Hot times on the river
  |  First Published: October 2005

After such a cold end to Winter, I’ll be welcoming October’s warmth with open arms.

I do most of my fishing in the mornings before work and there were definitely a few days at 5.30am when I questioned my sanity, especially after making my first cast of the morning with no feeling in my fingers.

This is one of my favourite times of the year because most of the ‘Summer’ fish in the rivers really start to fire. For many lure and live-bait anglers this means that they can start chasing mangrove jacks with a much better success rate.

I will be putting in plenty of hours chasing these wily fish. In October I try to fish more from late afternoon until just after dark, as you seem to get slightly warmer water in the arvo than in the morning and this is sometimes enough to trigger the fish into feeding mode.

Trolling deep-divers or working soft plastics down the rock walls and rock bars should bring results but if not, try drifting livies over the same spots and hang on tight.

One of my favourite lures for these fish is the Rapala Shad Rap in orange and gold, but that is a personal preference and most of the popular deep divers will work.

When working rock bars, keep your eyes open for fish busting bait on the surface. Jacks like to do this and are sometimes mistaken for feeding trevally. We managed a few on poppers last year after a fruitless few hours of trolling.

Towards the end of the last jack season I experimented quite a bit with soft plastics and was rewarded with a few good fish, mostly in the latter part of the morning after the usual techniques had been abandoned. I will definitely be using them a lot more this season.

Flathead are also good targets this month. Some of them will still be spawning so make sure that the big ladies are handled with care and released.

You can chase these fish by jigging soft plastics or trolling small minnows. Remember when trolling minnows to try to pick one that dives deep enough to knock the bottom from time to time – flathead really key in on this.

The area behind the hospital produced some really good fish last month and there should still be a few around in October. Flathead between 70cm and 90cm were not uncommon.

Don’t be shy to use big soft plastics with heavy jigheads because the current really rips in the deeper water and you need to keep contact with the bottom. We even went up to 6oz jigs with 150mm Squidgies and were still catching fish around 45cm. Sometimes I wonder how they get these big lures in their gobs.

The flats up around Chinderah and Supercat should also produce a few lizards on the run-out tide. Live baits like herring or poddy mullet will also do the trick in the same areas but if you can’t get your hands on any, try drifting a white pilchard through some of the holes and channels.

There should still be a few bream around this month but whiting will probably become the more popular target. The flats around the piggery, Chinderah and the mouth of Oxley Cove Canal are all good spots to try. Drifting lightly weighted yabbies and worms should bring results.

Tailor will also still be around. Anchoring around the Jack Evans Harbour on the start of the rising in tide and drifting back pillies is a good way to get them. If you are land- based, the usual lead slugs and high-speed spinning off the North Wall will also work

Some good sized trevally are also a welcome by catch when chasing the tailor with slugs.

At the time of writing there were a few jewies being caught on soft plastics and livies. Look around the bridges and any one of the deep holes in the upper reaches. Perseverance is the key word here, so don’t give up after a few hours on the water.

The upper reaches of the Tweed produced some good bass fishing right through September and there should still be a few around in October. The area above the bridge at Murwillumbah was a constant producer.

Flicking small minnows and 2” grubs around the snags seemed to be the best method.


There should still be some good snapper on the inshore grounds and a few pearlies out on the reefs in 50 fathoms and more.

A few cobia started to show up through September on Point Reef and around the Nine Mile. A good way to fish for them is to drift a livie back into a berley trail.

Last year we jigged some really big kings out on the 40s and 50s east of the Tweed and I am really looking forward to getting my arms stretched by these fish again this October.

We found that the 300g and 400g Chaos jigs went well and we didn’t have to jig them fast. If jigging is a bit too much work then a live yakka or slimy will do the trick.  

October is a bit of an in-between month but there are still quite a few options on the Tweed to keep most of us happy.

If you get stuck and aren’t sure where to go for a fish, pop in and have a chat to the guys at Angler’s Warehouse or call them on 07 5536 5312 and they will point you in the right direction.

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