Blue water, feisty fish
  |  First Published: March 2009

A solid belt of royal blue water has meant good numbers of exciting game species have headed this way and the water just off Trial Bay Jail has been bath-warm with pretty good numbers of marlin and cobia.

While there’s haven’t been the sheer baitfish numbers of previous years, enough slimy mackerel and small bonito have hit the inshore grounds to lure in some quality game fish.

Four very slow years for inshore marlin have thinned out the sheer numbers of fishos who normally put in the hours live-baiting the reefs just off the jail.

Barely four to eight boats a day have been out trying. With pretty good numbers of fish around, this equates to more action per boat.

The other day there were only four boats out there live-baiting for marlin. Two left just as the fish came on, leaving only me and another fellow to enjoy the action.

With the marlin came some quality cobia, with the usual haunts off the jail and down around Green Island producing some top fish.

While their numbers haven’t been overly exciting, the average size certainly has. Most fish encountered are around 20kg to 30kg, making an inshore live-bait session quite interesting.

If you head out, don’t fish too light or you may be in for an epic struggle!

Up north, spotted and Spanish mackerel have turned up but, in true mackerel fashion, they are playing at biting one day and then shutting up shop the next.

It always amuses me how they like to skip a day and bite freely the next.

Although at times they will bite every day for weeks, more often than not if you skip the every second day you’ll more than likely find a few fish. But just make sure you skip the day they’re not biting!

Those heading south looking for kingfish have been pretty disappointed.

It’s not that kingfish have been scarce – quite the opposite – but the average size has been only a kilo or two.

Summer isn’t exactly the best time to target inshore kingfish but you usually will find a few decent fish if you don’t mind sifting through the rats. This Summer, unfortunately, there have been very few bigger fish to target.


The Macleay River flathead have continued to bite, with the rocky walls above Jerseyville the place to head.

The lower reaches, which usually fish great at this time of year, have been very slow indeed. Clear water and a lack of bait have been the main problems so head up-river if you like chasing the flat brown fish.

Bream numbers are quite steady and, again, upstream areas are producing.

Baitfish numbers and water clarity up towards Smithtown have suited the bream, with most deep bends and rock walls housing pretty good numbers of fish.

Mulloway numbers are quite steady and again you will need to head up-river to find a few fish.

I haven’t heard of too any larger fish about but for school jewfish, any deep wall from Jerseyville to Smithtown is worth a shot at dawn or dusk.

The whiting-on-poppers explosion has continued but this month the little buggers have been a tad quiet.

Most of the reliable flats have fished quite slowly but there have been enough fish around to make the effort worthwhile.

Again, head up river and try the nipper beds around Jerseyville to Smithtown and make sure you work those poppers aggressively. It’s great fun and certainly quite challenging to produce consistent numbers.

Bass have continued to bite with plenty of anglers heading up to target these terrific fish. Surface lures have been working well in the shallow, weedy pools and spinnerbaits and deep-diving lures reign in the rocky depths.

There’s plenty of water to explore from Kempsey to Georges Junction and beyond, so you’re unlikely to see other anglers fishing the same pool.

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