Cool and clear for a while yet
  |  First Published: October 2004

ALTHOUGH Spring seems to be well and truly with us as far as air temperature and the birds and bees are concerned, it will be a while yet before the water warms up and the milky water speedsters and tackle destroyers arrive. Coffs-based anglers can’t complain too much about this lack of synchronisation between air and water temperature, however. The warmest water is always to be found in late Autumn, and even into the depths of Winter there are days when the water is over 20 degrees and species such as mackerel and marlin abound.

Offshore anglers seem to be faring best in the clear and sunny conditions with pearl perch to 2.5kg, snapper to 8kg, kingfish to 16kg, samsonfish to 9kg, jewfish to 12kg and trag to 4kg. Dale ‘The Whale’ Graham has been making the most of the calm conditions by heading towards the 100-metre mark in his bass boat, and he reports there are plenty of plate-sized snapper and pearlies on offer for those wanting to plumb-bomb the depths with dropper rigs and cut pilchard or yellowtail baits. For those fishing wider, the only downside is the massive quantity of leatherjackets that will bite off everything you send down, including the sinker.

Anglers fishing the shallow reefs have been struggling with clear water, lack of current and hungry schools of yellowtail, which seem to be enjoying a predator-free existence. For those anglers who persevere with larger floater baits in the shallow water there still are some big snapper on the prowl, as well as salmon and tailor to 3kg.

Hard against the rocks along the inside of the washes around the Solitary Islands are the best areas to throw and troll lures for tailor and kingfish, while anglers trolling the outer edge of the wash line have been hooking mackerel tuna and bonito.

Anglers fishing the coastal headlands and breakwalls have been getting amongst the tailor, bream and jewfish on bait and lures. Fishing just on dark is the best period for lure fishing, with metal slugs catching tailor and large soft plastics catching jewfish. There have been plenty of jew over the sand, with baits of cut fish and squid working well on the tide changes. The best jewfish over the last few weeks have been between 10kg and 12kg, and most have come an hour or so after high tide.

The rocks around Charlesworth Headland have produced some big black drummer while Korora, Sapphire, Moonee and Emerald headlands have been the pick of the tailor and jewfish possies. The easiest (and usually safest) spot to target bream and tailor is the Southern Breakwall. Here anglers can find a comfortable boulder to soak a bait or cast a lure. Although the main mullet run is over there are still sizeable schools of smaller mullet hanging around most headlands. These fish have been attracting big tailor and jewfish to the inshore washes, and as a bait they’re worth targeting using bread under bubble floats.

The entrances to the smaller waterways at Bonville, Boambee, Corindi, Moonee and Deep creeks have been fishing well for whiting on yabbies, while luderick have been taking cabbage baits on the first half of the run-out tide.

Bream lurers have been reporting good catches around the leases on the Nambucca and Bellinger rivers while the Kalang has been fishing poorly due to large amounts of brown, slimy weed that’s been clogging up the system at all stages of the tide. Mike Colless has found that the upstream river stretches, with their fallen and overhanging trees, have been producing the best bream luring, with flathead, trevally and the odd bass getting in on the act.

Over the next month bream will take deep plastics, hard-bodied shallow divers and rubber surface poppers. Bass are still on the move with large congregations of fish hard to pinpoint. The best fishing is in the full fresh with careful daytime luring using soft plastics, and after dark chugging with surface lures.


1a, 1b & INSET 1c.

The same headland with different swell conditions. Both days produced fish.


Mike Colless hooked up to a bream behind the oyster shelling co-op.

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