Impressive catches in the valley
THE past week has seen another top-line period of fishing activity.
Sea conditions have enabled most anglers to get offshore, while catches in the estuary have been very good.
The only quiet area appears to be the waters from the Iluka quarry upstream to about Brushgrove, where the water is still discoloured.
But at Grafton and further upstream, bass are biting freely, there are plenty of garfish for those wanting sport on light gear, and there are reasonable-size bream and flathead on the bite.
However, the offshore grounds have been the most productive, with quite a few anglers close to bagging out on bonito and mackerel.
The water temperature at the weekend was an almost perfect 24 degrees, with the current from the north and this brought stacks of fish on the bite.
The Woody Head area, as expected was the hot spot for the mackerel, although good catches were taken out of Wooli and Minnie Water, while a lot of fish were seen slashing into bait fish off Yamba Point.
Several marlin were also hooked, but not landed, one a little wide of Solitary and two closer inshore.
The reefs also fished well for snapper, with Scott Chard, of Ulmarra, weighing in one of 4.698kg taken off Wooli.
The same area proved productive for the Wilson family from Toormina, with Greg weighing in a jewfish of 13.250 kg and Brett a teraglin of 3.250 kg
Brett’s teraglin was just big enough to earn him the certificate for the largest other edible species, for Peter Graham, of Kyogle, scored on pearl perch at Black Rock in the north, one of 3.054 kg and the largest 3.232 kg, a mere 18g smaller than the teraglin.
Big tailor have been the talk among anglers this week, especially those trying at Woody Head, although there are also big ones being taken in the white water off Yamba Point and further south.
Biggest tailor this week was 5.296 taken on a lure by Michael Vanagas, of Yamba, who fished at Woody, while ‘Lofty’ Wilson, of Iluka, scored one of 2.718kg
At this time of the year, there are usually a few really big blackfish lurking around the rocks, and John Vanagas weighed in a blackfish of 2.060kg taken on cabbage weed from the rocks at Woody.
A blackfish of this size can often be confused with a black drummer, but this one was weighed in by a experienced angler at Iluka.
Mark O’Loughlin, of Yamba, will be disappointed for with only a few more weeks to go until the end of this year’s competition, his blackfish of 1.950kg, caught way back in March last year looked like earning the plaque for him.
However, he will not be overly disappointed for he got stuck into more big blackfish at Yamba Point, with several around the 1.200kg mark.
There are stacks of bream in the river, quite a few throwbacks among them, but plenty around the 700g to 900g mark.
Rada Babic, from Lightning Ridge, is still finding plenty around the 900g mark at Browns Rocks, matched by Paul Rainbird, from Brisbane.
Oyster Channel, Yamba Bay among the trawlers, and the Wooli River all fished well. But the certificate this week goes to Silas Berry, from Ascot in Queensland, with his catch of 1.242kg at Frasers.
Whiting are still on the bite, especially in the Sandon and Wooli rivers.
Biggest this week was 520g taken on the Wooli beach by Relma Patrick, from Armidale, but there were fish to 450g from the Sandon and Wooli rivers with a 500g fish weighed in from Romiaka by Jack Wiggett, of Yamba.
There are still plenty of flathead around the 1.5kg mark being weighed in but the big skite fish have gone quiet this week
Biggest this week was 1.792kg caught by Bryant Cochrane, of Grafton, in the Wooli River, while several around the 1.5kg mark came from the Middle Wall