All about to happen…
  |  First Published: October 2005

With Summer just around the corner we can expect some good times ahead on the local fishing front.

This time of year we see the more traditional warm-water species like flathead and bass fire up dramatically in the local rivers and creeks. Out to sea, exciting blue-water species like mahi mahi venture down this part of the coast, taking up temporary residence around most things that float and showing a special liking for fish trap floats and those flash yellow buoys Fisheries installed along various parts of the coast.

It’s the beginning of the slow trek south for many northern species and as the season wears on and water temps climb into the low to mid-20°s, glamour species like black and striped marlin inundate the local reef systems.

Hammerhead shark numbers increase daily, usually peaking just prior to the marlin run in January. Next should be spotted and Spanish mackerel, keeping many local and visiting anglers busy through most of late Summer and, if we’re lucky, a run of wahoo will also happen, peaking in mid-March when the water is at it’s warmest.

As you can see there’s plenty about to happen so fingers crossed some good blue water pushes south in the next month or so.

It’s only early days but there’s definitely a bit of movement in the warm-water fish camp.

In the Macleay River the first to become active have been flathead, with some quality fish moving around in the lower reaches. Last week I had flick with the light gear and found a dozen up to 4kg hugging the rugged rock walls.

There seem to be good numbers of smaller fish up on the tidal flats, no doubt soaking up the balmy conditions in the warmer shallows.

Jewfish became active around the last full moon with some quality fish landed. The biggest I heard taken was 33kg which is a fair-dinkum beast well worth skiting about.

Others around 15kg to 18kg were also caught, with reports of some released to fight another day. It’s a pity the shameless spearfishermen who parked their 4WD on the South Wall beach and sneaked around the wall and killed four big jew weren’t so forward-thinking.

Even being clearly reminded by disgruntled wall anglers that their activities are completely illegal didn’t seem to faze them. One even arrogantly said, “Fisheries have got to catch me first!”

If you see anyone spearfishing from the main boat ramp to the river mouth, take down car rego numbers and immediately contact Fisheries on 1800 043 536. If these blokes are hit with a $12000 fine, odds are you won’t see them back decimating big breeding jewfish and flathead.

On a brighter note, up in the freshwater reaches bass have begun to turn it on, enjoying the warmer creek water and smashing the ever-increasing insects.


I seem to have gone fly-crazy again (despite taking my tablets and drinking plenty of water) and have purchased a fancy new 5-weight HLS Nitro Innovator rod for the bass season.

I’ve been busy trying all sorts of bizarre surface flies with rubber legs and bulbous eyes and take great delight making them look as ridiculous as possible. Hopefully by the time you read this I would have christened the new gear. Lets hope for a good Summer run of fish, as the Winter run was a bit sketchy.

Those heading to sea have returned home with some nice kings and snapper. As usual, the kingfish action takes place around Fish Rock and Black Rock, with Fish Rock being the most reliable over the past month.

There have been some good schools of fish there, too, not just dribs and drabs of just-legal rats.

A few weeks back there were mobs of 9kg to 14kg bruisers milling on the top, busting virtually anything that ventured their way. They seemed pretty excited when a wayward school of sauries drifted their way and the kings turned the water to foam with plenty of spectacular surface strikes.

Those sending out big poppers, metal slices and jigs had good results until the fish wised up. Live baits worked when the lure action slowed a tad.

If you’re heading down that way, make sure you take a good mix of lures and livies, just in case they’re playing hardball.

While it’s possible to find good snapper at Fish Rock and Black Rock, most of the action seems to take place on the northern reefs up towards Grassy Head.

There are miles of reef systems from Grassy to Scotts Head, ranging from inshore patches barely 500 metres from the beach to distant bumps and pinnacles 10km out and more.

In between there’s certainly more reef than sand so do some exploring and you may just find a good patch or reef holding numbers of quality fish.

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