Easter proves a treat for holidaying anglers
THE general consensus at the weigh-in stations is that this has been the best Easter fishing session the area has had for many years.
Much can be put down to the flushing out the rivers received a month or so ago and the return of the clean, salty water to the estuaries.
Almost all the parties who have tackled the offshore grounds in almost perfect conditions also reported some of the best catches of snapper, teraglin, pearl perch, moses perch and flathead for many years.
And the good catches have been made on both the northern grounds and southern grounds.
And as could be expected, a large number of the entries this week have been made by visitors to the area. Just as a sidelight, several of the anglers had Scottish names, or came from towns like Dundee - perhaps visitors to the Highland Gathering.
Black Rock in the north has been a popular area
Will Woods of Woombah scored the best snapper, a 6.500kg specimen, while John Lawson had a sampson of 5.500kg and E Pinoza landed a 4.000kg tuna
Ben Glider picked up teraglin as well as a 700g moses perch and a 5.000kg snapper.
Anglers did not have to go offshore to land snapper. Dan Pianti of Iluka landed a 5.000kg specimen fishing the rocks at Woody, where he also reeled in a 1.000kg tailor.
Reports from the southern grounds off Wooli and the Sandon River indicated plenty of snapper of all sizes, and mixed runs of parrotfish, moses perch and pearlies.
Graham Barber of Yamba scored a 5.900kg snapper off Brooms Head and a 1.500kg pearl perch while James Clark from Armidale landed a 4.350kg snapper.
His mate from Armidale, Ben Frazer pulled in a 7.500kg long-tail tuna while Mark Dries fishing out of the Sandon and scored tuna to 6.900kg and mixed reef fish.
The run of big jewfish continued along the breakwalls on both sides of the river.
Cohen Phillips-Cooke of Iluka came close to topping the best so far this year with his catch of 27.500kg from the Iluka Wall and Ben Thomas scored one weighing 19.000kg.
An interesting tussle developed on the Middle Wall where the blackfish have appeared in some numbers.
Harvey Strachan of Iluka had topped the table for several weeks after landing a 1.460kg blackfish and he scored another the same size this week but has been edged out by fellow Iluka regular John King's 1.466kg catch.
Most of the flathead activity in the estuary was concentrated around the Middle Wall and the T-Piece.
Jason Green of Yamba scored the best, a 4.250kg fish off the Middle Wall while Sienna landed a 2.650kg flathead at the T-Piece.
What really hurt was that Jed McGregor of Grafton scored a 3.512kg flathead at Micalo - right at my front door - and I failed to wet a line at the weekend.
Whiting are back again around most of the sandflats, although the biggest weighed in this week was the 462g catch by Connor Mick of Ulmarra who fished the Wooli River.
Bream continue to be around in large numbers, and at good size.
Browns Rocks continued to fish well where Harry and Toby Zabak from Omeau landed fish to 500g, while Joshua Dart of Carrara had a 'secret spot' where he caught fish to 860g.
Biggest weighed in however was from the Middle Wall where Ben Shannon of Ringwood East landed a 1.300kg while Jamie from Moonee Beach scored one of 760g at Collis.
On the ocean front, Jason Barrie of Grafton landed one of 1.200kg off Iluka Wall and Liam Croft a Yamba returned from Lovers Point with a fish of 1.010kg.