If we go by what the weather people are telling us, we are going to be in for a very hot Summer. This is not necessarily a bad thing from a fishing point of view.
There were a few ups and downs in the water temps last month which affected the fishing somewhat. I recall going out late one evening and fishing in 25° water and managing to land two good jacks and drop one.
I went down again three days later and found 20° water and shut-down fish. The warmer weather should sort out this problem and keep the river nice and warm and the fish biting.
The regular late afternoon storms seem to stir up the mangrove jacks and the majority of the predatory fish in the rivers. This month the jacks should fire up and they can be targeted on many of the rock walls or rock bars throughout the Tweed River.
We all have our favourite spots so try to find one that has good depth close to the bank and a good supply of bait. Persevere with this spot for a while before rushing off to another.
Trolling deep divers like the Lively Lures Mad Mullet, Rapala Shad Rap or Mann’s Stretch 20 around these spots is a good way to go.
I have already managed a few Jacks for the season on soft plastics and have definitely found that I tend to land more on softies than on the deep divers. When you have 20 metres of line out the back of the boat, the fish has to go only a metre to either side to blow you away, whereas with the soft plastics you can fish them from the bank out towards the boat.
When the fish hits you can immediately try to pressure the fish away from their snaggy homes. I find the 4” Atomic Shads, 3” Squidgy Fish, Atomic Jerk Minnows and Zoom Super flukes consistent producers. Try to fish the shad bodies with a slow-rolling technique and if that doesn’t work, try one of the straight tails with an erratic retrieve which sometimes stimulates a reaction bite from a shut-down Jack.
The river around Murwillumbah fished well last month with a lot more salt water pushing up the to the weir. On some outings it was possible to catch four species in four casts. These upper reaches should continue to produce good catches of flathead, trevally, bream and the odd bass.
There should be some good whiting taken in this area this month. Other good spots to target whiting are the flats around the Piggery and Oxley Cove. Make sure you fish as light as possible for these fish as the bigger specimens are very shy feeders.
This month there should be heaps of herring around the bridges so jigging up a few livies shouldn’t be a problem. With the warmer water try to fish the deeper sections for flathead. Drifting a livie through this water could result in anything from a flathead to a jewie.
I took one of the new E Grell spin rods by Team Xstream for a test around some of the snags in the river. I used the 7’ spin light 2kg to 4kg model and found it could easily cast small lures a long way.
I fished in very rough country and had the drag screwed right up and the rod was well up to the task of muscling the fish out while being sensitive enough to pick up the lightest bites on soft plastics. I found it to be a good all-rounder for flicking both softies and hardbodies in the fresh and salt.
It is time to get serious about trolling for small black marlin. Off Kirra and around the Nine Mile are good areas to start.
Always keep a watchful eye on your sounder for schools of bait. If you find one that is tightly concentrated, spend time around it as the billfish are normally not far behind.
Trolling a spread of pushers or slow-trolling livies are the best options. We rig the pushers with twin Gamakatsu SL12s in 8/0 and 10/0.
These hooks were originally designed for saltwater fly fishing and are thin gauge but we found our hook up ratio increased dramatically with them.
There should still be a few good kings and amberjack out wide. The current will make live-baiting tough but jigging 300g and 400g Chaos and Knife jigs should get results.
December is a good month for fishing. Just remember that it is a busy time on the water so try to exercise patience and caution. Accidents happen very quickly and can spoil a holiday or, even worse, cause fatalities.
If you are in need of quality bait, tackle or expert advice, call the guys at Anglers Warehouse on 07 5536 3822 or pop in for a chat.Reads: 751