Fishing along the Coffs Coast has been good in recent weeks with the warm water and big cobia keeping the boaties occupied with fish from 10kg to 50kg.
While many boaties are happy to keep the first big cobe of the morning and let the others go, there are still plenty of unthinking anglers who have been happily been slaughtering these majestic but very dumb game fish for months on end.
Call me a hypocrite if you like, I've taken my fare share of cobes from the stones over the years, but here's a growing band of sport fishers who believe some sort of upper size limit needs to be brought in for cobia.
At least some research on their breeding and life cycles needs to be done at heavily-fished centres like Coffs, South West Rocks or Port Stephens.
Snapper on soft plastics have continued to amaze with fish from to 8kg making it back to the ramp on most weekends when the small boaties can get offshore. Locations as close to the harbour as Pig Island and as far out to sea as South Solitary Island have been producing snapper on the drift, anchor or electric outboard for those patient enough to work their 3/8oz and 1/2oz jig heads just off the bottom.
In a similar fashion there have been some great school jewfish taking plastics cast along the edges of the inshore bommies from the beaches and headlands.
Schools of whitebait have been taking shelter in the corners of the deeper beaches and creek mouths late in the afternoons. Diving terns usually signal their presence and when this occurs, tailor, jewfish and bream are never far away.
Anglers throwing metals will do well on tailor, while bait and soft plastics should get jew and bream feeding deeper in the water.
At night there have been bigger jew for those soaking big baits such as mullet or tailor fillets. Hills, Sapphire and Moonee beaches have been productive on jew, while bigger tailor have been coming from around Station Creek and Pebbly Beach.
Game fishers have found striped marlin, mahi mahi, striped tuna and the odd yellowfin tuna keen to take trolled lures, with the area just inside the continental shelf producing most of the bigger fish.
Further inshore, towards the Solitary Islands, there have been kingfish, cobia and longtail tuna. While there are still mackerel around as I write, one of the worst spotted mackerel seasons in memory is all but over with only the odd Spanish hanging around pockets of warm inshore water.
In the estuaries there are plenty of bream around the deeper oyster leases, while flathead and jew are taking bigger plastics and live baits around the drop-offs in the Kalang/Bellinger and Nambucca systems.
Further upstream, bass have been biting above Fernmount in the Bellinger and at Boat Harbour in the Nambucca system.
I visited Glenbawn Dam for the first time in over a decade last weekend while on a rugby trip to Muswellbrook. My son, Kurt, and I walked the banks around the eastern foreshore and had great fun hooking solid golden perch on diving minnows.
While the fishing was fun, it was disappointing to see the amount of beer bottles and bait packaging left lying near almost every decent shore-based vantage point. I hate to be a whinger but some among our ranks are totally shameless.
Over the next month I'll be fishing the beach for jew and the estuaries for bream. The cooler months can produce great inshore action if you're prepared to brave the cold.Reads: 1957