With significant rainfall for the last month, the rivers and inshore waters along the Coffs Coast should be starting to clear up and the fishing should improve.
Offshore game fishermen have found yellowfin tuna and all three species of marlin in the waters along the Continental shelf. Most fish have taken large skirted lures, although slow trolled live slimy mackerel or striped tuna have also been taking marlin and larger tuna. The Solitary Islands are currently home to schools of big Spanish mackerel and wahoo. Slow trolling live baits near bait schools, drop offs, island wash lines and current lines, should provide late season action for small boat sportfishers.
Closer to shore, snapper and kingfish have been biting well over reefs in water from 15-50m of depth. Snapper to 7kg and kings to 12kg have been taken over pinnacles in 30m of water. Kings love a live yellowtail or slimy mackerel bait, while snapper have been taking plastics and fresh cut fish baits such as slimies or tuna. Versatile boat fishers have also been spinning the island and headland washes, with 60-85g metals taking tailor to 2.5kg and big, lightly weighted soft plastics have been taking kings to 5kg.
Beach and rock fishermen have found school jewfish in large numbers, with plenty of smaller fish feeding actively in the washes along beaches, break walls and inshore bommies. There have been big tailor from one to 3.5kg taken on poppers and hard bodied shallow divers at Mutton Bird Island, Emerald Headland and Woolgoolga Headland.
LBG fishers have been hooking longtail tuna and mackerel tuna at all the usual rock possies, with the southern break wall the pick of the spots in recent weeks. If you are thinking of live baiting the south wall then bait can be caught from the jetty and carried in, or garfish can be caught on the harbour side of the wall and yellowtail jigged off the bottom on the eastern side of the wall. Long drifts are not needed from the wall as tuna, kings and mackerel all patrol the wash line at the base of the huge concrete boulders.
In the rivers bass and bream have been biting well with good numbers of bass taking surface lures and divers in the upper freshwater reaches of the Kalang, Bellinger, Nambucca, Orara and Clarence rivers before the floods. My mates and myself have been landing good bass to 46cm just before the rain on surface lures in the low light periods. Due to the massive summer flooding there are plenty of new snags in the rivers and much of the country has changed significantly for the first time in about 8 years. I'm really looking to discovering new territory over the next few months of winter fishing.
Bream have been taking hardbodied divers and plastics around the oyster leases and on the edges of gravel bars in the Bellinger and Kalang rivers.
School jewfish have been biting well on plastics and live baits in the deeper sections of these same rivers, particularly around bridge pylons and rock shelves. Bigger jewfish have been taking live baits and lures along the break wall on the Nambucca River and the Wall at Urunga. The northern beaches have also produced jewfish with Hills, Campbell's, Sapphire and Woolgoolga back beach being the best of the jew possies for those using worm baits and plastics.
Over the next month I'll be heading up to Station Creek chasing tailor and jewfish on lures, while enjoying a camp over with my mates. The local creeks will also be worth visiting for bream and jewfish, with the odd, accidental, down stream bass thrown in.Reads: 3431