Although the coast cleared up very quickly after recent flash flooding, the local rivers did struggle a little longer and murky waters hung around in some of the smaller creeks for a while rain.
This was especially noticeable on the bottom of the tides, but definitely didn’t worry the fish.
There have been some big flathead hanging around and they’ve been more than happy to take a soft plastic dropped in front of them.
If you’re planning to target some of those larger fish, be sure to use bigger plastics of 5” and up and really cover the water – especially if you’re working the murky stuff. Those big flatties can be pretty lethargic at times so you need to get those baits right in front of their noses to get them into it.
Many won’t be bothered unless it looks like a pretty substantial feed.
The dirty water out of the river mouths sends many of us running for our jewfish luring gear and I found myself hitting a few local spots pretty hard for many weeks after the floods.
Squidgy Slick Rigs and big Berkley Jerk Shads accounted for quite a few school jewfish and there were some better quality models found around the rocks south of Coffs, near Nambucca and the Southern beaches.
Very early on in the Summer, I heard a few whispers of some small spotted mackerel coming from north of Coffs and with the warmer water now well and truly upon us, it shouldn’t be long before we start seeing more.
Trolling minnows like Halco Laser Pro 160s and 190s and Rapala X-Raps is a very effective way of finding the larger mackerel, especially Spaniards.
If you’re going to fish livies, remember to cover the area where you found them.
Where there’s bait there are likely to be predatory fish and there’s no point getting a livewell full of slimies and then cruising away from the school to search for fish.
They will often be hanging right there where you find the bait – and don’t forget the wire!
The snapper have done their part of late and there are still quality reds consistently being taken on plastics. Large Gulp Jerk Shads are still the lures of choice but the guys fishing baits have been getting some great pearl perch to complement a feed of reds.
I had hoped that the extra fresh water might have opened up the mouth of one the area’s prime mangrove jack hot spots, the Bonville/Pine creek system.
It did give the mouth a bit of a workout but unfortunately left a lot of sand at the top of the flats where the two creeks meet.
This area is now virtually impassable in a boat at any time other than high tide and even then it’s not that flash.
I guess you could say it’s a good way to keep the nuts (like me) from flying up and down these small creeks all day and all night but in the end, it’s the creeks will suffer.
There is little water flow when they get all silted up like that and we will start to see things like weed beds disappearing, which has happened already in places up Pine.
I suppose the only thing worse is if we try to fix it ourselves. Once humans step in, I find we rarely tend to step back out.
So hopefully this gem of a system might open up a little more itself over time.
I will stick with the kayak in the upper reaches and will wade the lower flats for now.
On the topic of flats, there has been plenty of action available around the shallow weed beds in the southern systems.
Poppers have been attracting plenty of bream, whiting and flathead but the average size of fish has been, well, average. There’s still plenty of fun to be had, though.
As I write, I’m re-planning a trip to South East Queensland to hit the barra impoundments for a few days. I say re-planning because rain wiped out my initial plan and inconsistent weather but I hope that by the time you read this I will have had my Barra fix – for a while, anyway.
But in between work and the short trip north there should be no worries finding a few jacks in the creeks and plenty of bass up further.
This year I may even attain a Summer goal – to catch a Spaniard from my kayak. Maybe this time next month I’ll have one – or maybe just one less leg…
The 16th Coffs Harbour Hot Current game fishing tournament in mid-November attracted entrants from all over the countryside to pit their skills and knowledge against a number of game and sport fish.
It was looking pretty average prior to the event, with the area lashed by two flash floods only a week apart. This resulted in some water in close resembling my morning coffee, but there was a hint of blue water hanging just on the edge of the horizon.
But Coffs came through with flying colours and the blue water crept back in fast and before we knew it, the good stuff was back on our doorstep.
The Coffs Harbour Game Fishing Club again did an outstanding job with the tournament, which this year attracted a great number of entrants and produced some memorable catches.
A total of 44 boats and 178 anglers competed, catching 10 Marlin, five yellowfin, tuna, five sharks, 30mahi mahi, 10 kings and a short-billed spearfish.
The warm water pushed south just in time and brought the blue marlin with it. Blues dominated marlin captures, with eight in total.
Champion male mangler was George Clift on Running Bear and Heather Purvis on Foreign Exchange was champion female. Young Jakob Murphy, fishing from Dad’s Boat, was junior champion with his 18kg mahi mahi.
It was great to see local boat On Business, skippered by John Hardwick and Bob Crutchfield, took out champion boat tag and release, most marlin and highest pointscore for marlin.
The anglers, sponsors and, of course, the Coffs Harbour Game Fishing Club all deserve thanks and congratulations for such a fantastic weekend of game fishing.Reads: 868