Plenty of bait and predators
  |  First Published: May 2008

All the reefs around the Coffs area have large schools of slimy mackerel feeding around them and a wide variety of predators is taking advantage of the easy meals on offer.

We fished just wide of Split Solitary Island recently and found plenty of bait in from 15m to 30m. Trolling two slimies on wire traces, we hooked kings, longtail tuna and spotted mackerel.

Anglers fishing this depth range have also reported solid cobia to 30kg with kings and mackerel also hitting live baits.

East of South Solitary Island there have been mackerel, yellowfin tuna and wahoo taking live baits and lures.

All these reefs are also producing snapper on soft plastics and many anglers prefer to drift with live baits under balloons while they work the bottom over with 1/2oz and 3/8oz jig heads and 6” plastics.

Rock anglers have continued to catch longtail and mackerel tuna on live baits and anglers prepared to send tailor, pike and small tuna seaward will be eventually rewarded with a hook-up on a big Spanish mackerel. My brother and I spun lures from Korogoro Point at Hat Head a few days ago and while the water depth and water quality looked great, there was no action from tuna or mackerel.

In the rivers there have been solid bream, flathead, mangrove jacks and jewfish feeding around the deeper stretches of water in the Kalang, Bellinger and Nambucca rivers.

Anglers fishing at night around the rail and road bridges with live baits have been getting stretched by jew, mangrove jacks and bull sharks. Farther up these same rivers, bream and bass are still taking surface fizzers, with bass over 50cm feeding aggressively once the sun sets.


After a slow start to the jew spinning season the schoolies have finally taken up residence around the coastal headlands and lure-tossers have been taking fish to 8kg on soft plastics and dead baits.

The best times to spin for jew are sunrise/sunset and around the tide changes; don't be afraid to throw lures after dark, particularly on a tide change.

Over the next month I'll send some live baits seaward from my favourite headlands as well as fishing the beach at night for jew.

One recent night we took our leftover mackerel tuna frames and slimy mackerel down to the Hills Beach and had a ball hooking blacktip whalers on our jew gear. My youngest son, Nathan, got his fingers cut and his arms stretched as a big whaler hit his bait and smoked him a couple of hundred metres towards a rising moon.

Before the bities arrived we were hooking tailor on every cast and things were looking good for a jew on the high tide. I managed to set the hooks into a metre-long whaler and get it to the beach for a wash-up landing.

Over the next month I'll be hitting the stones in search of mackerel and tuna, as well as getting the canoe back into the bass water.

The cooler months are my favourite time to target big jew on bait and, provided the sharks move out, I'm sure I'll keep a bait in the water long enough to interest a big silver fish.



Watson’s leaping bonito have been around the headlands. Nothing makes a better live bait for a big Spaniard.


Big bass are there to be caught over the next month before things cool down and they start thinking of breeding.


Longtail tuna have been about in good numbers from the headlands and over the inshore reefs.

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