GOOD FISHIN’: Murray Wilks and Kenny Payne from Grafton are all smiles as they fish underneath the Oyster Channel bridge.
GOOD FISHIN’: Murray Wilks and Kenny Payne from Grafton are all smiles as they fish underneath the Oyster Channel bridge. Lynne Mowbray

Anglers catching close-in snapper

MUCH-improved weather conditions offshore at the weekend provided a corresponding improvement in catches.

Water temperature, reported to be about the 22 degree mark, appears to have brought a lot of bonito on the bite and bodes well for an early start for the mackerel season.

There has also been a run of big cobia in the same area, and there have been reports of boats coming back into Coffs Harbour flying flags for marlin.

However on the southern side of the entrance to the Clarence, the water near Wooli is several degrees colder than in the north – possibly a cold eddy – and fishing offshore is a little slower.

However, large snapper continue to be the order of the day for those trying the offshore grounds,

Local ‘Snapper’ George Thorne, who went to the top of the list with a snapper several weeks ago with a fish of 9.650kg, has been knocked back to second place by a Sydney visitor, Kyle McKenzie, of Northmead, with a fish of 9.925kg caught at Black Rock to the north of the entrance to the Clarence.

George’s fish was taken off Angourie, a spot which is preferred by many of the locals but Black Rock, although much further along Shark Bay, produces big fish, but anglers often face a long slow punch into the southerlies which have been coming up in the afternoon.

However, there are still plenty of big snapper off Angourie with Garry Tunstead of Townsend bringing in a fish of 6.500kg.

David Smith of Yamba was another who tried the northern grounds and scored a snapper of 7.080kg.

Other reef fish are also biting well, with Mat Trowbridge of Nymboida earning a certificate for his teraglin of 2.460kg.

Linda Harris of Wooli did well with a parrotfish of 1.660kg.

For the early-bird, tailor are biting around most of the headlands early in the morning, with ‘T-bone’ Campbell weighing in one of 1.530kg taken at Flat Rock.

There have also been reports of several big jewfish hooked by anglers on the Yamba and Iluka walls.

Mark Mulligan of Harwood was one who tried his luck from the rocks at Woody Head and was rewarded with a bream of 1.200kg.

Best weighed in from the estuary was the 1.042kg catch by Cherie Vernal of Iluka who fished at the old ferry approach.

Maxine Burnett, of Wooli, after a break of several months from the weigh-in lists has returned with a bream of 874g taken in the Wooli River.

A few more whiting are starting to put in an appearance as the weather warms, with Will Bushell of Palmers Island scoring one of 310g taken on a squidgy lure at Romiaka.

Flathead are scattered throughout most of the system, but the better concentration appears to be in the lower reaches.

Biggest weighed in was the 3.332kg catch by Tony Maynard from Reedy Creek in Queensland, who fished at Angourie.

Large snapper continue to be the order of the day for those trying the offshore grounds



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