Plenty of room
  |  First Published: December 2002

I can’t believe we are here again – Christmas, school holidays and a red-hot Summer just around the calendar corner.

Primed with thoughts of good catches, visitors will be packing for their brief annual visits to the Great Lakes area.

There are plenty of places to escape the crowds and miles of water to put distance between people. The seasonal movement of fish means the tributaries and upper lake areas will have a good population of species available. The continuing dry spell also means the saltwater species such as bream, flathead, chopper tailor and small jew will be pushing farther up the rivers. The baitfish and butter prawns that draw the attention of the predators are well established and daylight saving allows comfortable afternoon sessions for those of us who have to work.

Surface-luring for bream in the tributaries will be popular among the lure fraternity and shoreline structure is the place to target. Lures like the Producer Turbo Fizzer, Kokoda Bugger Chug, small Jitterbugs and an assortment of soft plastics are all worth a throw in the early and late parts of the day. Cast your lures tight into the overhanging mangrove shadows or around snaggy structure and work them slowly back – you are bound to get a few savage strikes.

Fishing from a canoe downstream of Nabiac last month, I was encouraged by the numbers of bream and flathead we caught and released. With flathead to 800g and 30-plus bream up to 900g, it was a prelude to the coming month and it should just get better. A few tailor made a nuisance of themselves but, all in all, it was a fun few hours.

Lower in the lake, flathead and trumpeter whiting have been the main focus over the flats and the channel that leads up to the Cut and Wallamba River. Target the flathead around the shallow weed patches up from the bridge and the flats opposite Rest Point Road, Tuncurry. A lot of boats drift the area between Mosquito Point and Marcella Bay for mixed bags of flathead, bream and whiting. Yabbies, beach worms and fish fillet strips are the best baits.

Drifting Hell’s Gate to the Step at the beginning of the run-out tide is a good pick for flathead. Or you can anchor up and bait-fish for leatherjackets and a mixed bag close to Wallis Island.

Bream spinning is still popular and numbers of anglers targeting the local population is increasing. Lure like the Oar-Gee Lil’ Ripper, Attacks and Rebel Crawdads are good to throw in and around the leases. Soft plastics, too, are popular and will take fish if used properly and fished dead slow.


Needless to say, possies on the beaches will be at a premium, especially the strips of sand close to town. Early mornings and late evenings will be the best times, or you need to head to Seven or Nine Mile beaches to find less populated water.

Whiting, dart, flatties and the odd soapy jew are around in the beach gutters. A few big bream have also been reported closer to the rocky headlands early in the mornings at the top of the tide. Worms and pipis are available. You can catch your own bait or call in to see Lloyd at Great Lakes Tackle – he may have live beach worms available or you might be able to order some.


Rock fishing can fire this month but can also be a slow go. General rock species like blackfish, bream, some trevally, good baitfish and, with the cooler water temps, a pig or two, are likely. For me, an even-money bet would be to berley the washes and fish for bream and perhaps throw a big bait or live bait wide.

Bushfires, constant strong winds, a messy offshore slop and slow fishing over the last few months has to give way, eventually, to an improved outlook on the fishing scene. Some are blaming El Nino for the disturbed weather patterns and fish, but make the most of it over the Chrissy break and have a safe and enjoyable time.


Small jew are around and more active. The number of jew falling to lures is increasing as anglers fish different techniques and probe the right spots.

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