Late mackerel rally
  |  First Published: June 2005

In last month’s report I made mention of the extremely short mackerel run. Well, the apparent end of the run was just a short lull, soon followed by another equally exciting spurt of quality fish.

There was another solid three weeks of action with good-sized spotties biting freely each day. At the time of writing they’re still thick as thieves.

Whether they’re biting by the time you read this is anyone’s guess but don’t be surprised if there are still some good fish around, especially on the Middle and Wide Snook Grounds off Grassy Head.

Those heading south have run into reasonable numbers of kingfish and small cobia. Fish Rock and Black Rock have consistently produced fish, with Black Rock being the pick for the cobia.

These enigmatic northern visitors just seem to turn up at will and leave just as quickly but if you fish live yakkas or slimies on the drift, slow troll or at anchor, chances are you’ll find a taker if you put in the hours.

The kings have been more active at Fish Rock, with some big bruisers mixed in with the rats. Last week I fished there with a mate and got comprehensively flogged using 80lb stand-up tackle. Might try 130lb gear next!

Those chasing snapper on the northern reefs are finding some good fish. Anglers fishing floaters into the evening are producing a better class of fish, with some 5kg models reported.

Some of the better snapper spots are also pretty handy for mackerel, so don’t be too surprised if a few of the floaters get sniped on the drop.

Last month a few keen anglers headed out wide of the Shelf trolling for blue marlin. They raised quite a few, landing two around 160kg. Mixed in with the blues were some top quality yellowfin tuna to 50kg class.

Another mate ventured out a few days later and hooked two monsters, one estimated at around 450kG. Despite dropping the big girl after some awesome jumps boatside, he still managed a few good dollies to 22 kg.

Those fishing along the many rugged headlands between Smoky Cape and the Jail have picked up some quality bream under the mullet schools.

Fishing lightly-weighted cubes of pilchards has brought many a silver bream undone, with the bigger fish coming in once the sun sets.

At this time of year it’s also well worth putting out a bigger bait in the hope of finding a jewfish. With the mullet aggregating around the stones, the jewfish become very active so put out a few bigger baits of fresh squid, mullet or tailor and see what happens.


Back in the Macleay River, jewfish and big flathead have become active again, perhaps fired up by the start of the mullet run.

Some of the best fish have been caught below Jerseyville Bridge and Kemps Corner, with live mullet being a proven winner.

Bream numbers are also on the increase in the lower reaches with good numbers being caught once the sun goes down.

Bass anglers are still picking up a few good fish in the freshwater reaches of the Macleay but with the water cooling it may be time to start looking a little closer to the brackish zone.

This time of year anywhere from Kempsey to Smithtown will produce fish; it’s all a matter of finding the areas of holding the best populations of baitfish.

With bass we’re talking any bait small enough to fit in their mouths, but they do like prawns and herring. A good sounder will soon find the bait and places to start looking are river junctions and deep rock walls.

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