Whinge and win!
  |  First Published: April 2010

I whinged loudly last month and the mackerel came on the chew locally just about the time the April issue would have arrived in everyone’s hands.

Their timing couldn’t have better really as they kicked into gear just before the local mackerel competition, I guess you could say they kept everyone on their toes until the last minute – perfect strategy from the mackerel’s stance.

There has been outstanding weather and fantastic mackerel fishing over the past couple of weeks, not that it has helped my cursed kayak!

NSWFM editor Tony Zann dropped in the other week and was keen to hear the latest news on my kayak mackerel mission but still with no news to report, I hit the water the very next day and came as close to my goal as I’ve been – losing two mackerel. So at this stage I haven’t had one to the kayak.

My misfortunes aside, the mixture of great weather and plenty of fish has made for some outstanding days on mackerel.

Its no mystery to anyone that I love my breamin’ and the quality of bream in the lower reaches of the estuaries has been slowly creeping up as we get closer to the cooler months.

The rock walls have been producing quality fish and plenty of numbers as well.

Try any minnow or ‘fat body’ style lure smaller than about 60mm and you will find willing fish.

Get in tight to the rocks and cast while the current is running hard to create a bit of urgency – the fish will hit harder and won’t have the time to analyse your offering.

Big baits on the beaches have also been getting attention from bream and it’s never disappointing to pull in a kilo-plus bream, even if it is on 15kg jew gear.

For those who ventured away from the coast there has been great fishing wherever you go, depending on how far your journey takes you!


In the freshwater, the upper reaches of the Bellinger and Kalang systems have never looked better, with plenty of clean water and lots of healthy fish.

The brackish areas have been producing the odd bass but still more bream are coming to the boat – I’m expecting the ratio to start evening out a little as soon as the weather really cools down.

If you enjoy chasing a few trout, as I do, making the trek up the mountain is well worth the effort at the moment and you don’t have much time left before the season closes to get up there and fish the streams.

You don’t have to go far to get in on the action, either. About a 90-minute drive from Coffs will put you onto quality water half-way between Dorrigo and Ebor and the further you’re prepared to drive or the longer you’re willing to hike, the better the fishing will be.

If your casting a fly, beetle imitations like Humpies will work fir most of the day, as will small Black Nymphs, while small white or grey imitations like an Adams will work well late in the afternoon and into the evening.

If a fly isn’t your thing, small minnows or Celtas run through big pools or fast-flowing edges with a bit of water depth will produce fish. Dangling a worm in a deep pool while you relax beside a campfire isn’t a bad idea, either!

This month I will try to get in a couple more trips up to the New England area to squeeze in a few more trout sessions in before the end of the season but in between, I’ll be patrolling the beaches for jew, chasing a few bass and, of course, I’ll be harassing the bream.

I’m also still after a mackerel from my kayak and will be continuing to target them every chance I get. I’m sure everyone between Newcastle and the Queensland border will hear me when I finally get one to the ’yak!

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