What a difference a month makes! Last report was a little negative, with fickle currents and sporadic captures of decent fish the norm. Now things have turned around markedly, with a great run of mackerel on the northern reefs and some good wahoo down south.
With pumping 25° water hitting the stones, we should have some great action for the next month or so.
Last month you could see the teasing blue water sitting just wide of the coast, but north-east winds kept rolling the water, bringing up the cold green stuff underneath.
Finally, electric blue water hit the shore, belting south at 3 knots and running at between 24° and 26°. This push of new water has plenty of exciting fish swimming in it, with many hitting the northern reefs off Grassy and Scotts heads.
Those heading up north have enjoyed a solid run of spotted and Spanish mackerel, with a real mixed bag of sizes swimming around. One day you'll only get 2kg to 3kg spotties, the next they're all 6kg-plus.
Or you could be lucky like one fellow. As he wound in a small spotted mackerel he saw a huge Spanish follow it in. He quickly rigged up the spotty as a bait and sent it back out, hooking the big mack. Everything certainly fell into place and he ended up boating the 41kg beast.
That would have to be the largest Spanish I've heard caught here in the past 20 years. Pretty amazing, really.
More ‘normal’ Spanish, of 8kg to 12kg, are more realistic if you’re heading to the northern reefs. It seems live slimy mackerel (preferably the larger ones) are the gun bait.
For the spotties, however, cut pilchards and fillets of slimy mackerel are scoring well.
The mackerel should hang around for a month or so, so get out there and enjoy this exceptional run of fish.
There have been a few reports of wahoo mixed with the mackerel. It seems a bit strange that wahoo hit those northern inshore reefs, as they're very close to shore and also in a back eddy mixed largely with run-out tide river water, but I guess they go where the currents takes them.
A more logical place for wahoo is Fish Rock – particularity those swirling currents running either side. When the water's pushing south and hard, those swimming bibless minnows, jet heads and other high-speed lures have scored some top fish.
Trolling minnow lures also works well, covering plenty of water and using far less fuel. So if the current is running hard and blue, it may well be worth a shot running some lures for wahoo.
Back in the Macleay River, good runs of flathead, whiting and school jewfish have kept anglers busy.
Those after a few flatties should try the shallower rock walls. These walls – usually in around 1m to 3m of water – are much easier to fish and often produce some quality fish.
Baits and lures work well, with lures probably having the edge for covering the water more thoroughly.
Also worth a shot are the weedy edges up towards Stuarts Point. There's plenty of good drifting country up that way that will suit the bait guys down to a tee.
A small set of ganged hooks with either whitebait or some tough fish flesh like mullet will work well, although picker bream can be a little annoying at times. But by drifting around you stand a good chance of pinning a nice feed of flathead.
Drifting the same country with beach worms or yabbies is a good way to find some tasty whiting.
So, too, is fishing the nipper beds above Jerseyville on a rising tide. Those shore-based anglers can pump the baits on site and fish the rising waters where they stand.
The boat crews can do much the same – without getting their feet wet!
For pure entertainment it's pretty hard to beat catching whiting on small surface lures. Aggressively worked poppers are usually the most reliable way to trick them.
The run of school jew is powering on, with plenty of 1kg to 3kg fish on offer. There have certainly been a few bigger fish around, though it can be hard getting past all the little tackers. Again, the lower reaches seem the place to head with the deep rock walls close to the mouth well worth a shot with live baits or soft plastic lures.
Up in the fresh water, bass have been keen to play the game, belting surface plugs along the weed edges.
But it won't be long before slow down their feeding habits and think about edging their way towards the brackish zone to spawn. Remember, from June to August it's illegal to have bass in your possession.Reads: 1032