Cool-water customers
  |  First Published: August 2005

With mackerel and mangrove jack now a distant memory it seems that a wave of cool-water species have taken over the Coffs Coast with luderick, jewfish, bream, tailor, salmon, kingfish and snapper the dominant of species.

Luderick to 1.5kg have been caught in good numbers from the coastal rocks and estuary breakwalls. Where the Kalang and Bellinger rivers that meet the sea at Urunga have been a popular spots with good numbers of fish being caught on cabbage and string weed from the main breakwall and also from the deeper banks near Repton.

The Nambucca River has also been fishing well with the levee wall at the back of the golf course producing plenty of fish.

Having a small boat that can be anchored at both ends is a decided advantage when chasing luderick. Some of the better fishing is found on the rocky groynes that poke out from the more inaccessible island banks.

Many locals also do well fishing the run-out tide at the mouths of many of the smaller creeks such as Bonville, Moonee and Corindi. Shorter drops, a keen eye and a quick hand are needed in the heavy current here.

When chasing these hard-fighting and tasty fish, a well-balanced float, light leader and plenty of sand-and-weed berley should guarantee you some exciting fishing.

On the rocks, the headlands at the Quarry/South Wall, Charlesworth, Moonee and Emerald will produce a better class of fish.

But risking all to catch luderick is too much for me. Instead, like most, I prefer to do my float-gazing in the relative sanctuary of the rivers.


With all the success (and some hype) of chucking soft plastics for bream in the estuaries, it's not hard to forget that there's a whole stack of folk out there that are really successful at catching bream on bait.

Winter is when the best catches of bream can be taken from spots such as the stirred-up water at the base of breakwalls and headlands and from the deeper gutters along beaches.

At night many anglers are successful fishing unweighted baits such as mullet gut/strips and yabbies in the estuary.

Most of the best fishing occurs around structure such as rocky groynes, oyster leases, bridges and rocky kinks in the river. As with luderick, a good berley mixture will improve your chances significantly and for bream, you can't go past a chook pellet and tuna oil mix.

Offshore there are plenty of solid snapper around and it seems that you don't have to venture too far from shore to find them. Dave Rae reports plenty of solid fish to 3kg from the kelp beds in 30 metres of water off Urunga.

There are plenty of legal-sized kings around the inshore islands and deeper headlands and the size of the fish you'll encounter will be reflected in the quality of the bait you present.

For the bigger fish try slow-trolled slimy mackerel, skipping garfish or unweighted fresh squid. Lure anglers casting metals in these same areas will come across rat kings and some solid tailor, salmon and GTs to 2kg.

Speaking of salmon, Mike Colless reported a big, hungry school in the Bellinger River near Mylestrom. He and Russ Williams switched over to poppers, unscrewed drags and had their high-tech bream gear stretched to the limit on some high-flying sambos.

Further out to sea there are mahi mahi around the fish traps and the Coffs FAD as well as schools of yellowfin tuna and the odd striped marlin.

Anglers dropping baits down deep have been getting trag, pearl perch, tusk fish and some mighty big samson fish and the odd king.

On the beaches the fishing has been patchy for tailor, bream and whiting.

For those throwing big plastics around the sandy headlands there have been some willing school jew on the prowl, with fish to 5kg taking lures early and late in the day.

Moonee, Sapphire, Emerald and Hills beaches and their rocky surrounds are the best possies for this sort of fishing luring and if the jew don't co-operate you can always fish for pigs with cunje or keep casting with metals for tailor.

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