Good water settling in
  |  First Published: December 2007

Keen offshore anglers have had mixed results with fish hot to trot one day and playing hardball the next but that should all change once the good water arrives.

While it can be pretty frustrating for anglers, these hot-and-cold results are pretty standard for late spring and early summer. The good hot water has only just settled in as you read this, so many northern pelagic species are only very new arrivals.

The resident fish, which have just gone through a fairly cool winter and spring, are shutting up shop until water temperatures stabilise.

Last time I headed out the water was 23°, warm and blue but with virtually no current. It was a great temp and certainly looked the goods but things were very slow indeed. As they say, ‘No run, no fun’ and until the current kicks into gear we can expect patchy results.

The new rise in water temp did bring down a few northern visitors, with cobia showing up in their usual haunts just off the Jail, as well as in the Macleay River. No real monsters as yet, just a sprinkling of 3kg to 12kg fish to whet the appetite but fingers crossed for a simular run to the past few seasons.

Some good kingfish turned up at Black Rock the other week with reports of fish up to 20kg cruising around. Fish Rock has been much the same, with those putting in a little effort with sizable live bait fooling some of these bigger fish.

Kings can be super-aggressive at times but they’re far from silly. They often become extremely focused on specific bait species and when they are and you haven’t got a tankful of what they’re on, it can be very frustrating indeed.

Lures can work well when the kings are being fussy as long as you mix it up with a range of surface lures, jigs and plastics.


Keen game fishos are eagerly a waiting the first signs of inshore marlin. The water is the right temp but there’s little bait at present. Again, once the current kicks on, we can expect some small black marlin, stripes and cobia to hit the inshore grounds.

As yet, only a few cobia have turned up. Any day now things can fire up, so keen you eyes and ears open, and if you see baitfish rippling from the jail wall, hook the boat up and see if there are billfish under them.

The Macleay River has had one of the worst runs of jewfish since I’ve lived here. Maybe I’m just getting worse at catching them, because I haven’t caught one in three weeks, but according to others who also regularly chase them, thing are pretty grim.

Exactly why the jewies have been super-slow in unclear. I’m hoping it’s just a seasonal thing where they’ve simply headed way up river or out to sea and will return with a vengeance.


To compensate for the lousy run of jewfish, some serious flathead have made a welcome appearance.

It’s funny: I went up to Yamba last month because the jewie fishing here was so lousy. And, try as I did, I caught only big flathead.

Then, when I headed back home hoping the jewfish had returned, I got bombarded with more big flathead. I know I’m being a fussy bugger but when you’re chasing jewfish you want to catch jew. Conversely for flathead.

Now I’m specifically setting out to catch big flathead and I bet next trip I snare a jew!

There’s been some pretty good bream action in the Macleay with a sprinkling below the boat ramp and good numbers up towards Jerseyville. The deep walls have been reliable with the run-in and run-out tides producing fish.

As the water warms even more, start heading farther up-river with Benalong up to Frederickton usually well worth a throw.

Bass have come good up-river with plenty of locals sneaking up and finding good numbers of fish above Greenhills. The small water is also fishing well, with most of the rocky pools above Belgrave Falls coming to life again.

The water is bath warm up-river, around 26°, and the local bass have been more than keen to belt surface lures again.

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