What a good month it is shaping up to be for those chasing bass, with some outstanding reports coming from above Grafton.
Bass to 50cm plus is the word on the water with the best I have seen a 56cm thumper taken by Chris Rigg. Anyone heading upstream chasing a bass can get the best local knowledge on where they’re biting by seeing Chris Rigg at Fully Rigged Bait and Tackle or Paul Kneller at Big River Bait and Tackle.
All the Summer fish are now coming on the bite with the flathead the first to show in good numbers. Most of the recognised areas have been fishing well with the North Arm of the Clarence being the pick of the spots as the days get warmer.
Those fishing with lures need to get some of the new Berkley 4” Gulp Minnow as these have been really doing some damage. The Atomic 4” Glider in the green gord colour has also been accounting for some big flathead along the wall at Palmers Island.
The bait fishos have also been into the action with live herring and white pillies the crack baits in the North Arm.
Those Summer whiting will be showing up now in the river with spots like Sleeper Creek and Sleeper Island being the first to fire.
The best time to fish these spots is at night on the dark moon and run-out tide. Best baits are live worms, live yabbies and fresh prawns.
On the beaches the whiting have already started to show in good numbers with Shark Bay producing the best bags. Live worms are a must here if you really want to catch big whiting.
A change of line class down to 2kg to 4kg will also help early in the season.
School jew are still around in good numbers for those willing to fish for them. The best spots are still the Oyster Channel Bridge, Browns Rocks, Palmers Island, the Harwood Bridge and Maclean’s rocky drop-offs.
The beaches and rocky headlands are fishing the best now with regular catches of 15kg-plus jew from the rocks on big diving lures. Best time is the last hour of the day into the first part of the night but pick a safe tide to fish. I always fish a falling tide at night for the obvious safety reasons and try never to fish alone.
Those big trevally are still around with lots of hot daytime action coming on poppers from the Iluka Bluff.
The trick to landing the big fish is to use only one treble hook on the back of the popper. When the fish goes for cover in the rocks you can drag them back out without getting your other hook caught on the rocks.
If you’re worried about the hook-up rate – don’t be. These fish don’t give up and with their big mouths they usually take the popper down deep.
Offshore fishos had better be ready as the mackerel can show up at any time from now until Christmas.
So it’s time to get all that pelagic gear out and service all those reels and rods. Check all your lures and replace the ones you’re low on before it’s too late and most shops run out.
You know what happens when the first fish of the season are caught – yep, summer madness on the offshore reefs. I know where I will be come November – trying to beat the rush and getting in a couple of early trips on the mackerel.
Here’s a little story about how good we really do have it around here.
I recently went to the Gippsland Lakes to pre-fish before the national BREAM grand final. Not knowing the area, I expected to take a day or so to find and catch a fish.
It took me seven days to catch the first and only legal-size black bream. Over the 10 days I was there I landed about 10 undersize black bream and lots of luderick, as well as two school jew I found in a hole about ten metres deep in the Tambo River.
The locals told me that the black bream were spawning and it was a bad time to fish for them, which I found to be the opposite to the yellowfin bream we have around here.
In fact, everything about black bream was the exact opposite to the yellowfin bream. So I have a lot to learn about these fish and that means I am going to have to go on another fishing trip south – what a shame!