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So many opportunities
  |  First Published: May 2003




THIS MONTH provides many opportunities for anglers in almost every aspect of our sport. The recent rains have helped fishing in so many areas after one of our worst droughts.

Beach fishing has improved out of sight, with excellent deep gutters formed up. If conditions further improve this month the Cabarita Greenback comp will be a ripper. Between Kingscliff and the Brunswick Heads, beach anglers have reported great catches of whiting, dart, tailor after dark and some encouraging reports of jew.

Deep, well-formed gutters are present close to the shore on the high tides, offering fish and anglers good access to each other. Best baits are those that are fresh. Live beach worms, fresh pipis, fresh cut baits or, better, live baits, will provide anglers with more action. Sharp hooks these days are a mere formality, with even the moderately-priced hooks being sharp straight from the packet.

The estuaries to have improved greatly over recent weeks. This month the mangrove jack will peak before the mature fish head for a new life offshore. Don’t ask me how big a mature fish from the North Coast is because every year I see bigger fish. My guess is somewhere in the high 50cm range. Every year we catch a couple of 60s and bigger. Whether they’re just slower to mature than their brethren is all part of the wonderful puzzle.

Flathead-luring will improve in the shallow broadwaters as Winter approaches. For land-based anglers Terranora Inlet is easily accessed on foot, as is the area along the shore at the golf club at South Tweed. The tick gates and The Anchorage can also have a lot of fish in the shallows. Soft plastics such as paddletails, single and double tails with a 1/4oz head will cover all locations. Chartreuse is my preferred colour but pink, white, clear and watermelon are all good lizard-takers. For those with a boat this month is good for trolling with plenty of trophy-sized lizards but remember these fish are our brood stock and should be treated carefully and released. Any water from four to six metres deep that drains off the flats will often see big fish congregate. Best lures here for this time of year are the Bomber 24A and 26A with the XB10 or grey ghost colours hard to go past.

Bream have started their move to the mouth of the river with some big residents already showing along the rock wall along the Fingal straight. If you’re looking to target some Tweed bream on plastics this stretch is hard to beat. In the early mornings some better fish will be found close to the shore in the shallows. As the sun gets up the bigger fish tend to drop back into the deeper sections and are replaced by smaller fish.

The seagrass in shallow water is often overlooked for stud fish on surface lures. Fizzers are a fun way to catch these fish, I like about a metre of water with a little broken weed to cast at.

Offshore

This is a good time to chase big pelagics. Wahoo, mackerel, cobia, kingfish and some better than usual black marlin are caught this month. The Brumbies, Nine Mile, the northern end of Fidos, Mary’s Rock at Cook Island and the reefs off Kingscliff should produce some big fish. If you love your lure-trolling then there is no better person to learn from than Peter Pakula. Look for and check out any of his material on the subject and you will be a better for it. You can buy his latest release, the CD-Rom Between The Lines from the QFM Gift Shop. Learning how to set a lure pattern properly and understanding why the pattern works is half the battle and this CD-Rom covers it all.

Reef fishing is also pretty good, with the area north of the Nine Mile the pick for quality blue-throat wrasse, grassy sweetlip, pearl perch and morwong .Most of the quality snapper have come from the close reefs. The Mud Hole is definitely worth effort, as is the Ten Minute Reef, Wommin Reef, Chincogan and, farther south, the Black Rock reefs. Early morning rising tides or full tides are the ones to fish. Berley cages with last trip’s pillies are always worth deploying and the first bait floated down the current can often pick up the better fish.

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