Coffs’ Cold Captures
  |  First Published: June 2010

As good as it is to fish new locations, it’s hard to beat winter on the Coffs Coast.

A lot of people mourn the mackerel heading back north for another year, yet I look forward to all the fishing prospects available to those willing to get out in the cold!


Apart from having to wear 14 layers for an early morning burn up the river, winter is a great time for fishing the estuaries. They really do come alive with big bream on the walls, plenty of flathead on the flats, luderick hanging around weed beds and further up the bass visit the salt for a few months to stretch our bream gear out.

Some light spin tackle and a box of lures, plastics or some fresh bait like nippers is all you need to get a few of these fish interested.

Although a hot summer afternoon is what most people think of when talking about throwing poppers in the creeks, don’t be afraid to bust out those surface lures in the middle of winter. The fish have been actively feeding on the surface and in recent weeks, while exploring to find a few bass, I’ve had plenty of bream fighting over surface lures all through the estuaries.

The bass are around but they have been a little bit harder to find in big numbers, like they were this time last year. However, persistence is the key – just remember to release any that you come across as it is a no-take fishery during June, July and August.

Along the Coast

Winter is a great time to hit the beaches, river mouths and headlands in search of big jew. Worms, squid or fresh fillet baits are all worth a try along the beaches. Throwing a livie or lure is a great option in the river mouths or off the rocks.

A lightly weighted pillie, garfish or metal thrown from the stones should also find you some action with a tailor or hard fighting salmon, and we should see plenty harassing our jew baits as well.

If you’re on the rocks, you should be able to find a few drummer in July. Fresh cunjevoi, prawns or a bit of bread are great baits for them and any of the ocean rocks will produce fish. Even heavily fished spots close to home like Muttonbird, South Headland or Boambee Headland can come up with memorable catches with fresh bait and a good berley trail.

Just remember if you head to the rocks, take all the necessary precautions to stay safe!


Apart from a few late season mackerel, there hasn’t really been anything outstanding to speak of outside but now is the time to find good kings, sambo and snapper offshore.

I will be hitting the inshore reefs for snapper with plastics plenty this winter and as much as I love being offshore in the kayak, I think the cool weather will keep me rugged up in the boat where I can at least keep my bottom end dry! I will be able to fish a few more baits that way for snapper and get my jigging gear out to try and tempt a king or Samson.

I’m currently getting organised for a weekend up at Ballina to chase a few bream. I’ll also be throwing some bigger jew lures in the Richmond after a productive trip not long ago, and I might even have a look at the beaches as well.

In Coffs, I’ll be trying my luck at snapper, jew and tailor along the coast and bream and bass are on the cards in the estuaries.

So get some extra layers on and I hope to see you on the water!

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