HAPPY DAYS: Abbie Leornard of Ipswich was fishing on the banks of the Clarence River at Maclean.
HAPPY DAYS: Abbie Leornard of Ipswich was fishing on the banks of the Clarence River at Maclean. Debrah Novak

Estuaries to produce best catches until swell subsides

THE huge seas off the coast during the past week forced cancellation of all offshore fishing activity, but there were still plenty of catches in the estuaries.

For several days huge seas were breaking around all the headlands, and from what I saw at Lovers Point ensured that the bar was closed and will probably remain closed until the end of the week.

One local charter boat operator had to cancel almost a week of full bookings and the same applied to Wooli.

However, when seas drop back, there should be plenty of surface fish, snapper on the close in reefs and still plenty of teraglin and reef flathead.

Despite the big seas at Lovers, a close examination showed that fishing could be achieved in the sheltered corner of Pippie Beach, and the same applied to the headlands on the northern side of the river and to the south.

In the estuary, flathead continued to be the predominant catch with another big catch going to the top of the list - a 6.500kg catch by Frank Gaugh, a visitor from Bonnells Bay, taken on a yellowtail bait on the Middle Wall.

Other good fish were taken in the Oyster Channel, in North Arm and as far upstream as Lawrence.

Although no whiting were weighed in, several catches of fish over the 400g mark were reported from Oyster Channel and the sandflats above Collis Wall.

Best bream for the week was the 1.000kg catch by Eric Knox of Grafton who fished at the Sandon with a cungevoi bait.

From this site he also weighed in a school jewfish of 6.350kg taken on worms.

In the main river, Michelle Green of Yamba fished the Middle Wall for a catch of 4.600kg.

Good size school jewfish are being taken throughout the lower reaches of the Clarence with fish coming from the Middle Wall, around the Oyster Channel bridge, and quite a few from the stretch from the Harwood bridge to above the quarry at Maclean.

Young Myson Blackadder from South Grafton weighed in a bream of 400g taken on a mullet bait off Susan Island.

Blackfish are showing in better numbers, but the schools are scattered.

Sleeper Island at the start of Oyster Channel produced several, with Terry Daly of Yamba pulling out the best - 984g -while Clive Anderson from Fasifern scored one of 776g.

However, John King of Iluka landed the best - 1.506kg from the western end of the Iluka Wall.

The hot weather is also keeping bass on the bite above Grafton. Paul Child of Coutts Crossing scored one of 730g at Rogans Bridge. Downriver in the Coldstream, Jack Genet of Clarenza landed one of 550g

Tayla Gerard, winner of the Fish of the Year competition has received her prize - fishing gear to the value of $500, provided by Big River Bait and Tackle.

Although Tayla lives the western suburbs of Sydney, she authorised her fishing companion on the winning outing, Brody Watkins of Wooli to collect the prize for her.

With guidance from a proprietor he chose the Daiwa Monster Mesh Rod, MXC531, and a Saltist overhead reel, ID20, all suitable for a lightweight angler.

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