Chris Bearzatto with a juvenile snapper he caught in the Clarence River.
Chris Bearzatto with a juvenile snapper he caught in the Clarence River.

Snapper, flathead, jewfish coming in for holiday season

FISHING activity continues to improve with the good weather around and there have been reports from all centres of plenty of successful anglers.

The weigh-in list this week is again small, with some species not represented, but chatter around the traps suggest good snapper coming from the offshore grounds and plenty of other reef fish, including some sizable jewfish and spanish mackerel starting to appear off Woody and Angourie.

Big flathead are starting to congregate around the entrance to the rivers on the start of their spawning run.

The biggest fish weighed in this week was a whopper 7.25kg flathead landed by Michael Cashel from Glen Innes, who used a herring for bait on the Middle Wall.

Michael's fish is the largest flathead weighed in this year and fish this size (females in roe), can ignite debate (sometimes heated) about whether the fish should be or can be returned to the water safely.

My opinion depends on how the fish is handled: is it gaffed to get it on board or can it be netted? Is it hooked in the lips or has it swallowed the bait? Every catch is different and the attitude of every angler will vary.

Still on flathead and Father Tom, from Grafton, managed one of 1.994kg, on a prawn bait.

Joel Dougherty landed one of 1.55kg on a lure in Oyster Channel.

Flathead are also on the bite on the smaller rivers with S. Gleeson, of South Grafton, landing a 1.018kg fish on a prawn in the Wooli River.

Browns Rocks continues to maintain its prolific reputation with a 3.5kg catch by Rada Babic, of Lightning Ridge, using a yabbie as bait.

Browns also produced some good whiting in the past week.

Mason Black, of Woombah, scored a 400g and 350g fish, both on nippers. The biggest weighed in this week was the 446g fish caught by Murray Wilks who fished the Romiaka channel.

Blackfish are still on the bite but the hardest task is finding them in any concentration.

Warren Moss, of South Grafton, scored a 1.2kg fish at a spot he identified as King Island (one I do not know by that name).

Young Will Bushell returned with one of 596g from the T-Piece.

The warmer weather has brought more bass on the bite and Brad Lynch, of Lawrence, travelled to Grafton to find his catch of 2.06kg on a plastic lure.

I would have thought that a trip to nearby Sportsmans Creek at Lawrence could have been productive for there have been unconfirmed reports of good catches from this area.

Quite a few odd catches are also being reported, especially from the lower reaches of the river.

One catch that caused a bit of chat was a cockney or red bream taken in the vicinity of Freeburn Island. These fish are the early stages of the snapper before they travel to sea where their major growth occurs.

Generally speaking they are too small for eating and should be returned to the water.

Another odd one to be weighed this week was the giant 3.06kg herring taken by Shaun Harrison while fishing at the Harwood Bridge.



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