While the weather has certainly cooled over the past four weeks, the fishing certainly hasn’t.
With the cooler, more stable water currents came some very pleasant surprises.
Perhaps the most unexpected was another short but torrid run of wahoo. There were some real thumpers caught, with fish up to 36kg weighted in.
Considering we usually only get a run of wahoo when the water’s at its hottest, the very belated run in the 22° water was a real surprise.
Because these northern speedsters come and go almost daily, it’s hard to say if there’s likely to be any around by the time you read this report but if you’re out the front of the Jail you could do worse things than drag some high-speed lures around on heavy wire.
There’s also been some great cobia action just off the Jail, with solid fish up to 32kg taking live and dead baits on the inshore reefs.
For the past few years we’ve pretty well seen cobia caught year round. Last year there wasn’t a month that went by without at least a few caught.
Hopefully this is an ongoing trend, and lets hope DPI Fisheries have enough sense to bring in some form of bag and size limits on these quite vulnerable fish.
Unfortunately for some meatheads it’s open slather, fill your boat and sell the catch. The combination of no size and bag limit and no local Fisheries officer is a bad recipe indeed and hopefully one that is rectified in the near future.
Reports of kingfish action at Fish Rock and Black Rock have stirred up a few locals. Kingfish are very welcome customers in these parts and provide keen sport anglers with an ideal lure and fly target during the cooler months.
There are few more exciting ways to spend a morning than casting larger surface lures toward the imposing rocks. Some days nothing happens but, more often than not, big boils and swirls will appear behind the lure, followed by a splashy strike sure to get the heart pumping.
What happens next depends on the size of the fish. Anything under 8kg is usually quite manageable on heavy spin gear. Over that, it’s the combination of sheer brute power exerted at your end and good, old-fashioned luck that will decide the outcome.
Needless to say, don’t head to either location with only one popper.
Some big reds have fallen to baits and plastics on the northern reefs with most of the reef systems inside 35m depth being quite productive.
As the water cools even more we can expect the inshore run of reds to kick into another gear and by late Winter and early Spring, most trips off Grassy and Scotts heads should be very rewarding indeed.
Lets hope this season is a little more exciting than the last and so far things are starting off nicely.
Closer to shore, some quality tailor and bream are around the headlands with Green Island, Gibraltar and North Gap being strongholds for both species. Shore-based and boat anglers have got into the action.
I spoke to a local diver the other day who said there were some schools of tailor up to 6kg near Little Bay. I’d dearly love to land an oversized chopper; I lost one at my feet many years ago that would have gone 8kg and to this day the biggest I’ve landed is only 2.8kg.
I still hope to pin a real horse and according to my diver mate, this may well be the year.
In the Macleay River a good influx of bream (the few that escaped the bloody beach netters) is putting smiles on local faces. As usual, dawn and dusk are the best times to flick out a lure or bait – focus your efforts in the lower reaches.
Some schools of blackfish have also avoided the nets and snuck into the river. Let’s hope numbers are sufficient to keep visiting and local anglers entertained for the Winter.
Flathead have been around in pretty good numbers, although the average size is a lot smaller than over the warmer months. Again, it’s the reaches below Jerseyville that are housing the most fish.
As Winter moves along, all three species will slowly make their way up-river.Reads: 644