Pelagics most consistent
  |  First Published: April 2009

The fishing along the Coffs Coast has been consistent recently with Spanish mackerel to 29kg coming from the close reefs to the south at Bundagen and Third Headland just below Urunga.

Smaller spotted mackerel have been easier to find with the reefs at Macauleys, Sawtell, Park Beach and Moonee producing fish to 7kg.

Bigger mackerel have been taking live pike, while spotties have been caught on slimy mackerel and yellowtail.

Snapper from 2kg to 4kg are still taking soft plastics with bigger fish starting to make a return as Winter approaches.

Anglers chasing pearl perch on plastics have been having success over the deeper reefs in water to 50m.

Amberjack, kingfish and teraglin to 10kg are being taken in good numbers on bait and lures over reefs from 40m to 70m.

Those chasing marlin have been bumping into fish east of South Solitary Island.

There should also be yellowfin tuna, wahoo and sailfish in this area and the reefs running north to Arrawarra over the coming month.

Marlin have mainly been taken on slow-trolled slimy mackerel but if you do troll for billfish it can pay to use wire in case a mackerel or wahoo takes a liking to your offering.

There are still plenty of mahi mahi around fish trap buoys, the FAD and wave recorders. Best baits for big mahi mahi are slimy mackerel or yellowtail that are cast or slowly trolled next to floating structure.

Inshore there are bonito, cobia, mackerel tuna and longtail tuna feeding on the bait schools congregating along the backs of beaches, breakwalls and east-protruding headlands.

LBG anglers have been getting mack tuna and longtail tuna from Mutton Bird Island, the Southern Breakwall and the Quarry area.

Best baits from the rocks are garfish or yellowtail, both of which can be caught from either breakwall on baited bait jigs, fished under a float for garfish or jigged just off the bottom for yellowtail.

The insides of harbour breakwalls have been fishing very well with live baits during big seas for bream and mangrove jacks.

The bream have been taking live nippers while jacks will take nippers, crabs and live yellowtail. If you're fishing for jacks in the harbour or the rivers then you will need at least 15kg line and 30kg leader to your hook.


The creeks have recovered from the floods and although they are still running a little brown, they are producing jacks and bream in the downstream stretches and bass in the upper reaches.

As the weather cools, bass will still take surface lures in the low light or after dark, with moonless nights my pick for after-hours fizzing and chugging.

Winter bass like to do their surface feeding over weed beds that have water running over the top of them.

Other areas that will produce action after dark include shallow sandy areas that have prawn or shrimp activity, as well as eddies leading into areas with heavy current.

We've had some awesome surface sessions at this time of year casting our lures upstream into heavy current and then slowly blooping our chuggers as they drift along the edges near current eddies, undercut banks or snags.

Rivers that will consistently produce quality bass within a comfortable hour’s drive of the Coffs CBD include the Orara, Bellinger, Nambucca and Coldstream rivers.


On the beaches there have been school jewfish and tailor on North Beach at Repton, while Boambee beach has been fishing well for whiting and bream.

The beaches to the north of town have been producing bigger jewfish to 18kg, with Hills and Sapphire the pick of the spots for jew using beach worms and oily fish baits.

Over the next month I'll be LBG fishing for longtail tuna and slow-trolling the inshore reefs and headlands for mackerel.

As I write we've had another heavy dump of rain and the local bridges have once again gone under, so blue-water fishing may be my only option for the next week or so.

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