Mackerel misery
  |  First Published: March 2010

We have all had our fingers crossed but it seems that yet again, it’s not shaping up to be a good mackerel season.

This is starting to get a little frustrating and I just hope something happens next year to drag us out of this slump we are in on the Coffs Coast.

Don’t get me wrong – there have been a few mackerel caught this year but you’ve had to work for them.

Most fish are being taken well north or south of Coffs and they have been patchy.

It just seems like its been years since we were able to duck out the front of the Harbour in the tinny, grab some bait and score a bag of mackerel in a couple of hours on a Saturday morning. Why are cursed? What did we do to deserve this?

Let’s just hope we have some consistent weather this month with some warm water to get the fish biting a little closer to home.

With mackerel hard to come by, my recent kayaking exploits have turned to throwing plastics for snapper in a bid to make each trip worthwhile – and the reds have definitely picked up the slack.

As most of the quality mackerel catches I’ve heard of have been south of Coffs, that’s where I’ve focused my kayak efforts.

Wenonah Head, or Third Headland as it’s more commonly known, has been fishing well and is a great spot to hit from the kayak.

It is a nice, easy beach launch and you are instantly over acres of broken reef – ideal ground to tow a lure or livie or to drop a plastic pretty much wherever you are when you need a break.

At least the game fishing front has been a little better than the mackerel, but it’s still on and off. Warm water up to 28° around the 30-fathom mark has been producing the odd billfish, with a few up to 100kg being taken.

As always, the mahi mahi are still patrolling the FAD, wave recorder and fish traps and there are plenty up to a few kilos to be had.

Jigging and throwing big plastics around the islands has also accounted for plenty of small kings.


I have been spending a lot of nights soaking baits on the southern beaches in search of jewfish.

They have been elusive but there are plenty of quality tailor hanging around the gutters to keep me occupied. Good fish of 3kg-plus are regular and at times can push your patience to its limit as every second fish bites you off, taking hooks, leader and bait with nothing to show for it.

Throwing poppers for whiting has made a bit of a comeback lately with plenty of fish being taken on the flats.

Take some small, clear poppers and shrimp imitations and check out the weed beds on the flats in Boambee creek, Bonville Creek or the lagoon at Urunga.

To get a piece of the action, fast retrieves and skipping lures to imitate fleeing prawns will get their attention.

The temperature will start to drop a little now as we get into Autumn and there should start to be greater numbers of quality bream around the ocean rocks and lower rock walls in the estuaries.

With all the rain and fresh in the rivers over Summer, there were regular catches of bass in the brackish zones so we will probably be seeing a lot of bass moving into the salt nice and early.

Fish normal bream plastics around structure high up the estuaries and you should be able to come across a few nice bass.

This month I will start doing just that – some comfortable bassin’ from my boat rather than dragging canoes up and down rapids all night.

I will also be hitting the rock walls throwing plastics and hardbodies for bream and I’ll be keeping an eye on the weather because I reckon I still have a few more shots at a mackerel from the ’yak but if that’s not to happen, I’m sure the snapper will keep me occupied.

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