River set up for Spring
  |  First Published: September 2005

With the Clarence River getting a good flush-out in early July, the start to the Spring season is looking good with early reports of flathead, snapper and jew on the chew.

But the exciting news is that every local bass fisho I have spoken to lately has already got their gear ready in anticipation of a good season ahead. Most fishos are planning to get off to an early start this year, hoping that the bass will be farther downstream than in previous years.

With Spring on our door step now, you can expect the flathead bite to only get better now, with the usual spots like Harwood and the Broadwater the first to fire up.

If you intend fishing the Broadwater, remember to beat the wind as the flathead usually go of the bite and head for deeper water once the wind picks up and stirs up the muddy bottom. Drifting with bait, casting soft plastic lures or trolling with hard-body lures all work well in this area so fish with what you are comfortable with.

Those preferring to fish the deeper water on the run-out tide will find Maclean and Harwood the pick of the spots with bait or soft plastics.

This year the snapper fishing has been relatively good with boats coming home with quality bags most trips. Now we should start to see those big snapper up to 10kg making their way onto the shallow reefs north and south of the Clarence.

With the soft plastic lure craze taking over for snapper fishing, now is the best time to be out there with all those fish in close.

For those who have not yet given it a go, it’s just like bream fishing but with all your gear upsized. I use a Samurai 006 rod with a Quantum Boca 30 reel spooled with 8lb Fireline and a 10lb to 30lb leader. This is the same gear I use for my jew fishing, which means you do not need to buy a special outfit just to chase snapper.


The big fresh certainly got the jew on the chew with many quality fish caught. The best was a 32kg specimen taken by Chris Duduck from The Bluff on a big minnow. Many other fish over 20kg were also taken with most of the local lure fishos having some of the best jew fishing for some time.

But it was not just the big ones on the bite, with the river firing up for school jew. The soft plastic fishos got the best of it through the day and at night the bait fishos got their chance with reports of big catches around the Oyster Channel Bridge and the Middle Wall.

The other hot spots this time of year are Browns Rocks, The Skids, The Barges and Collis Wall.

But if you want those big ones then you need to fish the headlands or the main breakwalls.

There have been some fantastic catches of big greenback tailor lately with large red and white poppers accounting for the majority of them. The headlands have had the best action around low tide.

On the beaches, strips of bonito are a must for the chance to hook a big tailor. Back Beach at Iluka is the hot spot at this time of year. Those wanting to catch tailor and jew need to try Shiptons knottable wire, as many of the local fishos are very happy with the results they have got this year.


Luderick fishos have had one of the best years for a long time with most of the walls in the lower reaches of the overflowing with anglers. For those who could not get up early enough, it did not matter as the North Arm produced some of the best fishing this year with black weed and deep-water snags the secret.

Those who found these fish definitely had the best of the fishing with late morning starts and no crowds.

The bream fishing is starting to slow down very fast now as the fish move off their spawning grounds.

Now is the time to start searching up-river but watch out for the bass, as they are generally found in the same areas this time of year.

Along the beaches good bream can still be found but the size of the fish will start to drop off now.

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