Water quality improves at last
  |  First Published: April 2008

At last there have been some breaks in the rain, allowing the creeks and inshore waters to become blue and warm.

Land-based game fishers have enjoyed line-stripping runs on 8kg and 10kg tackle with solid longtail tuna to 21kg taking live yellowtail and garfish baits from all the recognised breakwalls and points.

Mackerel chasers have been getting the odd spotty from trailer boats and provided we get no more heavy rain, there should be plenty of mackerel on offer for Autumn anglers.

The best mackerel possies close to the harbour are the Park Beach Bommie, Macauleys Headland to the north and Whitmores Reef to the south.

For LBG anglers, try the South Wall/Quarry, Sawtell Headland, Macauleys Headland, Emerald Headland and Mutton Bird Island. Yellowtail, garfish and mullet can be caught near the first set of stairs on the North Wall to the left of the co-op.

Once you've set your live baits out under corks or balloons, it can pay to spin the inner and outer edges of wash areas with metal lures from 40g to 100g for tailor and GTs. Both these hard-fighting species love to hit metals as they pass over or along the edges of reef and whitewater.

Most tailor and GTs that feed in these deep areas range from a kilo to 4kg with the bigger fish taking surface poppers or large metals skittered across the surface.

Catching live bait on location is sometimes possible, provided you use berley and fish at first light with baited bait jigs, casting out to the fringes of reef and gravel bottoms.

Further out to sea there have been plenty of yellowfin tuna to 15kg taking lures and live baits. Cobia and kingfish have been caught around the Solitary Islands, as well as snapper to 8kg which mostly are taking 6” plastics bounced over reef.


We've been visiting many of the local creeks and have had some great action on bass and bream still keen to take small surface fizzers cast tight against cover or under overhanging branches.

As the water cools and becomes clearer, creek and river anglers will have more success throwing small plastics, with flathead and jewfish becoming part of the catch.

The saltwater sections of the Bellinger and Kalang systems will fish well with the deeper sections near the rail and road bridges producing some good fish on the first half of the outgoing tide.

If you're after an LBG mackerel, now is the time of year to be sending big live tailor or bonito seaward on heavy single-strand wire and 15kg tackle. The best possies for hooking the elusive Spaniards are Hat Head, Grassy Head, Iluka, Sawtell and Station Creek.

Now is the time to be targeting big jew off the beaches using fresh tailor, mullet or tuna strips. My theory has always been that big jew feed more freely when there's a high tide and no moon. The higher than usual water level gives jew easy access to inshore feeding areas and the dark of the moon provides a cloak under which they can feed without fear of being spotted by any potential prey or predator.

On the beaches there has been a good run of school jew with fish from 2kg to 6kg taking beach worms in most deep gutters on sunset and a few hours after dark.

Best beaches for school jew seem to be to the north of Coffs with Campbells, Sapphire, Corindi and Station Creek producing classic beach fishing for jew, tailor and bream after dark on beach worms, mullet and tailor fillets.

On the rocks there have been reports of jew to 10kg taking large plastics and tailor chasing metals.

Next weekend I'll be heading up my favourite creek for a bit of bass fishing, then if the seas are flat I might head offshore for a bit of mackerel trolling. It's tough living on the North Coast!



Jacob McIntyre with a solid Nambucca system bass.


Kurt and Nathan Atkinson with a big bass that ate a fizzer.


Nathan Atkinson had fun spinning up this late Summer bream.


Chris Barry caught this bream in completely fresh water at Bellingen.

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