Cracker Christmas fishing

THE 2008/2009 Daily Examiner Fish of the Year competition has concluded with one of the best Christmas holiday periods for several years.

Most holiday makers and most of the locals have been able to bring home a feed of fish from almost every outing, and there have been some good fish among them.

These holidays, large flathead have been a feature of catches in the estuary, but adverse weather conditions have limited activity.

The Middle Wall has continued to be the home of large flathead and this week's whopper was .848 kg taken by Warren McGrath, of Harwood, using a live yellowtail as bait.

These big flathead have been taking a variety of bait. Sophie Conroy, of South Grafton, landed her 3.900kg fish on strips of mullet, while Zac Brotherson, of Grafton, used a plastic lure for a fish of 3.750kg.

Bream have remained mostly on the smaller, although legal and edible size, with not many fish weighed-in over the kilo mark.

This week's best was the 1.040 kg catch of Ritchie Duncan, of Yamba, who fished the ever productful Browns Rocks again using a plastic lure.

There were plenty of fish around Lawrence, with Bob Graham, of Lawrence, weighing in one of 774g and Sam Delaforce, of Grafton, one of 630g - all on prawns.

It is worth noting that this section of the river has been closed to professional trawling because of the small size of the prawns being netted.

Dave Gray, of Grafton, tried his luck at Wooli and weighed-in one of 716g.

Whiting are still biting well on yabbies, worms and small lures in the estuaries, but none were weighed-in this week.

After a spurt last week with several larger blackfish weighed-in, the best this week was 592g taken by Terry Daly, of Yamba. If Terry could not find bigger ones ion the wall, there were probably not many around.

However, the preferred spot for the blackfish this week would have been the washes around the headlands, although sea conditions were not ideal.

However, Cliff Mellan, of Grafton, tried his luck at the Iluka Bluff with a lure, and landed a jewfish of 20.000kg. This is the first really large one weighed-in for more than a month, and even the professionals have not been finding many.

Fishing the headlands produced quite a few tailor in the early mornings, with the fish weighed-in by A Morehouse, of Tucabia (2.300 kg), the best for the week.

Quite a few boats tackled the offshore grounds, although most adopted the policy of going out very early to be back in time for morning tea.

The Wooli area continued to fish well for snapper, with Claire McClennan, of Alstonville, scoring the best - 5.656 kg - on a plastic lure.

Troy Collis, of Yamba, landed a fish of 4.130kg on a blue pilchard and Marshall Chalmers, of Grafton, used the same bait for a fish of 3.980kg.

Although the temperature of the water at Grafton continues to fluctuate depending on the rainfall upriver, those anglers who persist can be rewarded with some good bass.

Jay Cochrane, of South Grafton, scored with a bass of 1.314kg taken at the Grafton bridge on a lure, while further upstream, Jed Cooper scored with one of 794g.

Anglers are reminded that if they have scored the biggest fish of species in any week, they can claim an attractive certificate from The Daily Examiner office in either Yamba or Grafton to record the event.

And the Australia Day holiday weekend marks the end of the 2008/09 Biggest Fish of the Year contest with the winner to be selected by a random draw from all anglers who have weighed-in a fish during the year.

The new competition commences from January 27 until Australia Day weekend next year.

Every angler who weighs-in a fish during that period will have their name entered for next year's draw. A fish weighed-in each week, means that angler would have up to 52 chances of winning the top prize.

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