GONE FISHIN': Pat's catch wraps up the year in style
THE 2016/17 Fish of the Year competition has closed with a bang, with even at the last minute, the largest flathead for the year being weighed in during the week.
The catch, 7.650kg, was taken by Pat O'Mealy of Yamba who made his catch near the mouth of the Clarence, probably close to the Middle Wall.
It beat the previous best, weighed in in late November by 150g.
During the past few weeks, there have been reports of very big flathead around the bottom end of the Clarence.
Pat's catch may well be the one described as a "a head like a shovel" which has been taking fish being hooked and landed in the vicinity of Whiting Beach.
Most anglers fishing the estuary during the past few weeks have been finding plenty of flathead and this week was no exception with one of the hot spots being the Middle Wall.
Paul Parlevleit of Woombah scored one
of the best from this area - a fish of 3.380kg, but the big fish were even reported even as far upstream as Grafton where Cruz Sewell scored one 5.04kg at the Grafton bridge.
Bream are right throughout the river, as well as around headlands and the beaches.
Best was weighed in by Allan Eichman of Wooli who fished the local beach for a catch of 1.01kg.
With the calmer seas and large schools of bait fish on the move, tailor are being taken on most of the headlands and beach gutters.
Best was the 2.200kg catch taken by Sam Rahmate of Iluka who fishes the Iluka Bluff.
Mangrove jack are also active in the warmer weather, with Mitchell Roman on holidays from the Gold Coast scoring one of 3.100kg on the Middle Wall
Blackfish are still around in some numbers, especially around the headlands.
Graham Moore of Iluka landed one of 770g on the Iluka wall, while skin diver Bryson Hayes of Taloumbi speared one of 1.3kg at Lovers.
However it is the headlands and offshore that really fired.
After several frustrating weeks, the currents and water temperature have improved and large numbers of pelagics are reported from the Woody Head-Shark Bay area as well as south of Angourie.
Best pelagic weighed in was a black marlin of 30kg taken by Tom Say of Glen Innes who fished off Black Rock in the north.
Although marlin is a "big game'' fish, it is still accepted in these columns if the angler uses amateur gear.
Other good catches on the northern fields were the 14.200kg spaniard taken by James Drew of Yamba.
On the southern side, Bill Venn of Yamba had a spotted mackerel of 6.750kg, taken off Brooms Head, and a yellowtail kingfish of 9.850kg taken wide off Wooli by young Cody Barrett of Grafton.
Good snapper were recorded from most
grounds, with E Lunnin of Maclean doing the best with one of 6.500kg off Angourie, while on the north side, Graham Oft of Iluka had one of 5.7kg.
Jewfish are also chasing the bait fish, with Carson Gallaway of Yamba landing a jew of 16kg off the Yamba breakwall and Peter Gimbert of Yamba one of 6.75kg off Plumbago.
Silas Berry of Brisbane weighed in one, gilled and gutted, weighing 3.3kg taken at the Iluka Bluff.
Now that all the weigh-ins are complete, the random draw will be made for the winner of the $500 worth of Alvey gear made available through Marina Boat and Tackle.
The winner to be announced on next week's fishing page.