Plenty to catch for visitors and locals

HOLIDAY makers over the Christmas holidays can be assured of a successful fishing break.

Every one of Santa’s helpers has given an assurance that Santa has heard the pleas of anglers and has promised good catches.

And the same report comes from all The Daily Examiner weigh-in centres – there are plenty of fish around.

The estuary prawns might be mostly on the small size, and bream in the estuary are nothing to boast about, but almost every other species is producing some good skite fish.

The only species hard to find at present is jewfish and there have been very few big ones taken during recent months.

Big flathead are still being taken along the Middle Wall, with this week’s largest was the 4.472 kg catch by Ian McSwan, of South Grafton, and taken on a handline.

Sam Plater, of North Ocean Shores, was another who fished the Middle Wall, where his best fish was 4.346 kg

And there are plenty of well-over-legal-size being taken right throughout the estuary system, even well above Grafton.

However, the general size of bream in the estuary is still a disappointment, with top fish this week 852g taken at Station Creek by Allen Davy. And despite all the coaching from grandfather Jo and father Michael, the best young Elih Brooks could find was a 750g fish at the Oyster Channel bridge.

Shane Hawker, of Maclean, had a good outing with fish up to 343g, while at Grafton 13-year-old Shane Hepburn, of Seelands, pulled out a 630g fish in front of the Crown Hotel.

Good whiting continue to keep many anglers happy, with Fred Forbes, of Wooli, going to the head of this species with a catch of 600 g on a worm on Wooli beach.

Mark Haines, of Woolgoolga, scored one of 455g on light gear at Red Rock, while Robert Woldseth, of Yamba, landed one of 390g on a worm in the Oyster Channel.

L Brown, of Maclean, landed one of 420g at Whiting Beach, confounding several anglers who said they did not lose a bait in the same area – probably wrong tide.

Big tailor are giving plenty of excitement for lots of rock hoppers. Alf Pitch, of Iluka, weighed in the biggest this week, 4.018kg from Frasers Reef, while Craig Anderson, of Iluka, fished the Iluka wall for fish between 1.42kg and 2.578 kg on lures.

On the south side, Luke Woldseth, of Yamba, fished Brooms Head for a fish of 3.4kg.

Big blackfish continue to be taken around most of the headlands, with Alf Pitch, as well as his big tailor, landing a blackfish of 1.736kg at the Iluka Bluff. Rob Knight, of Yamba, did nearly as well at Lovers Point for a fish of 1.5kg.

All anglers trying the offshore grounds report improved catches of snapper now the currents have slowed.

Biggest weighed in the week was the 2.8kg catch of Palmer Walters, of Wooli, fishing the local grounds, but Temi Olutayo – a new doctor in town – needed to go only to Brooms Head beach with a squid for bait to land a 1.2kg squire.

There has been plenty of excitement above Grafton with most anglers having no trouble in bagging out on garfish.

Bass are also biting well, with Tom Gull, of South Grafton, weighing in one of 1.185kg taken at Lilydale.

The most surprising catch of all was the tarpon, or oxeye herring, of 1.9kg taken by Sam Evans, of Copmanhurst, fishing at Rogans Bridge.

Although the fish is very small compared to species caught in Queensland, only the occasional example is landed in the Clarence.

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