Classic conditions
  |  First Published: November 2009

Now this feels more like it – long, sultry days, muggy with nor’-east winds!

These classic conditions have fired up the fish nicely and here’s hoping the inspirational start will follow right into Summer and beyond.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but at this time of year I tend to go a little bass-mad. There’s just something about the smell of blooming wattle and the buzz of cicadas that has me pacing the house, desperate to go bass fishing.

So far this season the bass run has been terrific, with good numbers of fish biting freely from Kempsey all the way up to and beyond Georges Junction.

That’s a fair chunk of bass water, with good numbers of fish in virtually every pool along the way.

Back in the briny, the warmth has sparked up the local flatties.

It’s been with great relief that baitfish have poured into the Macleay on the run-in tides and the resident flathead, waiting close to the river mouth, have been having a ball.

The bait appears to be whitebait, firm favourites for the old dusky and high on the list for bream, tailor and mulloway also.

Among the gun spots to look for a few flathead are the edges of the shallow weed beds up towards Stuarts Point.

In the main river, try the shallow rock walls just above Jerseyville.

Needless to say, whitebait would be a great bait choice.

Rigged on small ganged hooks and drifted around these areas, there shouldn’t be too many trouble finding some nice fish.

In years gone by, mullet were the main catalyst for jewfish activity but since the beach haulers have near wiped out these valuable bait and food fish, in more recent years it’s been the influx of whitebait that has fired up the local mulloway.

It’s sad that the mullet fishery have been allowed to dwindle to such an extent but the mulloway have proved resilient, focusing on the huge schools of whitebait.

This doesn’t mean you have to use whitebait to catch a mulloway, it simply means they should be actively feeding again (especially around those tide changes) and be happy to take any number of fresh or live baits put their way.

Bream numbers have been terrible all year, so don’t expect miracles with them. What you can expect, though, is more surface activity from the fish available, making it prime time to start flicking small poppers, fizzers and other surface lures around the feeder creeks and oyster leases.

This is a great way to catch bream. It’s all very visual and usually very effective.

Keen local anglers are gearing up for the whiting run.

The warming water should bring schools of whiting up onto the tidal flats looking for a feed.

For keen lure fishos, this spells great fun on surface plugs.

Like most areas, most of the action takes place early and late in the day, with a winning combination being high tide around 6pm. This will put plenty of water over the flats during the exciting, yet all too short, half-light period.


Those heading out to sea have a little more reason to smile.

The main action has been on the kingfish front, with Fish Rock and Black Rock holding good numbers of quality fish.

But, as I found last week, getting the big ones to connect can be a little difficult.

I headed down to Fish Rock with a mate and we had kings from 4kg to 15kg belt our surface lures.

We ended up landing a dozen or so up to 8kg but the bigger fish, despite seemingly smashing the poppers hard, just never found the hooks – frustrating indeed.

If you headed down there with some quality live baits, say slimy mackerel or yellowtail, you’d probably fool a few more quality fish.

The dismal snapper run continues, with only the odd angler scoring quality fish.

It seems many of the big fish never moved inshore this year to spawn and with the water warming daily, catches will only decline.

Speaking of warm water, the other day we had 23° stuff hitting the stones.

This is great news for anglers after pelagic species like cobia, marlin, wahoo and the like because serious blue water doesn’t seem to be too far away.

With a bit of luck, by the time you read this there will be some exciting game fish just off Trial Bay Jail.

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