May is generally the start of the Winter fishing here on the Tweed with most of the cold-water species starting to make their presence felt.
Cool, misty conditions will often be synonymous with early starts, especially on the upper reaches of the river. If the weather gives us a good go then the fishing should be worth it, though.
Although the water in the river is not yet cool enough in May for the main schools of bream to arrive, there are normally enough around to keep most anglers happy.
Keeping an eye on the schools of fish that hang around the cleaning table slides and boat ramps is always a good indication of when the larger sea-run bream arrive. Throughout the Summer the bream that hang around these areas are generally small with the odd good fish lurking on the fringes, but as soon as the water temperature drops you will notice a significant size change.
It can often be a fairly ego-deflating experience if you stop at the boat ramp after a trying bream session on the river and a large school of horse bream congregates behind the boat as soon as you stop next to the ramp!
Lighter line is often necessary to tempt these bigger fish as the water cleans up on the larger tides.
Tailor should also show up in all their usual haunts in the river. Their presence is quickly indicated by their uncanny ability to snip off jig heads meant for bream and flathead.
The Tweed River can often hold some really good-sized tailor through the Winter and there is a fairly large contingent of fishos who target them by trolling minnows, slugs, live bait or even just filleted or whole dead baits.
The mouth area up to the gravel patch at Kennedy Drive boat ramp and Barneys Point bridge is the general area that holds consistent numbers of tailor. If we don’t experience a lot of rain, they make their way right up the system and can be a chance encounter as far as Murwillumbah.
The blackfish will just be showing, with the main schools arriving later in Winter, although as with the bream, there should be enough around to start honing your float fishing skills.
Keep an eye on the rock walls that have easy access. As soon as the numbers of luderick arrive these spots are lined with keen float fishos.
The upper reaches of the Tweed will start to fire well with good numbers of bass making their way into the main river to fatten up for their spawning run. Topwater lures, small spinnerbaits and minnows fished along the bank structure will produce these fish, which hit a lure extremely hard and are great fun to catch.
Beanies, jackets and cups of hot coffee will be the go this month as the early starts definitely get a lot cooler. The snapper on the inshore and offshore reefs will really start to show as the temperature continues to drop.
Floatlining and soft plastics are the two most popular techniques to target these fish.
To show the fish something different this Winter, we will be looking at slow trolling live and whole dead baits on downriggers as another option.
We have already been getting a few of 2kg to 4kg on the livies while targeting Spaniards and the reds are not shy to hit the baits.
As the whales start to show up in greater numbers there should also be a few more cobia. Don’t write off wahoo and Spaniards just yet as they will still be a viable targets.Reads: 1612