Action on all fronts
  |  First Published: May 2010

The tail end of Autumn produced some terrific weather and some equally good fishing, with the offshore grounds and the estuary fishing well.

And with some nice fish cruising the beaches and rocks, shore-based anglers are also getting a few.

The offshore crew have been rejoicing with a good run of mackerel and some quality cobia on the local reefs.

Warm blue water has continued to flow down, bringing mackerel and cobia plus other flighty pelagics like yellowfin tuna and wahoo.

The key – as always – is being on the water the days the current is in and pushing south hard.

While lately this hasn't been too difficult, at this time of year the currents can begin to slow and change, especially if foul weather and big southerly swells push in. We should see a few more weeks of good stable weather so get out there!

Last month the spotted mackerel were thick, taking pretty well anything that hit the water. Now, however, they're a little fussier, with small slimy mackerel being the ideal bait to tempt these wiser speedsters.

The Spanish mackerel seem long gone, with no reports for a few weeks now.

Replacing the Spanish seem to be cobia. Most of the cobia action has been south, with Black Rock and Hat Head holding good numbers of quality fish.

Live yellowtail or small slimy mackerel have brought quite a few sizable fish undone.

The warm water hasn't put the kings off, with pretty good numbers of fish at Fish Rock and Black Rock. Those working knife jigs have scored fish up to 7kg and those with larger live baits are pulling some fish well over 10kg.

Surface lures are also well worth a shot, usually tempting some good fish early in the piece. But for consistency, it's pretty hard to beat a struggling live yellowtail or slimy.


With the inshore run or tailor, mullet and bream in full swing, the local headlands and beaches have really come to life.

Dawn and late arvo sessions with ganged hooks and pilchards will turn up some nice tailor and a few bream.

To target the bream more specifically, cast baits of mullet or tuna or cut sections of pilchards on single 2/0 hooks and a small amount of lead.

Floating lightly weighed chunks of pilchards in the wash is a great way to tempt some quality sea-run bream.

Back in the Macleay River, the warm water has kept the flathead happy on the run-in tide, with pretty good numbers of fish around a kilo hugging the shallow rock walls and weed beds.

The falling tide is noticeably cooler and you'll probably do better chasing bream and blackfish below Jerseyville Bridge and up towards Stuarts Point.

Jewfish numbers are steady, though most are only around a kilo or so. There have been a few bigger fish caught on live baits after dark along the walls.

With the mullet running, there should be some big fish moving around and as long as they don't get wiped out by the greedy beach haulers hovering at the river mouth, we can expect a few big fish over the next few months.

Those keen on bass have been finding good numbers of fish around Greenhills, just above Kempsey. A few larger females are starting to think about heading down-river to spawn and with the closed season upon us, we can expect a lot fewer perch will be poled out over the Winter months.

Like it or not, the closed season on bass is here to stay and I for one am happy to see these terrific sport fish not hammered by the meatheads.

Now if I&I Fisheries could use some our hard-earned licence money to buy out all the beach haulers and estuary netters, rather than just put out one lousy FAD 16km out to sea where only those with big boats can reach it, we might see fish stocks around South West Rocks boom again.

As it stands local fish numbers have been on a pretty scary downhill run around here, and particularity in the past 10 years. Mulloway, bream and snapper have been reduced to frightening levels.


Kingfish have been enjoying the warm water at Fish Rock and Black Rock. This 5kg model clobbered a Halco Roosta popper.

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