye on a float excites you, blackfish start to show in more numbers this month. Depending on bait accessibility, blackfish should be found around the bridge pylons, rock walls and reefs. If possible, try a range of baits or weed; sometimes they will bite on only a certain variety of weed.

The last of the run out seems to be a good tide around the pylons but I have witnessed good catches on all tides. Basically, go fishing when you can!

Garfish can be a load of fun to catch. These fish take some art to catch but can be found in numbers on a high tide over a quiet weed bed.

Berley them up first with some bread. Fish with a small hook, 15cm to 20cm of trace under a small float and you’re ready for some fun. Use small pieces of yabby or prawn – gar attack both baits with equal relish.


There’s been plenty of action offshore recently and this should continue into May. Topping the list will be the major pelagic species like mackerel and tuna. Palm Beach Reef has been fishing unbelievably well this year and should continue so.

Out at the Nine Mile, mackerel and some big yellowfin tuna have been smashing with gusto skirted lures trolled around nine knots.

A live yakka or slimy mackerel or a dead blue pilchard can reap rewards as well.

The possibility of being thumped by an amberjack will keep you on your toes in May. Try wider around the 30 to 50 fathom lines for greater results.

Bottom-bashers will have best results around the 24-fathom line; any farther out you may encounter strong currents that make such an area hard to fish. Keep your options open and pack everything from pillies to plastics – you never know what you may encounter.

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