Local anglers land monster catch off Angourie Point
WHAT has been a very successful school holiday period has ended with a bang, with gale force winds at the weekend keeping most anglers at home and off the water.
However, before the blow, results generally continued to be very good, especially offshore.
The feature of offshore activity was the taking of a 56.500kg black marlin close in off Angourie Point.
Local angler Alex Holland of Yamba and his party were returning from a successful outing on mackerel and were trailing a lure behind their boat on the return trip when they latched onto the marlin.
There is no report on how long he took to bring the fish to gaff, but from the pictures of the catch it was almost as long as the tinnie they were fishing in.
This catch has not been recorded in the biggest fish of the year, although taken only on the standard amateur angler gear from a recreational runabout, and not the highly geared game-fishing boat normally associated with this type of catch, but it was certainly a sterling effort and Alex can claim a certificate on application to The Daily Examiner office.
There are certainly marlin off our coast as witnessed by marlin competitions out of Coffs Harbour, but occasionally they are taken by the recreational angler fishing out of the Clarence and Wooli.
Another good catch from the outing was the 4.600kg spotted mackerel landed by David Seymour of Copmanhurst, and a good yellow fin tuna.
Other anglers who did well offshore were Kendall Dowley of Tabulum who scored a mackerel of 17.500kg wide off Angourie, and Jason Thomas of Gunnedah who brought in a spottie of 4.750kg from wide off Yamba.
But it was Mat Haydon of Woombah who earned the certificate for the largest pelagic with a bar-mackerel of 22.000kg taken off Woody Head.
On the southern fields off Wooli the activity was more on snapper, although none was weighed in.
However, the best of this species - a squire, or young snapper of 780g - was actually taken on a spinner from the rocks at Convent Beach by Todd Armstrong of Yamba .
Offshore, Ian McKenzie of Iluka scored a teraglin of 3.258kg off Black Rock, while Tony Anderson of Ballina pulled in a jewfish of 9.750kg wide off Yamba.
However the biggest jewfish weighed in was the 19.300kg catch by Brett Lentfer of Yamba who fished the Middle Wall, while Ron Dow of Yamba scored one of 11.250kg on the Yamba Wall.
The stacks of baitfish in the river are attracting pelagics and dolphins well into the river, with Brett also landing a mac-tuna of 6.500kg on the Middle Wall , as well as a whiting of 446g taken on the sandflats at Freeburn.
And the whiting are still holding on for Becca Dwyer of Yamba landed one of 340g on Whiting Beach.
Although it is a little early for the blackfish to school up for their spawning run, Terry Daly of Yamba found a patch of them around Learners Corner at Freeburn Island, with his best fish weighing in at 824g.
Flathead are still on the bite, even as far upstream as Cowper, but the biggest this week came from Browns Rocks, a fish of 2.750kg, and young Cooper Robertson of Maclean finishing off his school holidays with a catch of 2.450kg.
Most anglers were able to find bream, with the biggest weighed in 1.072kg taken by Dinty Mackay of Yamba who fished at Reedy Creek near the Yamba Tavern.
Jim Schauffer of Yamba tried his luck at Oyster Channel and scored one of 735g., with Harrison Lomas of Grafton a little better with one of 880g in the same area.
With the bass season due to close on May 1, Don Hancock of Grafton was able to get one on the list at almost the last minute, a fish of 1.260kg taken at Junction Hill, with Nick Gleeson landing one of 760g in the same area.
After the weekend, if the bass can't read the closed season note and still take your bait or lure - they must be returned to the water as carefully as possible.
And one fish which is around in fair numbers in the estuary, but not often weighed in, was a flounder - 200g , taken by Vivien Carney of Maclean .