A hot way to end things
  |  First Published: November 2009

Warming ocean and land temperatures will ensure excellent fishing in the Coffs region over the coming month.

Inshore bait schools will start to build up and the pelagic fishery that the area is famous for will hit full tilt, with yellowfin tuna, kingfish, longtail tuna, spotted mackerel, wahoo and Spanish mackerel all within reach of the small-boat sport angler.

To guarantee success you will need to catch some quality live baits such as slimy mackerel, pike or yellowtail and then slowly troll them around inshore reefs and pinnacles.

Live baits can be caught on the Park Beach Bommie, Whitmores Reef off Boambee and just to the south of Split Solitary Island.

Popular mackerel reefs are the aforementioned bait grounds plus the Bundagen Headland, South Solitary Island and the extensive reef systems off Third Headland at Urunga, Safety Beach near Woolgoolga and off Arrawarra.

Those chasing snapper will find great fishing around the mackerel reefs in water from 10m to 40m.

Many anglers like to fish at anchor over reef and send live baits out under balloons for mackerel and then set up a berley trail and drift baits and lures back for snapper.

If chucking metal lures or poppers is your go, you can't beat the island and headland washes that abound in this region, where kingfish, tailor, GTs, bonito and the odd mackerel get in on the act.

If you find a sandy wash, don't be afraid to throw some weighted plastics around – pulling jewfish back to a boat is a lot easier than fighting them from the stones.

On the rocks, the LBG crew will be sending yellowtail, garfish, mullet and live tailor seaward in the hope of snagging something big.

The three most popular spots are Sawtell Headland, Mutton Bird Island and the Southern Breakwall. Catching bait in situ in this region is tricky, so you'll need to catch your bait in the harbour or from a local creek and carry it onto the rocks in buckets.

Garfish can be caught under floats on the inside of the southern breakwall and yellowtail can be caught on baited jigs on the seaward side of both breakwalls.


In the saltwater creeks the bream and mangrove jack will keep the canoe-based fishos on their toes, with surface poppers doing the job on the bream and big, gold, flashy, hard-bodies interesting the jacks.

Further up river the bass will be looking up, with poppers, fizzers and chuggers the most popular and successful lures over the Summer.

The best time to fish the surface is when the cicadas are active – the louder the buzz, the better the fishing.


On the rocks and beaches there will be good tailor in the washes at Mutton Bird, Moonee, Emerald and the Quarry, with big poppers or diving minnows doing the trick early and late in the day.

On the sand, beach worms will interest school jew at Sapphire and Woolgoolga Back beaches, with soft plastic lures working well around the broken headlands to the north of town.

If you're after a feed of whiting or bream you can't go past Boambee Beach in town and North Beach near Repton.

This is my last report: My family is moving to less fishy climes back in Sydney –crazy, I know.

I wrote my first report in 2000 and for the past 10 years have enjoyed keeping locals and visitors informed about the great sport fishing to be found around Coffs Harbour.

I've really enjoyed working with two great editors Peter Horrobin and Tony Zann and I wish Tony all the best as he captains the magazine into 2010 and beyond. Tight Lines.

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