A snowy start to May
  |  First Published: April 2009

The Clarence has bounced back nicely from the small amount of flooding we received and by all accounts it's looking like a very early run of good-sized snowy bream is on the cards.

From the mouth of the river through to Lawrence, anglers are catching plenty of fat, legal bream, along with the ubiquitous flathead.

This month the ABT Clarence Super Series bream circus will roll into Maclean and it should be a cracker.

The soapie mulloway that have been in plague proportions over Summer are continuing to put on weight. Many legal fish are now being caught in all the usual haunts like Browns Rocks, Middle wall and Oyster channel bridge.

At this time of year the Clarence will record its highest water temperatures for the year so it is no surprise that there have been a few good mangrove jacks taken.

Allan Rooks, of Maclean, landed a nice 48cm model and lost another one boatside while chasing bream and flathead at Rocky Mouth on the corner of the South Arm. There have also been a few good ones taken from Browns Rocks at Palmers Island.


There are concerns here on the Clarence coast as to what has happened to the run of blue swimmer crabs.

We have not seen any numbers of blue swimmers for several years. Rumours have been rife that the trawlers have hit them hard before they can enter the system, but I am not sure how accurate that is.

But one thing is for sure and that is some investigation needs to be carried out. There is a real fear here that the fishery may have collapsed.

At long last the mackerel decided to make an appearance and the locals and visitors were there to greet them.

As usual, they have been very fussy feeders.

I spent a morning with good mate Brett ‘China’ Young off Woody Head the other week where, after catching plenty of slimies for live bait, we anchored on the inshore Three Minute Ground with plenty of other hopefuls.

With our livies out on fine single-strand wire, we commenced berleying with blue pillie chunks and it wasn't long before we had a handful of spotted mackerel swimming around the transom, slurping down our pilchard cubes and completely ignoring anything that remotely reassembled a hook or wire.

It was quite amazing to watch these fish freely swim up the trail, vacuuming up the cut pillies, only to pause and almost balance the piece with a hook in it and then leave it and swim onto the next piece – frustrating fish!

Trolling live slimies managed to fool a couple, though. And with the prospect of tangling with a few medium-sized cobia on offer, the by-catch can be better than what you are targeting.

The run of longtail tuna has just started and by the time this is in print they should be well and truly in full swing.

Many anglers look forward to their arrival with much anticipation. For many shore-based fishos, this is the only time of the year they can get their game fish fix.

It certainly gets the adrenalin pumping as reel unloads its contents into the ocean at breakneck speed.


The mornings are starting to get a little brisk and when dawn is greeted by a gentle, cool westerly off the land, it’s beginning to feel a lot like snapper time, and the early starters have been rewarded.

Like every coastal area, we have a growing band of inshore kayak anglers and although their craft may be tiny, their catches certainly are not.

They have been giving the close grounds off Woody Head some serious attention and turning up some great fish – snapper, cobia and some too-big-for-comfort whaler sharks have all figured in their catches.

All the noted inshore reefs to the south of the river have also given an early taste of what's in store for a Winter of snapperin’. Big decisions are to be made, Thai green or red? or maybe Sri Lankan tomato curry?

Thank you to those who spotted the obvious mistake in my March column, I realise a 35mm fork length bream is not that big, and of course it should have been 35cm. And the phone number for Big River Bait & Tackle is 02 66451834, I was just checking to see if you were paying attention!

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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