Avoiding the crowds
  |  First Published: December 2009

The fishing has been fairly good on the river so far this Summer and should continue to improve as we make our way further into the season.

The beginning of January can be a bit trying on the river at times, simply due to the increased number of people on and around the water.

The festive season generally brings out the best and the worst in the many folks that make use of the Tweed and surrounding waterways.

This is a time for all of us to enjoy ourselves and remember that the waterways are there for everyone’s enjoyment and need to be shared. Whether we are skiing, fishing or simply out for a paddle, be aware of the other people on the water and try to be courteous to them.

Increased traffic and clearer water around the lower reaches of the Tweed can make regularly catching good fish a bit tricky during the middle of the day.

I did mention this last month but it really is the key to catching the better class of fish over the holiday period. Added pressure on the water is a factor similar to wind or tide phase that needs to be taken onto account when going fishing, and can be overcome by trying to be on the water when there are fewer boats.

Early morning and late afternoon are the pick of the times but they do limit your bite times.

I generally do most of my holiday fishing at night, after the land breeze has subsided.


The only problem with this is that if you don’t know the river navigation can be a bit hazardous. Traversing the area you intend to fish in the daytime and mapping your route on your GPS can overcome this.

Taking landmarks can be a bit tricky, as they always look different once the sun sets. If you do intend fishing at night, ensure that your navigation lights comply with regulations, that they work – and remember to turn them on.

It is also a very good idea to let someone know where you intend fishing and what time you intend to return.

Big eye trevally, mangrove jacks, flathead, jewies and bream are just some of the species you can encounter in the dark and you can often be surprised by amberjack, cobia or other oceanic species that enter the river to feed at night.

Marine and motorway traffic slows down substantially the later it gets and the sounds of feeding fish can help you locate them.

Lights that shine on the water attract baitfish and thus predatory fish, so are good spots to hit at different stages of the tide.

If fishing at night doesn’t appeal to you and you are still keen, it could be a good idea to look for areas with less traffic.

The upper reaches of the river, or small shallow tributaries of the main river, can often hold quality fish. Remember that the fish still have to eat, even though the river is full of boats.

All the Summer species should be in full swing by January, with whiting one of the main targets.

Any of the shallow flats spread throughout the Tweed will hold numbers of these fish. The key areas to concentrate on are the flats that have good populations of yabbies.


Pelagics will be dominating the scene on the offshore grounds, with trolling and live-baiting the main techniques.

Palm Beach Reef should hold some good numbers of mackerel while the Nine Mile will be the place to look for wahoo.

Any of the inshore reefs that hold concentrations of baitfish will be good areas to look for marlin or, for that matter, other predatory fish.

The early season marlin usually respond well to trolled lures but as the season progresses, live-baiting becomes the main technique.

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