Big fish biting this week
FISHING activity during the past week has continued at a high note although there have been some unusual catches reported.
One feature was the landing of a 73.7kg black marlin by amateurs fishing wide off Wooli.
The fish was taken by local businessman Dave Ensbey and his mate Glenn Bitten who managed the steering while the fish was played.
Warren Toy from Wooloweyah, one of our regular anglers, also nabbed a rare catch.
Warren caught a large coastal python, or carpet snake, while trying one of his regular spots on the Yamba breakwall.
There have always been carpet snakes on the breakwalls, where they find the large rocks ideal spots for sunning themselves and also the home of some of their favourite foods; rats.
The snake was released safely into bushland near Angourie.
Tony Blair of Maclean, another regular in this column with his catches of bream or flathead from around the Maclean area, tried a different approach this week.
Tony fished at Harwood but his best catch was a 3.948kg shark and while not eligible to weigh-in, I am assured that this size is good eating and has no bones.
On the more serious side, offshore fishing was generally good on most days and as the water has now cast off most of the flood washouts, surface fish were about in good numbers.
Barry Reynolds of Grafton scored a 15.300kg blue fin tuna off Wooli on a yellowtail bait, but was beaten by Reece Armstrong of Minnie Water who landed a 17.000kg cobia off Minnie.
Bottom fishing also has been productive with some good snapper on the bite and plenty of other good-size reef fish.
Best snapper was 7.900kg, taken by Izzac Skemar of Minnie from local waters, with Maddock of Grafton not far behind with one of 7.850kg caught the next day in the same area.
Jackson Phillips, a visitor from Barraba, fished off Red Cliff for a 6.100kg fish on mullet, and Dean McPherson of Brooms Head landed a 3.600kg fish off the Broom.
Another who did well was Chris Davidson of Wooli whose snapper tipped the scales at 4.500kg.
The run of good pearl perch continued with young Will Venn of Yamba landing one of 2.740kg off One-Man and Gavin Bennet, another bushie from Gunnedah, catching a 2.850kg specimen off Red Cliff.
Boomer Burridge of Wooli did well with one of 2.500kg but the biggest pearlie was landed by Mark Saunders of Grafton who weighed-in a 3.150kg (gilled and gutted) fish taken off Minnie.
However, it was not good enough for the certificate for the Biggest Other Species, which was taken out by Mark’s son Trent with a teraglin of 3.800kg (gilled and gutted).
In the estuaries, the flathead appear to have moved close to the entrances although in the Clarence there are still good catches right throughout the region.
Blake Anderson of Yamba got two good ones on the Yamba breakwall on successive days; 2.800kg and 3.200kg both on herring.
Further inside, the Middle wall produced some good ones.
Teneale Purton of Yamba landed one of 4.100kg but the certificate was awarded for the 5.100kg catch by Ron Waterson of Grafton.
The day previous, Ron had landed a 3.156kg fish.
Kayne Cavanagh of Yamba fished close to the Tavern at Yamba for a fish of 1.320kg while Lee Costell of Corindi Beach pulled in one of 3.370kg from the Red Rock River.
The estuaries appear to be producing the best school jewfish at the moment although the white water around some of the headlands, such as Lovers, looked very attractive.
Biggest schoolie this week was the 3.350kg catch by Luke Ellis of Yamba from the Yamba wall while Don Saye of Wooli had one of 3.260kg from the Wooli River.
Good whiting are still coming from the southern areas, particularly the smaller rivers.
Dean Winkler of Woolgoolga had one of 450g from the Red Rock River, Mere Cassie of South Grafton landed a 320g fish from the Yamba wall, while Brook Collins of Wooli weighed in a 552g fish late after fishing Wooli Beach.
Bream are biting well throughout the estuaries, although mostly on the smaller size.
Gary Tobin of Woolgoolga pulled out one of 475g from the Red Rock River while the Bowles family from Swan Creek caught fish to 514g from the Wooli River.
Laurie Ayres of Maclean fished at Crystal Waters for a 760g fish and Col Jillet of Yamba is hoping that the 1.200kg fish he caught in front of the Yamba quarry might win this year’s secret draw.
However, this week’s certificate goes to Grant Whitly of Brooms Head for his 1.402kg catch.