June is shaping up as a cracker of a month.
The Clarence River is fishing superbly, with large numbers of big bream throughout the river.
The Browns Rocks area has been the pick but the lower river training walls, Palmers Island, the Caves, Rocky Mouth and the Wheels at Maclean will also produce plenty of good bream.
If you could only chase flathead once a year in Maclean, June would be the month to do it.
Fishing inside the Broadwater and out on the flats will produce plenty.
If you have been contemplating trying soft plastics but never got around to it, now is the time. Flathead are known in the tackle trade as the ‘training wheels’ for new soft plastic fishers and you will never see the lizards more concentrated than in June.
A couple of years back, a seemingly minor decision was made to suspend trawling in the Shark Bay area, to the north of the river mouth. Following a fresh, school prawns left the river and headed into Shark Bay, where they were followed by hordes of hungry little juvenile mulloway and, in turn, the ocean trawlers.
The outside trawlers do not have fish excluders in them like their river counterparts and lots of these little mulloway were being slaughtered as by-catch. A self-imposed ban instigated by Lower Clarence Fishermen's Co-Op employee John Harrison saved tonnes of these valuable fish.
That act has anglers reaping the rewards right now. In my 13 years of living here, I have never seen anything like the numbers of school mulloway being caught along the coast.
Fish between 3kg and 6kg are so common that many new to soft plastics are catching a schoolie off the beaches or headlands as their first fish with this popular method.
Vibration blades fished on any of the shallow reefs or training walls in the river will turn up plenty as well. The little undersized jewels of last year have grown quickly, with many legal length fish now being caught.
While on the subject of vibration blades, many regularly readers of this column and those who fish the highly successful ABT circuit will know of the Shake ’n' Bake blades we produce and sell through our shop, Big River Bait & Tackle.
We sell plenty through the shop and mail order them all around the country but the one common question we always get asked is ‘Do you have a website where we can see the colours?’ It’s finally happening and a clever man who knows such trickery (he tells me it's all done with computers!) is working feverishly to make it happen, so watch this space.
After what could only be described as a very poor snapper season last Winter off the Clarence Coast, this year is shaping up as a beauty. If the Good Lord will only allow us a dry Winter with no flooding rain, the inshore reefs are set to fire up big-time.
A poor season every few years isn't such a bad thing; the reefs always seem rested and fish extremely well the following year.
Early results have been encouraging and sales of 5” and 7” Gulp Jerk Shads are starting build momentum.
Not so many years back, when the ABT series kicked off, the field consisted of tricked-up little aluminium pointy-nose punts. In what seems like only a heartbeat, now there are so many Skeeters, Tritons, Champions and Stratos working the circuit that they no longer seem noteworthy.
Until now the river boys have pretty much had these imports to themselves, but with a strengthening Aussie dollar and a seemingly ever-smaller world, plus the desire to try something new, US boats with more offshore capability are starting to make their presence felt.
Last year when a mate offered to buy my beloved 4.8m Galeforce centre console, it gave me the opportunity to look around for something bigger. I loved the layout on the Galey; I just wanted a longer boat and a bit more beam – more of security thing, really, as some of the jigging grounds we frequent are 20km or more offshore.
I could not find anything on offer in the Aussie market that really twisted my crank, so it was not long before my attention was drawn towards the US market.
If centre consoles are your thing, then the choice is endless. There are hundreds of options to suit your needs and budget.
I won't bore you with the details, but in the end I decided the one that best suited my needs and budget was a Sea Hunt Triton 186 centre console. The deal was done and a handful of sleepless weeks later, the shiny new boat was parked in the driveway.
That was September 2009 and I wish I could tell you how I spent every waking hour in her at sea, but with work constraints (having only Sundays off) and weather conditions (Sundays are usually rubbish!) I have knocked up an embarrassing 40 hours on the engine.
I am hopeful of some steady weather patterns through Winter to pull plenty of fish aboard.
But I have loved every bit of our 40 hours together and would buy the same boat again tomorrow, although I would go bigger. I don't really need one bigger, it's just a bloke thing!
The Triton 186 handles well at sea, is very stable at rest, well laid out and surprisingly dry with that big flared bow. Mine was a turnkey package; I just added safety gear, sounder/GPS combo and radio and went fishing.
The Yamaha F115 has it topping out at 68kmh but more importantly has enough grunt to handle the Clarence Bar.
SH Marine has been appointed as the Australian distributors of Sea Hunt boats. If they were available here at the time when I purchased mine, I would have bought through them and saved the sleepless nights.
Last year’s Sydney and Brisbane boat shows had a smattering of US imports. With a strong and steady Aussie dollar, I think you may hear the Star Spangled Banner blaring out of speakers at this year’s shows.Reads: 1221