Whiting, jewies on the bite
  |  First Published: December 2004

Big, juicy elbow-slapping whiting have appeared in the lower reaches of the Clarence River and locals have been enjoying some excellent fun on fish to 600g.

The beaches are fishing best on the morning tides with live worms the gun bait. Best spots are the protected corners on the southern sides of the headlands when the northerly wind is blowing.

In the river, the run-out tide at night has produced the best fish with worms, yabbies and prawns all working well. During the day in the river the fish are smaller, with the best fish taken in the shallow water on the last of the run in and the top of the tide. Bait and lures are working.

The past month has produced some of the best school jew fishing for years. The strong, wet southerly winds are something we have not seen for quite a few years should keep this bite going.

The beaches and rocks have had a steady flow of 8kg to 15kg fish with the best fish around 20kg from the rocks on a lure.

Those using soft plastic lures have been absolutely braining the schoolies in the river with the average fish going 4kg to 6kg and with three good doses of rain in the past month, this bite should only get better. Most of these fish are being caught through the day, with some bream and flathead fishos tangling with the jew while fishing deep water.

The Bluff headland, on the Iluka side of the river, is still producing big tackle-busting trevally with the average fish over 3kg. The best option is poppers over 50g casting weight on heavy tackle.

These trevally are biting all hours of the day and night so pick a safe tide and don’t fish dangerous water – no fish is worth it.

Big greenback tailor showed up this month on the headlands with the average fish weighing 2kg to 3kg. The best tailor were taken by those chasing trevally with large poppers. The headlands have also been producing bream, drummer and groper.

Longtail tuna are due to show up along the coast any time now, so be prepared with your light tackle, long-cast gear when fishing the headlands. Iluka breakwall is the best spot to fish with live bait or you can stimulate your fishing senses with a bit of sight-casting with poppers or chrome metal spinners to the tuna as they patrol the wall.

The longtails are best fished on the last of the run-in and first of the run-out tide with a light southerly breeze to make your time spent on the wall cool and comfortable.

Those looking to chase mackerel from the wall will be happy to hear that the area is holding good schools of baitfish, with slimy mackerel and yellow tail feeding on the large schools of small pillies coming down the coast. Water temperature has been around 22° and has risen to 23.8° at times. With the hottest water pushing past on the wide offshore grounds, it will take only a couple of good days with the southerly wind blowing and the mackerel bite will start.

The past couple of years we have experienced reasonably poor crab seasons, with only the locals in the know doing any good. This year we are already experiencing some good early-season action with experienced crabbers reporting 10 to 15 blue swimmers on a good trip.

The two common factors for success have been fresh mullet for bait and setting the traps in three to four metres of water. Those chasing mud crabs are fishing the Broadwater and cane drain openings with good catches reported.

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