Brimful of bream
  |  First Published: August 2003

If there’s one species in very good numbers at present, it’s bream. Most headlands from the Jail to Smoky Cape are home to good numbers of silver bream. So are the beaches around Smoky and in Trial Bay itself, as well as in the lower reaches of the Macleay River.

Actually, it was more a case of good luck than good management that there are terrific numbers of bream at present, because only weeks earlier, local and interstate beach haulers were slaughtering everything with fins that ventured along the local beaches. The timing of the bream run, just after the haulers packed up and headed off, no doubt saved many tonne of silver bream.

While many local anglers have been targeting the bream around the headlands, I’ve been having a ball chasing them in the lower reaches of the Macleay. Bear in mind we haven’t had a decent run of bream in the system for around 10 years, due to beach and estuary netters, so to be able to catch and release 20 to 30 legal-length bream per session on soft plastics is something to sing about. Unfortunately, I can see their numbers being decimated as the weeks go by and they move up out of the rocky, deep water and up into the flats and leases and are able to be netted. Fingers crossed most evade the estuary netters!

A surprising number of big flathead also are from the lower Macleay. Usually we see the big fish become active around Spring so to be consistently catching flathead to 7 kilos in mid-Winter on lures is something different for me.

Blackfish anglers are coming out of the woodwork and scoring some nice fish around Kemps Corner, The Jew Bite and The Wire Fence. All these haunts are in the lower reaches of the Macleay River and usually easily found by the number of elderly chaps along the rocky banks. White Rock (on the northern side of the river near the mouth) is starting to fire also, especially on the last of the run-out tide.

Out to sea, it’s been kings and snapper that have kept the locals busy, with Fish and Black Rock the best bet for the kings and the reefs off Grassy Head and Middle Head for the reds. Last week I fished Fish Rock and ran into good numbers of kings, though most were only just legal size. I moved over to Black Rock and ran into solid fish from 4kg to 12kg, so it pays to move around looking for the best concentrations of fish. Even Green Island has been turning up some reasonable kingfish, and is usually worth a look when heading south.

Those chasing reds had a good run just before last full moon, with most of the fish coming from the 28-metre to 40-metre reef systems off Middle Head and Grassy head. We should see the numbers improve even more as we move into late Winter.

Despite the cold starts, runny noses and numb fingers, there’s some pretty good fishing to be had around SWR during the Winter. Get out there and enjoy it.



Snapper numbers are on the increase on the north reefs. Ian Beesley caught this 2kg model on a bait floated down a berley trail.


There have been plenty of rat kings down at Fish Rock to keep you amused. John Grant broke out his 2 kg flick stick to spice up a good session on small fish.

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