After three bad bream years on the Clarence River we finally have a season to get excited about.
Quality sea bream averaging between 800g and 1kg are about in good numbers along the beaches with the best of the fish showing on the rocky headlands. Fishos chasing these bream from the rocks will find live beach worms, fresh mullet gut and mullet fillets will produce the best results.
Those using lures will find the Berkley Gulp turtle back and the Atomic 6” Finesse Worms are the gun lures in these areas. Last year there were three bream over 2kg mark caught in these areas. This year I expect to see more bream over 2kg taken from the rock with many fish already to 1.8kg.
In the river all the hot spots are now firing for the soft plastic fishos – Yamba Shores Tavern, Middle Wall, the Turkeys Nest, Browns Rocks and Palmers Island. There are many lures worth trying with the most consistent results coming from Berkley Gulps, Power Bait and the Atomic Finesse Worms and Gliders. Those using bait need to find good live herring if they want really big bream. Fresh mullet gut and fillets are also good, especially on those big night tides.
The luderick are also back in good numbers after a few quiet years. This year we have already seen some good early season luderick on the headlands and now they are in the lower reaches of the river in good numbers. The Middle Wall and Collis Wall are the hot spots with the best fish taken on black weed. The secret to these areas is to find what depth the fish are holding and feeding and set your float accordingly.
Those fishing the headlands will find green cabbage best for the big fish with the high tide producing fish between 800g and 1.5kg.
This year has been extremely good for school Jew through the day on soft plastics. Now it’s time to get excited about the big Winter jew that have arrived in the lower reaches.
In previous years fishos who where able to spend time gathering good live bait and anchor on the best spots early had the best possible chance at hooking a big jew.
This year I am going to use all my methods that have been refined over the past two years on school jew to catch big river jew at night on plastics. This means no bait gathering, no anchoring and the ability to cover more spots in one night. End result: More time fishing and no need to finish work early. If I have any success I will give you all the details.
Rockhoppers have had a good run also with many good jew taken on large hard-body lures and feather jigs. They’ve been best on the falling tide in the last hour of daylight and the first couple of hours of dark. The hot spots through Winter are Woody Head, Iluka bluff, Yamba T-Piece and Flat Rock.
This is the month big green back tailor start to run in good numbers along the beaches. If you are using good quality bonito for bait you are giving yourself the best possible chance of catching big tailor. Other quality baits are sea gar and mullet fillets.
The best spot for these big fish is Iluka’s Back Beach with Woody Head to the north and Middle Bluff to the south also holding quality fish than any other beach in the area.
If rockhopping is your game it’s time to prepare your poppers for some serious action. Large poppers, high tide and dull overcast days are what you are looking for when chasing 4kg-plus tailor from the rocks.
Remember to put on a good-sized stinger hook to ensure you stay connected to those big tail-walking tailor. I use a 10/0 hook on a swivel attached to the lure with the same split ring used for the back treble hook.
All those looking for a quality feed of chopper tailor will find pillies and chrome spinners working well through the day. Early morning and late afternoon will produce the best action with Iluka breakwall the best spot for choppers.
On the beaches over the past couple of months big schools of choppers have been on the bite. Shark Bay has been the hot spot with many fishos using chrome from the beaches and following the schools of tailor from gutter to gutter. The twist to this hot bite is that the fish have been biting best between 8am and 3pm, with the middle of the day when the sun is high being best!
It has been a hard year for quality flathead. With two years of drought and flathead the easiest target for many anglers over those years, things might finally have caught up with these fish. Flatties from 40cm to 60cm are becoming harder to find with small fish under 36cm in massive numbers some days.
Those who catch and release flathead over 60cm mark have definitely had the best of the flathead fishing over the past couple of years. The local gun flathead fishos are using only two methods to catch their big flathead. The first is to deep jig live herring along the walls in the lower reaches of the river, the other is to deep jig soft plastic lures like the 4" and 6" Atomic Shad in and the 6"Jerk Minnow or the Berkley 4" Minnow Power Bait.Reads: 2006