This is when I officially start chasing Winter species, not that tailor, drummer and blackfish haven't been there to target throughout the warmer months, but with the advent of cooler currents and a shrinking list of available species, now's the time my Alvey gets a tune up.
I'm not much of a beach tailor fisherman. There's the odd day when the fish are as thick as flies and schooling in a gutter that I may wander down and throw a lure into the frenzy but more often than not it’s a well-positioned rock at the end of the beach where I like to do my tailor spinning.
If I'm using baits such as ganged pillies or garfish I'll use my beach rod, 8kg line and Alvey. These baits are best cast out unweighted and slowly worked back in to the rocks at your feet.
You never quite know what's going to eat a well-worked ganged bait – tailor, kingfish, tuna, jewfish, dusky flathead and even a late-season mackerel will happily take a swipe at these rigs.
If I'm using lures then my big SL50HS overhead and 10’ fast-taper Loomis will get the nod. My lure of choice for tailor, bonito and kingfish has always been the ubiquitous half-by-quarter, a chromed piece of flat bar that I've found works just as well on the North Coast as they did back on the Avoca/Terrigal ledges.
Best tailor haunts in these parts include the Southern Breakwall, Mutton Bird Island, Sawtell Headland, Boambee Headland and Hills Headland.
When chasing pigs, the big 15kg Alvey/overhead combinations works just as well as each other. Lobbing big chunks of lightly weighted cunje seaward will do the trick and provided you've got a consistent wash and a bit of berley, then the big black drummer of the Coffs Coast are nearly always waiting. The best pig ledges include Bundagen Headland, Sawtell Headland, Charlesworth Headland and Korora.
Jewfish are another cool-water target in these parts and now is the time when fresh bait will bring rewards for those fishing the change of tide. High tide is a particularly good time to be targeting jewfish and lobbing long fillets of tailor or mullet seaward will bring rewards.
Beach worms are also a great bait and extra-long 20lb fluorocarbon traces and 5/0 hooks work well on school jew around sunset.
Anglers heading offshore in recent days have reported a mixture of cool- and warm-water pelagics with the mack tuna outnumbering all other species by about 100:1.
There have been spotted mackerel, bluefin tuna and some big Spanish mackerel taking live baits and trolled lures. Now is traditionally the time that the biggest mackerel and tuna are caught, so don't be afraid to send out bigger baits such as tailor, bonito, pike and big slimies.
Offshore anglers have started to get among the samson and kingfish with live baits and big strip baits fed to the bottom on the deeper reefs producing the hook-ups. Coffs is the home of some XOS samsons during Winter so don't be afraid to break out the 24kg tackle because you might just give it a stretch.
Mike Colless fished for bass last weekend and although the water was clearer than he has ever seen it, he still got some good fish to 40cm with soft plastics worked down deep.
Lower down river the bream have been taking plastics around the oyster leases and rock walls with many fish to 35cm being caught and mainly released.
Anglers chasing luderick have been doing well along the breakwalls in the Kalang and Nambucca rivers with fresh cabbage weed the bait of choice.
Now's the month that the mangrove jack and trevally bid us farewell until November, although there's usually the odd jack hook-up through Winter – usually with some unsuspecting poddy/flathead fisherman on the end of the wipe-out.
There's plenty of 4WD beach fishing on offer over Winter and an evening high tide is just about perfect.
There are plenty of bream on the oyster racks over the cooler months in the creeks around Coffs.
Increasing numbers of salmon also pay the Coffs Coast a visit each Winter.Reads: 1167