Big bream, jewies and giant herring
  |  First Published: November 2004

This is my first report for Fishing Monthly and hopefully not my last! This month I’ll give you a brief report on what has been happening but, more importantly, I will try to inform you when and where you can target the fish that should be on the chew when you read this.

I have spent the past two mornings fishing on the lower Clarence River and it has produced some of the most exciting light-tackle action I have experienced. The target was giant herring and I found these fish to live up to everything I have heard and read about them.

These giant herring where found by accident while targeting whiting over the sand flats. I have had the opportunity to chase these fish only in the past few days but I expect the fishing to only improve over the next few months as the water temperature rises and I learn more about the habits of these interesting and challenging fish.

I am hoping to accurately target them within a few months and will give you a full report on how and when to catch these magnificent fighting fish.

The bream fishing this year has been very ordinary for most fishos but if you’re a beach or rock angler then you got the best of the bream run this season. In previous years we have only seen the odd fish over 2kg but this year, despite bream numbers being down, we have had three bream that topped the magic 2kg mark.

All these fish where caught on the north side of the river and we had a steady flow of fish that went 1.8kg and 1.9kg. All these bream were caught in the beach gutters along Shark Bay and from the Iluka Bluff.

This was definitely a year of quality bream fishing, not quantity. These big bream never came into the river, instead finding the beaches and headlands too good to leave.

We still have a good number of these fish holding around the ocean headlands, which is where Ean Johns, of Iluka, caught his 1.67kg bream this month. This fish measured 45cm to the fork and in Winter would have been one of those 2kg monsters.

So if you’re interested in chasing a hard-fighting Summer bream, you need to get down to the headlands in the mornings for best results.

Those eastern Winter whiting are back in large numbers and are making life hard for the dedicated sand whiting fishos in daylight hours. Normally the Winter whiting prefer the deeper channels but this year they have made a move into the shallow water.

Winter whiting feed aggressively through the day and are a great target for a quick feed or in the holidays with the kids. Fishos chasing the sand whiting are having success at night on the new (dark) moon with a run-out tide. Best spots in the Clarence river are those that can be fished when the north-easterly wind is blowing.


Those chasing jew have probably had the best of the fishing all year, in a total reverse to the bream. School jew have been around in good to excellent numbers and we are probably at the peak of the fishing right now.

The river has been the hot spot for school jew up to 5kg with the bridges and deep holes holding good numbers of fish on the top and bottom of the tide.

During the day the soft-plastic fishos are producing the best numbers but at night the bait fishos catch up, with live herring and squid the top baits.

Fishos on the beaches have had good success with jew up to 10kg taken on beach worms and squid.

But the rockhoppers have had the best of the jewie action with a steady flow of 12kg to 15kg fish taken on hard-body diving lures. Unfortunately, no monster jew over the 30kg mark have been caught this year but no one is complaining, as long as the flow of wonderful schoolies continues.

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