Rockin’ good times
  |  First Published: July 2005

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: The Mid North Coast Rocks.

This region is a great place to live when you consider the fishing available in such a small area. The rock fishing for bluefin, mackerel tuna, the odd cobia and heaps of other target species has been sustained and is turning on a memorable season.

It follows a terrific game season and plenty of bait movement along the coast. Travellers like bream, tailor and blackfish have been around lately in volume and I hope this is a sign of things to come.

As this month drags on with its cold days and colder nights, there is a fair bet that many anglers will curtail their fishing activities a little. As for the rest of us, it just means more space to fish uninterrupted at our chosen spots.

Pigs and blackfish from the rocks will be the focus for many over the next couple of months, with stud tailor and salmon also lurking in the washes.

Spinning the washes with surface poppers or metal slugs will produce action and there is nothing quite as spectacular as a school of salmon shouldering one another out of the way to smash your popper. Baits of pilchards or gars rigged on ganged hooks and floated on the wash line are the easy option and will also attract the odd big bream.

Other predators are in after the rafts of garfish and other baitfish that are still fairly thick. Something we haven’t seen for a few years, longtail tuna blowing up under the Tuncurry side of the bridge, happened during the BREAM Megabucks and a few times since.

The lads fishing Bennetts Head have been taking full advantage of the close-contact bait-vs-blues contest and have pulled fish to 10kg. Mackerel tuna have warmed the hearts of the high-speed spinners with fish to 6kg landed in areas like Booti and Cape Hawke.

The fishing has been pretty good from the rocks because I’ve had reports that our eternal optimist, Neil Baker, has even cracked a smile while recounting his spin sessions.

Offshore, things have been fair with some trag and pinkies coming off areas like Snapper Rock, Blackhead and around Latitude Rock.

Sand flathead and mixed reef species including the odd pearl perch have also come to the table. The weather during Winter should provide plenty of good, settled days to venture out wide to the scattered reefs.


The lake has a tonne of good-sized leatherjackets feasting on whatever they can find, especially soft plastics. Hardy baits like squid will be taken readily and around lease structure or deep-water weedy drop-offs are prime areas on which to concentrate.

The eastern side of Wallis Island, south of the landing strip wharf, has always been a good spot, as are the many lease poles and snags in the lower section of the lake.

While jackets are not a prestige fish, they are great table fare. Skinned and shallow-fried with a little butter the meat just falls of the bone and they are underrated by many.

The Tuncurry Channel has been plagued with 20cm chopper tailor over the past few weeks and if you can get a bait under the school there are some healthy bream down deep.

The blackfish anglers have had a stuttering beginning to the blackfish run in the lake with freshes and dirty water mixing it up.

I know it may not have seemed like it at the time but the dirty-water freshes we had earlier in the year will provide a bumper season come late Winter and Spring. It is the natural cycle of the coastal area and with some luck, our weather pattern has reverted to normal.


Late afternoon sessions on the beaches are a popular and productive way to relax. The early evening can get pretty cold but the reward of salmon, tailor and bream make it all worthwhile.

Seamo15 July 05

The author with a 55cm river bass. Some of the best river bass fishing can be had during Winter, starting this month, in the lower sections of the rivers.

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