ERRATIC weather this past week has played havoc with fishing activities and results.
Strong wind and dangerous surf warnings, although not always accurate but having to be heeded, discouraged most offshore anglers and many beach and rock hoppers.
In the estuaries it was the big tidal movements, with nearly two-metre highs, that impacted on fishing.
Although it was possible to find a spot out of the wind, the heat was enough to almost cook the catch before it could be slipped into a keeper net.
The secret would appear to be something like Omar Khayyam's idea: under a tree in the shade (whether or not a bottle of wine and book of verse helps is debatable).
Nevertheless, night fishing would appear to offer the best prospects at the moment and the most comfortable conditions - subject to the mosquitos.
Understandably, there were few reports from the offshore grounds but there were stories of some boats challenging the conditions and returning with a few teraglin and small snapper.
A better class of bream was weighed in this week, with the top weigh-in coming from the Turkeys Nest, opposite the Iluka marina, where Bill Collett of Yamba scored a 1.272kg fish on a herring bait.
This spot, where the north arm meets the main river, has long been one of my favourite spots for flat-head on the runout tide.
Another big bream was taken from the boat ramp area at Witonga Drv, Yamba where Corey Johnson of Yamba scored a 1.210kg fish on mullet gut.
This is a good, sheltered spot where scraps from the cleaning table adjacent help to berley fish.
Bevan Want of Yamba scored a 958g bream on a herring bait at Freeburn Island
Right on time, the larger flathead are putting in an appearance with Nev Fergusson of Iluka landing a 4.080kg fish on a herring bait at the eastern end of Whiting Beach.
This has also been a favourite spot on the runout tide and the water has cut a good channel near the automatic tide gauge. It is also a good spot for blackfish when they are on the bite but they have been most uncooperative this year.
Ken Payne of South Grafton tried his luck in Romiaka Channel and landed a 2.130kg flathead on a yabbie, while Tony Henderson of Glen Innes fished at Oyster Channel bridge for a 3.256kg fish on a herring bait.
To judge from the number of anglers who are using the bridge to jag their herring bait, there are obviously plenty there but it is most dangerous to fish on the downstream side of the bridge where there is no separation from traffic.
To demonstrate the need for rain, the flathead are being taken well up the river, with John Pierpoint of Iluka landing a 1.346kg flathead on a prawn bait at Lawrence.
Tahj Byrne of Brushgrove is determined to keep her spot secret, listing the location where she caught a 990g flathead on a soft plastic lure as "Spot X" but as it was weighed in at the Fish Co-op, it probably came from that area.
Reports of big hauls of tailor in the vicinity of Ballina had a few anglers checking their petrol allow-ance but there was no need to travel so far for they are well represented around Woody, Lovers and Angourie where Bruce Kilby of Yamba landed one of 2.530kg on a pilchard.
Jewfish are scattered throughout the lower reaches of the river with the best catches taken at night.
Browns Rocks is in the headlines again with Goodwood resident Spencer Orth's 9.310kg catch on a lure the best this week.
In a more sheltered spot near the Oyster Channel bridge, where Tony landed his flathead, Colleen Henderson from Glen scored a 4.250kg jewfish.