WITH every river along the east coast of Australia experiencing flooding recently, catches of flathead, bream and jewfish should dominate the fishing scene this month.
Fishing beaches and breakwalls will be the best method for wetting a line. As clean water begins to push back upstream, the lower reaches will produce good catches. Large pelagic species such as mackerel and tuna will be taken from the breakwalls on both lures and live baits. Prior to the dirty water at Iluka, the Bluff had been on fire for nice pan-sized chopper tailor on lures and plenty of big jewfish on hard-bodied lures.
Though I couldn’t be bothered fishing Main Beach for tailor, I know big greenback were present because every time I drove to the Bluff, the beach was littered with washed-up bream with their tails bitten off, a sure sign the big-toothy critters are there. Speaking of Main Beach, I’d like to flag that this is a controlled beach and vehicle permits are required, regardless of how special you are.
Twelve and six-month permits are available from the council office in Maclean or at the Riverside Caravan Park in Charles St, Iluka. On buying your permit, you’ll be given a pamphlet on where to go and what you can and can’t do.
My son Mischa got among nice jewfish using Yamba-made Croaker Lures, a Pacific Composite FSU 5162 rod and a 650A5 Alvey reel loaded with 30lb Platypus mono. His best fish tipped the scales at 24.6kg. Mischa hooked his bigger fish off Whales Back in a hard-sweeping beachward swell.
After some back and forth, he made the smart choice of giving the fish its head and following it to the beach. He landed it there instead of trying to muscle it back to the rocks.
Once the dirty water started coming out of the river, the Bluff went quiet for jew, which is quite normal. I reckon every jew in the area was drawn to the breakwalls, with mouths open as baitfish flushed from the Clarence River.
Flathead will be in big numbers along beaches adjacent to river mouths, so if your breakwall has shallow gutters running along it from the beach, this will be the spot to flick soft plastic lures and float white or blue pillies. Bream should also be easy to find for anglers fishing beaches and breakwalls. Snare one or two using the humble prawn or any flesh bait.
As the clean water pushes back into the river, and if the swell stays low, excellent catches of spanish mackerel and longtail tuna can be expected. These thugs of the ocean come in to feed on big schools of baitfish. With any luck, I’ll find the energy to have a go for tuna and jew on the wall.
If not, I’ll waddle out with my camera and get a few happy snaps of anglers who went to battle. I probably won’t get out there for a while because I’m busy making my handmade, signature red and white jewfish feathers for Brett at Ballina Bait and Tackle.
The persistent big swell has curtailed the offshore fishing scene somewhat. However, those brave enough have had little trouble bagging snapper and teraglin, as well as ample numbers of spotted and spanish mackerel.
Seriously, if you can’t catch a feed this month, hock all your gear at Cash Converters and buy a set of golf clubs or lawn bowls! At least you might win a chook in a club raffle. For those of you fishing breakwalls, take extra care because the flood water tends to put an extra coating of slime on lower rocks. If possible, buddy up and fish with a mate.
‘Til next month, safe fishin’.