BOATIES GO OVERBOARD: Fleets of tinnies hit water amid COVID-19
ANGLERS have taken full advantage of the distancing requirements and the ability to go fishing in the current health situations and a virtual armada of small boats put to sea over the week.
One who was in the fleet claimed he was in the middle of more than 50 tinnies fishing off Angourie, while reports from the weigh-in station at Wooli said there were queues of trailer boats waiting to launch at various times over the weekend.
And as a result we have had one of the biggest weigh-ins for many months.
There was plenty of activity on the lower reaches of the river, but the greatest numbers were from offshore fishing grounds - both northern and southern.
Best bream were located along the Middle Wall, where Gaewen Dickenson of Yamba landed one of 1.260kg.
A scattering of flathead was weighed in with the best, 4.750kg by Suzanne Pereira of Great Marlow on Collis Wall.
Offshore, Chris Buckley landed one of 2.800kg on the northern grounds, as well as a Spanish mackerel of 14.800kg and a cobia of 14.300kg.
Those anglers chasing blackfish are still doing well, with most of the areas in the lower river firing.
Best fish was the 1.172kg catch by Rick Talbot of Yamba who fished Oyster Channel., beating Bill Collett by 4g, whose fish of 1.168kg was taken at the Turkeys Nest.
Terry Day of Yamba scored one of 930g on the Middle Wall, and Scott Lenton one of 860g on the Yamba breakwall.
Brendon Cotterell landed his 630g fish in the bay at Iluka plus a bream of 500g and an old maid of 1.000kg.
Offshore, reports indicate that there are lots of pelagics all along the coast.
The only drawback is that sharks are a particular problem especially off Wooli where they are chasing tailor and also taking many of the pelagics taken on line.
Nevertheless, many anglers were able to weigh in catches.
Best pelagic was the 20.200kg wahoo taken by Garry Buckley off Angourie Point.
This same area produced a 14.200kg Spanish mackerel for Trent Carr, while Aaron Carr scored a groper of 4.100kg.
There were quite a few groper taken in close along the coastline.
Other groper taken were the 5.250kg catch for Adam Bowen, Grace Carr 4.400kg (on a handline) and Allan Hepper 6.200kg.
Jewfish were mostly on the schoolie size, although Jade Bourke scored the best, 16.000kg off the Iluka Bluff.
Others included the 8.800kg catch for Riley Engler on the southern grounds, Doug Sneesby with one of 7.800kg, Rex Bolte’s catch of 7.050kg off Shelly, the same area where Grace Carr landed her 4.400kg, while in the estuary, Harry Willett landed one of 4.480kg in the deep water along Palmers Island.
Harry also scored an estuary bass of 855g in the same area - an area not normally fished for this species.
A few snapper were weighed in, with Stacey’s Vallette’s 3.500kg the best, taken at Black Rock while Justin Bullen scored one of 2.200kg on the northern grounds as well as spotted mackerel between 6.200kg and 4.800kg.