The fresh we had to have!
  |  First Published: April 2009

It was the fresh we had to have! The Clarence, along with the rest of the Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast, has yet again been deluged by east coast low-pressure cells.

Although the Clarence luckily avoided the flood damage that occurred further south, the catchment certainly received plenty of runoff, resulting in a small amount of flooding.

I don't know if there is a ‘perfect’ time for the river to turn colour of mud but if it has to happen, February would be my choice.

The Clarence was starting to feel a little tired. Salty water had pushed up well above Grafton and the school prawns had stayed up there as well.

Fish were spread far and wide and catch rates were starting to become very sporadic.

Now the tides are pushing cleaner water back up the river and catches are already on the improve.

Lure fishing for bream is very popular on the Clarence and it looks like we’re in for a cracker Autumn and Winter.

The training walls at Yamba have been getting plenty of attention from quality bream, with plenty of mid- to high 30cm fish caught and released.

When the fresh water runs down along the Middle Wall it kills a lot of the cunjevoi and pumpkinseed-coloured soft plastics best match the contents being emptied out of the dying cunje.

Not only the bream go nuts over this free feed; this is one of the rare times that snapper and blue groper can be caught inside the main river.

With dirty water heading out to sea on a run-out tide the specialists on big mulloway start to salivate and there are usually enough hard-gut mullet around to stir up a few good jewies.

The biggest I heard of so far after the rain was close to the old 70lb mark (around 32kg), caught by young John Causley. John's dad, Greg, is a renowned jewie specialist so it looks like young John has snatched the pebble out of his old man’s hand!


‘Wouldn't you believe it, it's just my luck!’ is a phrase often overused in fishing circles, more than ‘role model’ in rugby league, but would you it believe it? I just got through belly-aching over the big eddy sitting offshore and sending all our warm water far out to sea.

We had one week of gorgeous, warm blue water almost licking the headlands on the coast before all that dirty floodwater chased away the pelagic s. Rob Lang of Yamba Sportfishing Adventures was chartered by the Victorian-based Fishin’ Trips TV program just before the rain fell and they managed to tag more than a half a dozen small black marlin, a couple of more sizable blues and with some decent wahoo.

There is still time for a late run of mackerel to front up. Many years around here, April and May can be our peak months.

On the up side, the inshore reefs are fishing pretty well for this time of year with plenty of good-sized snapper and even some good pearlies boated over the past few weeks.


The fresh has put an end to one of the most enjoyable bass seasons I have had in years. I spread my effort pretty much 50/50 between tributaries of the Clarence and the Richmond and neither disappointed.

It’s time to check out a few of the local dams that did not receive as much angling pressure this year. I promise to diversify my writing away from bass for a while – look out snapper and roll on Autumn!

Like every other Aussie my heart goes out to all those affected by the horrific bushfires in Victoria and the disastrous floods in North Queensland. It drives home what a small, tight-knit nation we live in when many know somebody affected by these horrible events.

For all the latest info call in and see us at Big River Bait & Tackle, 16 River Street, Maclean, or phone us on 0266451834. Country service with city prices.

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