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Action warms up at last
  |  First Published: November 2004



Last month’s report wasn’t the most exciting, but it was a far cry from the previous two and now the action has picked up.

It looks like all is well fish-wise on the Holiday Coast, with most species biting freely plus a few exciting northern visitors also getting in on the act.

Blue-water anglers have started to smile again with the reappearance of clean, blue water from 36 fathoms out. At around 22° it’s by no means hot but it’s holding some quality game fish with mahi mahi and yellowfin tuna being the front runners.

True to form, the early season dollies are running at a good size, with healthy numbers of 4kg to 6kg fish present, plus some good loners going close to 15kg.

Reports of ripper dollies to 26kg just north of us are enough to fire up any serious blue-water angler. Let’s hope the run lasts a while and the local black-market shamateurs show a little restraint this season.

A sprinkling of quality yellowfin tuna is passing through on the wider grounds with many in the 15kg to 25kg class. They’re certainly not thick but don’t be too surprised if one fancies your skirted lure or live bait set for a good mahi mahi.

I can’t imagine it will be too long before some inshore black marlin arrive so I’ll have to keep a good eye on bait supplies on the Jail Ground and wider. I’ll keep you posted.

Those venturing north looking for a few reds can expect some quality fish to move inshore. Traditionally, the bigger fish seem to hit the inshore reefs with the new push of warm water so it may be time to send out some bigger baits of cut slimies, yellowtail and whole pilchards in search of bump-headed snapper.

Some good reds to 5kg were taken recently so all signs are looking good.

In the mighty Macleay River things are getting back to normal with good numbers of co-operative flathead and some sort of consistency with mulloway again.

My past four jew spinning sessions have all produced fish, with the worst day a lone 13.5kg fish, while the best yielded three jew to 9kg. Before the drought and extremely clear water it was a struggle to find one fish every two trips, now one to three per outing is the norm.

No matter where you live having a really good shot at several mulloway each outing on lures is good fishing, and being able to let virtually every fish swim free is well worth skiting about.

As I mentioned, the local flathead populace has kicked into gear. The river is holding big schools of whitebait and the resident lizards have been having a ball beneath the schools.

Basically, find a section of wall or a good sand spit housing whites and the odds are you’ll run into a few aggressive flathead.

The whitebait have also lured reasonable numbers of salmon and tailor into the system. I was spinning with a mate at the river mouth and an area the size of a tennis court was turned to foam by ravenous 2kg to 3kg salmon. We ended up pinning a few before setting back into jewie mode.

Bream anglers are still finding a few along the rock walls but many fish are starting to head up river for the warmer months. Soon it will be time to spin places like, Clybucca and Kinchela creeks and Belmore River.

These small waters hold good numbers of bream at times and to me represent classic bream spinning, with plenty of fallen bankside timber and overhanging mangroves to flick under.

As the water warms and prawn numbers increase, head for the tight tributaries of the Macleay for some light tackle fun.

Despite the lack of rain during the bass spawning season there seem to be a few fish around the lower reaches from Smithtown up to Frederickton. It does seem the majority of fish hung tight for the season and are still holed up in the same haunts as last Summer.

I ventured well above Kempsey last week for a look and found good numbers of quality fish happy to take a popper, so it likes like the classic topwater bass season is all systems go.

With the water warming daily and good currents pushing down from the north, I’d say South West Rocks will soon be alive with quality game fish from Spaniards to billfish.

After a very slow Winter run of fish, I can’t wait for some serious line-burning action.

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