Beaches, what beaches?
  |  First Published: June 2009

It should be a pretty good July along this part of the coast, now that the very worst of the wet weather has gone.

The region dodged so many east coast low-pressure systems over Autumn that eventually one had to get us, and it certainly gave the whole area a thorough soaking.

The flooding rains were one thing but the big swells and storm-force winds, combining with a cyclone surge and some of the highest tides of the Winter, were certainly another.

A massive amount of coastline was removed and now resides a few hundred metres out to sea, leaving steep sand cliffs back somewhere near 1988 coastline contours.

Local authorities are just rebuilding beach vehicle entry points, so by the time you read this there should be the makings of some more than decent beach fishing and enough access to enjoy it without having to walk kilometres.

All the sand that was formerly under the frontal dune grass is now formed up into huge sandbanks a few hundred metres seawards but as the westerly weather predominates over coming months, the banks should break up into some interesting and very fish-friendly formations.


Chopper tailor and travelling bream should be the main beach candidates this month although what tailor have dared enter the often dirty water this season have been mostly from a kilo to about 4kg – quite respectable.

There should also be some decent jewfish about, especially after dark when you’ll need to rug up well during what’s normally the coldest month around here.

Early starts on the offshore reefs will also be quite chilly, so dress accordingly.

The snapper should really come into their own this month and there already have been some excellent catches since the flood and the heavy seas.

Much of the action has been on the shallower reefs with even pearl perch in quite close and that should continue this month before the fish gradually head a little wider during August.

You best bet for a crowd-free offshore session will be before July 17, when the annual Evans Head Classic loads up the reefs and the ramps with well over 100 boats most days.


The Richmond River should also clear up a little this month, as long as we don’t get much more rain.

Only the final kilometre or so has been fishable since the flood but we should see the bream, flathead and school jew heading up to about Pimlico or even Wardell in coming weeks.

Mainly because daytime temperatures were quite low after the flood, we did not see the widespread fish kills that floods in warmer months have triggered.

It appears the evil chemistry in the farm drains didn’t have quite the right conditions to produce all that nasty anoxic water and what fish there were upstream at the time of the flood were spared.

Many of the bass, which had gathered between Woodburn and Coraki before the flood, will have been flushed almost to Ballina so they’ll have a long way to swim home this season.

Remember that the bass and perch you do encounter this month and next must be returned to the water unharmed.

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