It looks like the weather has finally turned our way and the fish have begun co-operating after a very ordinary first quarter of 2008.
When the swell subsides and the wind backs off, the beaches have provided some sensational fun on quality whiting, big dart, good bream, fat flathead and hungry school jew.
Light offshore winds have put a pleasant nip into the early mornings and have helped to flatten the swells. If this keeps up, we could have some of the best Winter beach fishing for years.
The bait schools have been a little slow turning up, which means the tailor are yet to hit their straps but their numbers are steadily increasing.
But with the rest of the beach action at a pretty frantic rate, few fishos are complaining.
The long stretch from South Ballina down to Evans Head has been extremely productive for whiting, bream and flathead with the coffee rock around Broadwater also hosting the odd patch of school jew to about 7kg.
When conditions allow, even the old hands are putting down their beloved 12’ or 13’ six-wrap rods and Alveys and breaking out 7’ to 8’, 2kg to 4kg braid outfits and the ubiquitous soft plastics – and they are having a ball.
There’s a lot of development still to be done on the right rods for flicking lighter plastics in the surf although longer estuary sticks, some with butt extensions, are doing the job for now. Down the track I hope we’ll see quality graphite blanks around 10’ or longer that can flick a 1/8oz to 3/8oz lure out a fair distance and keep the bellied line up out of the shore break for better sensitivity and control.
In the meantime, a lot of people are having a whole lot of fun wading out waist-deep and donging great fish.
Bream should also be hitting their straps this month, both along the beaches and in the lower estuaries.
John Gallagher, of Ballina, has raised an interesting point about the increased numbers of small to medium bream in the area. He says the banning of the mass-killer figure-six nets in Port Stephens six years ago might have something to do with the generally better numbers of smaller fish.
The lower Richmond to about Pimlico and the Evans and Brunswick estuaries should be packed with bream this month with all manner of lures effective in the day and aromatic baits like mullet, mullet gut and chicken gut doing the job after dark.
The mullet run should be in full swing so there’s always the chance of a big jewfish hanging around. The seawalls and the rock walls in the Richmond up to the RSL Club should be the focus of attention and any time the mullet pack the beach gutters there should also be the chance of a big silver fish.
Off the surf line, Spanish mackerel also prey on the mullet and some of the biggest Spaniards of the season can be caught just off the beaches. Not that there’s been too much to crow about with mackerel so far.
If there’s going to be the traditional run of spotties between Kahors and South Evans Reef, this is the month. Seasoned locals reckon there’s nothing to keep the spots here if there are no big schools of 15cm slimy mackerel so here’s hoping the bait arrives.
The main mackerel action so far seems to have been off Lennox Pinnacle (careful of the marine park red zone close to there), Black Head and occasionally at Riordans Reef.
Snapper should also be becoming thicker this month, especially on the closer reefs. There have been some reasonable catches already and plenty of undersize stuff which should be handled with care so that the next time you meet them they’re healthy snapper.Reads: 689