FISHING: As the weather starts to warm up, fishing activity, and catches are improving, both in the estuary and offshore.
Despite several days of large swells, the boats that managed to cross the bars found plenty of snapper on both the northern and southern grounds.
Good size pearl perch are being taken, together with some teraglin and venus tuskfish.
Bonito are around in some numbers, although on the southern grounds there are yellowtail kingfish on the bite.
Out wide, there are still big schools of tuna chasing huge schools of bait fish and in the very deep water, there are still leatherjacket on the bite.
Andrew Lennon, of Mudgereeba, had a good outing to Black Rock and returned with a jewfish of 13.8kg and a snapper of 7.25kg.
Dave Wallace, of Corinda, did a little better with one snapper of 7.5kg and two around the 4.5kg mark.
And one did not have to go offshore to find the pelagics.
Brian Deer, of Evans Head, fished the Iluka breakwall and scored a longtail tuna of 11kg on a lure.
Bream are right throughout the estuary system from the entrance to above Grafton - there is a desperate need for a fall of rain.
Best bream, 1kg, was taken on the middle wall by Conrad Leismann, of Brisbane, with a yabbie bait, while Leon Evans used the same bait for his 800g catch on Iluka beach.
However, the really hot spot this week was Oyster Channel.
Kevin Moran, of Yamba, scored a bream of 850g
on a yabbie bait, but the
big activity was with whiting.
Kevin also took the best 422g, and the previous day one of 362g as well as his bream.
Wayne Hart, a visitor from Queensland, joined in the fun with a whiting of 345g.
Most of the fish were taken from the sandflats in front of the Yamba Tavern and around the corner to the Witonga Drive launching ramp.
The warmer weather also has the flathead on the move - although the better time is the warm days around Christmas.
Biggest weighed in this week was 5.2kg, taken by Shannon of Iluka, who fished the Middle Wall.
Matt Sahlquist, of Biloela (Qld), tried the Short Cut at the western end of Whiting Beach for a flathead of 1.768kg on a lure.
This is one of my preferred spots for whiting, especially on the runout tide.
And in line with the
wide variety of species in the river, Rick of Iluka weighed in a silver catfish which tipped the scales
at 6.5kg - not a pretty looking fish, but quite good eating.
And there is more activity up river where bass are biting well.
Warren Campbell, of Eatonsville, weighed in one of 1.500kg taken in local waters.