Look for blue water
  |  First Published: February 2008

Many local and visiting anglers are enjoying a pretty good run of fish with offshore and estuary grounds producing the goods if you know where to look.

Some keen anglers have been heading out wide trolling for billfish. While they haven’t run into too many marlin yet, many are being rewarded with sizable mahi mahi in the 12kg to 20kg class. The biggest I’ve heard so far went 23kg.

Sizeable skirted lures dragged around the 100-fathom line and outwards have worked well. Those heading to the SWR Canyons are finding bigger fish.

As it stands the blue water is out wide but every day is different and it may be a lot closer to shore by the time you read this. Once you find the good blue water, you’re likely to find the dollies.

At the time of writing there has been no marlin caught just off the jail but I suspect that with reports of fish north of us, and good water out wide slowly edging in, they may well be cruising the inshore reefs just wide of the jail.

If you head up towards Trial Bay Jail and the water looks clean and blue, the odds are there’s a billfish or two, and more than likely some cobia, poking around.

Kingfish have been at Fish Rock in good numbers for several months. While the fish may be there, they are usually far more active when there’s a some current flow.

It’s not a bad idea to drive up to the Smoky Cape Lighthouse and see if the current is running south. You get a great view from the top, looking over Green Island, Fish Rock and Black Rock.

If the water is pushing south past Fish Rock, the odds are you’ll have some fun with the kings. There have been some good fish there, with some up to 21kg landed. Most are 4kg to 6kg with a good sprinkling of fish to 10kg. They’re all great fun no matter what size they are.


Snapper have been a little slow for months now, though last year when the warm water arrived with schools of slimy mackerel, so too did the reds. Fingers crossed this season is the same because there’s miles of good country north of the river bar to explore and usually some serious fish that follow the slimies around.

Many anglers are now sweating on the spotted mackerel run. This time of year they start to show in reasonable numbers and get more prolific as we edge closer to Autumn.

While the spotties are great fun and good to eat, I’d prefer chase Spanish mackerel. The last few years have been quite slow but it’s still worth putting in a few hours prior to targeting the more abundant spotties.

Each year is different; hopefully this is the one that sees a welcomed return of these terrific sport fish.


Back in the Macleay River a steady stream of bream has kept many locals happy. With the warm water (the river is around 26°) and a steady stream of prawns sneaking out to sea, the resident bream have been keen to play the game.

Not surprisingly, prawns have been scoring well and those flicking light-coloured soft plastics and hardbodies around have fared well also. At first and last light, small surface lures and flies will score good numbers.

Flathead have sparked up nicely with pretty good numbers of fish along the rock walls and up on the tidal flats towards Stuarts Point.

Whitebait and prawns have been the top offerings for the bait crew and 3” to 5” stickbaits and shads for the soft plastic guys. Lure fishos have been raving about the clear 6” Squidgy Flick Baits and the lemon 4” Squidgy Shads.

Jewfish numbers seem quite low and again last month was plagued with very slow jewie action. While it’s not a complete waste of time chasing jew, it’s not far from it.

Hopefully with a fresh push of bait into the river the local mulloway population will spark up a little.

After a series of small and annoying freshes in the river, local bass anglers have started heading upstream again. Most are scoring fish and a few rippers around 50cm have been caught and released.

When the water’s up a little (the last fresh it rose 1.5m), it’s pretty tough going and far from the best time to target Macleay bass. But once it settles again you can expect some consistent action.

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