Lots of water, some salty!
  |  First Published: May 2009

In my final paragraph in the May issue I was moaning that it had started raining again. Less than two hours after pressing the email send button, the room I had been sitting in to pen my thoughts had 1.5m of brown water running through it!

Thankfully that was not at my house, but thousands of other Coffs residents who live in low-lying areas got smashed by the second flood to hit the region this year and the are was declared a disaster zone.

The follow-up to the flood was a month of heavy seas, which stirred up the already brown inshore waters and added massive amounts of kelp to an ocean full of rubbish washed out of local estuaries.

A mate spotted a late-model white Ford ute getting washed down a local creek towards the surf line – thankfully, the occupants had abandoned the vehicle. Residents living along the Kalang River lost a stack of backyard gear including dozens of boats and pontoons.

While most people do the right thing and report washed up property to the authorities, it was disappointing to hear of the theft of boats and outboards that washed up on local beaches.

A Newry Island resident's tinny washed up on North Beach, near Repton. A local surfer informed him of its whereabouts but in the intervening few hours before he arrived to claim his property, some louse had knocked off the outboard.

Although times of disaster can bring out the best and worst in people, most flood stories were of positives.

Thankfully most of the lowlifes who exist in all communities can't get their act together enough to go fishing regularly, but when they do they're probably the ones who leave crap all over the beaches or rocks. If you know of someone who has suddenly ‘acquired’ a boat or motor, tell the police.


The offshore fishing has been surprisingly good with blue 25° water out on the continental shelf producing blue marlin, striped marlin and yellowfin tuna.

The brown inshore water has a distinct colour change about 800m out and there have been mackerel and longtail tuna feeding actively along this very obvious tide line

. Large seas have made it hard for rock fishers and small boaties to get out, but those who have picked their days have found the bait grounds productive, with large schools of slimy mackerel attracting a wide range of pelagics. The stars have included Spanish mackerel to 18kg, longtail tuna to 21kg, yellowfin to 18kg and kingfish to 14kg.

I fished the rocks at Mutton Bird Island recently and found some greenback tailor from 1.2kg to 2.1kg that took a liking to my gold hard-bodied barra lures.

Casting these big lures around the washes on 15kg threadline tackle, I had a ball landing four big tailor and losing twice as many when they jumped and threw the trebles.

The smallest tailor was sent out under a balloon on my heavy LBG tackle but nothing was interested in the kilo-plus chopper.

Speaking of LBG, we made the trip down to Hat Head and found the water much cleaner than at Coffs, with a good current flowing from the north past the famous Korogoro Point.

While we didn't turn a reel on anything significant, there have been longtail tuna and cobia caught at the Hat head and Hungry Head.

Our morning's spin session with metal lures and poppers accounted for five small mack tuna and a lone GT. The only Spanish mackerel caught from the stones at Coffs came from a ledge to the south of town and took a live tailor on sunrise.

It is always worth trying big baits on 100lb wire if you want big fish.


While the creeks and estuaries around Coffs will need a month of minimal rain to clean up, there have been plenty of estuary species such as bream, whiting, flathead and even luderick coming from corners of local beaches.

Dale Graham and his dad, Harvey, picked up five huge luderick using nippers for bait at Diggers Beach and there have been mangrove jack caught at Sawtell and Boambee beaches by those fishing for bream using mullet strips.

There have also been some snapper to 6kg coming from the rocks on bait.

Long-range casting near the Quarry and down at Sawtell has been getting anglers into the sort of water that big snapper like. As they say, fish are where you find them!

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