There’s plenty to enjoy
  |  First Published: May 2010

It’s time to break out the beanie – and maybe even the gloves – for some of those early starts but the pleasant, warm days soon take over and with a rod in your hand, there’s plenty to feel warm about.

Although the air might be getting nippy, the ocean still has a lot of cooling to do and there are plenty of viable targets offshore, along the beaches and in the lower rivers.

With little in the way of damaging rain to report this Autumn, the ocean has remained quite clean and the surface fish have lingered.

This month we can expect some rewarding snapper action over the inshore reefs as the reds gather into loose pre-spawn aggregations.

Some of the hottest fun will be in the shallows on those short, cloudy days when the bite keeps going well into the morning.

On the sunny days the best of the shallow snapper fishing is over by 8am or a little after, although if you head out a little deeper you can prolong the bite, especially if there’s a tide change coming up – the reds seem to chew well then.

There’s also a pretty strong chance of the mackerel sticking it out for a few more weeks, especially if the water remains fairly warm.

If they do keep feeding over the reefs off Brunswick, Ballina and Evans, some of the spotties should be approaching 9kg or even bigger. A spot that size will go harder and faster than a Spaniard of similar proportions, I reckon.

June is also about waterspouts and whales. When a stormy cold front rolls through, the up-draughts off the warm ocean create some pretty wild rotating cells that produce the typical waterspout – awesome from a distance and just plain scary up close.

The humpback whale migration should be in full swing, with slow cows lumbering north to give birth off Central Queensland and bunches of feisty males following.

I’m glad more people are seeing the link between the migrating whales and the cobia that seem to follow them. I’ve lost count of the number of cobes that I’ve hooked within sight of pods of whales.


Back off the beaches and headlands, the whole food chain is in full swing, from the migrating whitebait, pilchards, mullet, bream and blackfish up to the predatory tailor, jewfish and sharks.

On the calm, glassy days it all happens within a short cast from dry sand or rock, and whenever there’s a touch of rough weather the first bit of shelter nearby can be a real fish soup.

If that bit of shelter happens to be the mouth of an estuary, the fun can really start as the travelling fish mingle with the locals that are all gathered in the lower reaches ready to run to sea as well.

Although the bream will have spawning on their mind, they’ll still eat at times and the bases of the rock walls in the lower rivers will have plenty of fish searching for a meal.

By-catch will include some decent flathead, blackfish, school jew and even estuary perch. That’s a pretty rewarding estuary mixed bag in anyone’s books.

The EPs must be returned unharmed to the water under the June-September spawning closure.

The same applies for the bass, which should be doing their thing a little higher up the rive systems. If the rain stays away, the fish mightn’t have as far to travel to find water brackish enough for their liking, but then again we mightn’t see the numbers of fish taking the free ride on the breeding journey that a flood affords.

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