Effects of Cyclone Debbie felt hard by Clarence fishos
AS EXPECTED, there was very little fishing activity during the past week, resulting in the smallest weekly weigh-in for a long time.
The few fish which made the table were taken in the fine spell in the middle of the week before the deluge began.
And at that time, prospects for the weekend looked good with excellent results from offshore, the beaches and headlands firing and plenty of activity in the estuaries.
However, few people could have imagined two such large dumps of water within a matter of a week, and it is unlikely that there will be any worthwhile activity possible before the coming weekend as the salt water starts to push back to the estuaries.
However, there have been several interesting developments.
For the first time for some considerable period, there have been reports of red-spot disease on some of the fish taken in the Clarence's estuaries.
One party gave it a try on Monday near the Middle Wall, hoping that there were still a few fish left in the deeper holes.
However, almost every cast resulted in a blue or fork-tail catfish. As is the common practice, they were tossed back in the water, however the blue catfish is quite good eating.
The head is almost all bone for about half the length, but the tail half, skinned, eats well and according to my reference E M.Grant, Guide to Fishes, it is white fleshed and very palatable.
The fish is also sometimes known as a crucifix fish, because the boney structure of the head, when the flesh is cleared away bears a strong resemblance to a crucifix.
The offshore is out because of the state of the bars, and the big seas along the coast have closed beaches and headlands to fishing.
However as these subside, there will once again be fish in the clearer waters well away from the run-outs from the rivers, with Shark Bay looking promising as well as the beaches between Brooms Head and Minnie Water.
Of the fish weighed, there was only one bream and one flathead.
Flo Payne who fished in Crystal Waters, probably in one of the canals ran into a patch of bream and weighed in the best 670g taken on a garfish bait.
Dave Smith of Yamba, in an attempt to seek consolation for the sinking of his trawler recently, weighed in a flathead of 3.050kg
The flathead was taken before the weekend, but Flo braved the rain to land the bream.
And as an unexpected plus, although the fish are scarce, mud crabs apparently have been washed out of many of their back channels and are being taken in the area around Yamba bay.