The Tweed region is great during the winter months. The weather becomes fairly stable and the summer’s southeasterly chop diminishes offering boaties more access to the ocean.
The inshore reefs around Fidos, Cook Island and the Mud Hole all become popular haunts for anglers trying to get an early morning fish in for a few tasty snapper, sweetlip or a bonus jewfish.
By now the cooler water would have moved in closer and these areas should be fishing fairly consistently. Casting plastics, float lining or live baiting will be accounting for the majority of the fish in these areas, and the guys that are willing to put in the early starts or late finishes will reap the rewards.
Tailor are also a good target species, especially for those that don’t enjoy getting their feet wet on the beaches. Heading out through the bar and working the outer edges of the beach gutters by casting slugs or trolling minnows out of a boat can be great fun. The action can be thick and fast if you find schools of tailor busting up on the surface. Bird life is often a dead giveaway to the presence of feeding tailor or baitfish.
Try to be a bit cautious when approaching a patch of birds or tailor visibly feeding on the surface as the presence of the boat can often put the fish down. Try to back off the fish instead making long casts to the edges of the main school. Let your slug sink a bit before retrieving as the larger specimens can be hanging a bit deeper than the school fish.
A word of caution when doing this type of fishing though, it can be quite easy to get caught up in the action and forget about the conditions. Just remember to keep a vigilant eye on the waves and be aware of where you are, as the odd swell can stand up and put you in strife.
The river mouth area is the place to be throughout the winter months as most of the fish behaviour is motivated by their instinct to spawn and feed. Black fish, bream and mullet all school up around the rock walls and lower reaches of the river and if the water temperature gets down enough the fishing can get top notch.
The last two years have been fairly average on the bream front. Although there were some good fish to be had the numbers were not really up there so it will be interesting to see just how this season shapes up.
The north and south main rock walls at the entrance to the river can often produce some cracking bream in July, with the wash areas along the edges of the walls being the main target areas. It is not necessary to make long casts out into the middle of the river as you are simply casting onto the sandy bottom. Instead try to concentrate your efforts by fishing lightly weighted baits close in or just on the edges of the wash. This way you stand a much better chance at the bigger fish. A longer rod will help you keep your line clear of the rocks and also aid you in keeping the larger fish from busting you off once hooked.
You will get snagged on the odd occasion by doing this but the results can often be worth the effort. If you concentrate your fishing time around the tide changes or lulls in the surges created by the wave action then you should lessen your chances of getting snagged. Once again just remember to keep an eye on the weather as the odd swell can be a problem around the ends of the walls.
Black fish will be a definite option on most of the rock walls and around the bridges in the lower reaches of the river. Once these fish arrive in good numbers everyone can get in on the action. Obviously some guys will be better at catching them than others but last year there were fishos with little spin rods fishing next to seasoned float anglers with long rods all catching their share of black fish.
I haven’t done much of this type of fishing so wouldn’t even try to begin to tell you were to start, instead head into Angler’s Warehouse for some tips on techniques or rigs or spend an afternoon watching a few of the guys that know what to do and you will pick it up fairly quickly.
The upper reaches of the Tweed still produce a few good fish this month but not as consistently or the numbers that the lower reaches produce. Bass will be around in good numbers but remember that the season is now closed for these great little sporting fish as they too begin spawning.
The wider grounds will still produce the odd blue marlin with the chance of a few yellowfin. As the water temp drops and the current slows down the chances of striped marlin will also increase. These fish can be can be targeted by fishing the area just shallower than the Continental Shelf.
Winter can be a great time on the river as the boat traffic slows right down and although the weather cools off the fishing usually makes up for it.
July is a top month for targeting kingfish like this one caught on the Charter Boat RU4REEL out of the Tweed.
The wider grounds will be a good option in July.
Down riggers are accounting for a variety of fish on the Tweed reefs.Reads: 2636