The fishing in recent weeks has taken on a Summer feel with the estuary and freshwater species throwing caution to the wind as they hit plastics, shallow divers and surface lures.
Our past two bass trips have produced a stack of fish to 49cm with the bigger specimens showing a preference for surface chuggers and fizzers.
Anglers chasing mangrove jack in the brackish zones have started to hook the odd fish on lures and live baits with the feeding periods early and late in the day producing the most action.
As yet the lily beds have not fully bloomed but once they do, bass and bream anglers in the tidal rivers will enjoy some red-hot bites along the deepwater fringes and in the clear pockets of water behind the floating structures.
If you are chasing bream, bass or jacks in the tidal zones then the run-out tide will definitely be your best fishing period. If this coincides with the morning or afternoon light then all the better.
On the beaches there has been plenty of action on school jewfish since I last wrote, with the majority of fish being taken on the northern beaches such as Korora, Campbells, Sapphire and Moonee and on baits like beach worms, tailor, squid and mullet.
Soft-plastic lure tossers targeting jew in the sand gutters between rocks and bommies have also enjoyed some success with plenty of fish to 5kg being landed and the odd bigger specimen busting up those who are geared up only for schoolies.
Beach anglers to the south of Coffs have been getting whiting and dart at Boambee Beach and tailor and salmon at Mylestrom.
Around the breakwalls and river mouths there have been some good-sized flathead landed as well as luderick, sand mullet, garfish, bream, tailor and salmon.
The walls at Coffs, Urunga and Nambucca are popular and relatively safe fishing spots that can give shore-based anglers access to species normally only enjoyed by boat fishermen. The action encountered by anglers throwing metal lures from the Southern Wall in the Harbour has been impressive in recent weeks with plenty of big tailor, salmon and the odd kingfish making life exciting.
Lure anglers targeting bream in the estuary have not gone home fishless with good numbers of Summer fish taking up residence on the floating and fixed racks. A variety of lures such as soft plastics and small hard-bodied divers have been producing fish on the downstream Kalang and Nambucca rivers.
Surface poppers have been working well further upstream under the overhanging trees. If you are targeting bream using surface lures, you'll need to make accurate casts into the shadows underneath foliage and then work the lure on the spot until a bream shows interest.
Often bream will bump and flick lures around and won't commit to eating the artificial until they've made a few inspections. It's your challenge as the angler to impart life into the plastic creation, using subtle and not-so-subtle rod action to make the lure look like a terrestrial insect that's got itself into trouble.
There have been large schools of salmon and kingfish inshore, with mackerel tuna and striped tuna further out. Getting legal-sized kings has been difficult but those succeeding have been slow-trolling live baits such as yellowtail, slimy mackerel, garfish and squid.
Snapper fishing has been consistent with fish to 10kg found by those patient enough to fish the deeper reefs with lightly weighted baits.
Anglers trolling live baits down deep around the Solitary Islands and surrounding reefs have been hooking big amberjack, kings and cobia. There have been reports of cobia as big as 30kg from around Black Rock and South Solitary Island with big live baits trolled just off the bottom producing the hook-ups.
If you are fishing near the offshore islands make sure your throw some metal lures into the washes or troll some divers around the island fringes. The variety of pelagics willing to hit a lure in these areas can at times be spectacular with jumbo tailor, kingfish, tuna and cobia leading the list of species.
Over the next month the action in the estuaries should improve further with trevally, jacks, bream and bass being the fish to target.
Bream and flathead are on the bite in all the estuaries around Coffs.
The scenic upstream water on the Clarence is fishing well for bass.
The oyster leases on the Kalang River have been quite productive for bream, flathead and trevally.Reads: 923