Warm water on its way
  |  First Published: December 2003

A MONTH is a long time when you’re talking about fishing and lots of good things have happened since my last report.

With the warm weather has come some much-awaited warm water. It’s certainly not boiling hot like we get in late February or March, but it’s clear, blue and around 22°. This onset of warm water has brought with it some northern speedsters, with mahi mahi the first to arrive. The local FAD NSW Fisheries put out last year is now home to some nice dollies up to 15kg. You’ll find most fish are way short of this mark, with perhaps 2kg to 3kg an average size, but some bigger fish are calling the place home.

There have been a few striped marlin just wide of The Dot from 36 to 60 fathoms. Reports of large schools of striped tuna and sauries being bailed up by marlin have filtered through. Because there have been very few anglers here who have set a spread of lures to chase these fish, it’s difficult to know how many fish are out there. I suspect quite good numbers and a serious effort with lures could yield surprising results.

Closer to shore, Fish Rock has been very quiet for kings. I spoke to a local diver and he reported seeing only one small king during a one-hour dive. That’s pretty amazing for The Rock, as there’s usually a truckload milling around. As it stands, you might be better off heading over to Black Rock or going north to chase some reds.

Those heading up off Grassy and Middle heads have done quite well on the snapper. The better fishing has certainly come during the afternoon sessions – if you can pick and afternoon when it’s not blowing! Those fishing during the day are getting up super-early and fishing for the first three or four hours and heading home, usually scoring up to half a dozen fish up to 2kg. There are certainly bigger fish about but you’ll need to keep the berley up and move frequently if your chosen spot is fishing slowly. Sometimes moving can be the key to success.

The Macleay River is fishing quite well with flathead and school jew the most active. With the lack of rain lately the water is quite clear so fishing around low tide or further up river is a good way to find a few fish. High tide is very clear and naturally the local fish are being pretty cagey. With the warming weather night is also a great time to fish and the fish are frequently pretty co-operative once the sun sets.

Bass anglers are doing it a little tough with the clear water and excessive weed growth, but those fishing into the night using surface lures are going quite well. There are miles of herring chopping once the sun hits the horizon and the bass are feeding vigorously on them.

I’d say next month we’ll see even greater improvements on the local fishing front with hopefully a few early season spotties showing, perhaps even a cobia or two and, if we get some real good water, some inshore black marlin. Fingers crossed for some cobalt blue water!

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