The thrill of the chill!
  |  First Published: May 2010

Activity on the Tweed waterways generally slows down a lot from June, with most of the traffic limited to fishos, especially early in the mornings.

Cold, misty mornings are the norm over Winter on the river, making any trip in an open boat an interesting experience if you intend using your hands afterwards!

The farther up river you go, the colder it gets, although wrapping your hands around a nice cup of warm coffee should sort that out – and early morning is still one of the best times to be on the water.

All the Winter species should be well settled into the river, the beaches and offshore, with blackfish and bream in the rivers, snapper and pearl perch on the reefs and tailor on the beaches the main target species.

If the early signs are anything to go by, the blackfish season could be a good one, with these popular fish already showing themselves in reasonable numbers.

A few years ago we had a cracker of a season with schools of luderick working up and down the river so there’s hope we’ll see some of this action. June is generally the start of the season with the numbers normally increasing from here on in.


Bream are already making their presence felt in the river, with reports of some good-sized fish being caught. The numbers of bream that are around this month is normally a good indication of what is to come later in the Winter season.

The area around the hospital will hold the better class of fish but the currents can often make fishing around there a challenge.

The Blue Hole, the rock walls at Fingal and the gravel patch in front of the Kennedy Drive boat ramp are all popular haunts if you are after a few bream.

Soft plastics on jig heads ranging from 1/12oz to 1/8oz, depending on the amount of run in the water, are among the most consistent catchers of bream in these areas.

If you are after the bigger models then a live herring on a rig consisting of a small, free-running pea sinker and a single hook is hard to beat. The bigger bream can’t swim past a live herring, or even a whole dead one, and the by-catch can be pretty interesting. Flathead, trevally and tailor can be just as fond of herring.

June also marks the start of the bass closed season in the rivers of NSW so the upper reaches of the Tweed are pretty much out of bounds to those of us wanting to pin a few of these hard-fighting natives. But that is not the end of the world, there will be plenty of other species to keep us busy.


Snapper will be dominating the offshore captures this month, especially on the inshore reefs. Float-lining and casting soft plastics will be the main two techniques used for these great table fish.

Anchoring up in the pre-dawn light and getting a berley trail going while slowly floating back your baits is a really good way to fish. And if you have picked the right area, the action can be pretty good just on daybreak.

Just a word of caution if you are heading out and see a boat anchored and engaged in fishing: Try not to run around the back of the vessel if you intend driving past, as the crew will generally have a berley trail going and the larger snapper are extremely sensitive to boat noise.

Rather, try to head around the front of the vessel, giving the occupants plenty of room to enjoy a morning or afternoon on the water. It is the decent thing to do and I am sure that if you were the one anchored up, you would definitely appreciate the common courtesy.

The area from Cook Island all the way to Nine Mile Reef and north across to the Mud Hole is dotted with hard rock and rubble country, so there is no shortage of good areas to fish.

The snapper generally move around with the baitfish and on some days, certain areas fish better than others. The deeper grounds also fire well from June onwards as the current slows down and will also produce their fair share of quality snapper.

Yellowtail kings, samson fish and amberjacks will be hitting jigs and live baits on the deeper grounds, while pearl perch, trag and parrot will be options for the guys bottom fishing.

Hopefully the dreaded leatherjackets will hold off a bit this winter, but judging by recent years they seem to be a recurring menace throughout the Winter, making fishing the deeper reefs a bit tricky at times.

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