Southern waters are clear winner for catches

ONE would expect after the horrendous weather conditions over the past week that the chance of finding fish would be almost nil.

But a number of anglers have been able to beat the hoodoo and managed to find tailor, blackfish and whiting.

The good news is that all reports are that the water south of Yamba Point is clean and comparatively free of mud.

As a result, the few weigh-ins this week have come from south of the Point, with only Mischa Porter of Iluka being successful on the north side.

Mischa, using mullet bait, landed a 3.17kg tailor while fishing at Shark Bay on Monday.

It would appear that the majority of the floodwaters have headed north after crossing the bar, which would have suggested nothing on the bite on the north side.

However, surfers have reported that much of the flood debris is outside the wave break zone, although the amount of debris on both Yamba and Pippie beaches on the south side would suggest otherwise.

Despite this, or perhaps because of the presence of the clearer water, Bruce Kilby of Yamba hiked to the back beach at Angourie and scored a 1.014kg tailor on a blue pilchard bait.

John Lewis of Yamba found a hungry blackfish of 1.080kg which took a prawn bait at Flat Rock at the southern end of Pippie Beach.

During daylight hours the usual bait for blackfish is various types of weed, but in coloured water, such as after the floods, and at night they will take other baits such as prawns and yabbies.

As a measure of how quickly the smaller rivers have recovered from the rains, Marilyn White of South Grafton spent some time at Red Rock and scored a 404g whiting on a yabbie bait in the local river.

Of course the state of the bar and the amount of debris which has been washed to sea has precluded any offshore fishing, and even around the headlands conditions have been hazardous.

It can be expected however that conditions will improve fairly rapidly during the next week, with the prospect of some good fish from around the breakwalls at the entrances to all the rivers. Once the debris is removed from the beaches, these and the headlands should also start to produce fish.

This week's weigh-ins mark the commencement of a new fishing competition which will extend through to the Australia Day weekend next year.

All anglers who had the largest of species of the past 12 months will shortly receive a certificate to honour their achievement.

The Angler of Year winner has been selected by a random draw that included all anglers who weighed in a fish during the year.

The winner is Sam Watters of South Grafton. Sam was included after catching a bream early in the competition.

The selection was made by drawing from a hat the week from which the angler would be selected. Then into the hat went a number for every angler who weighed in that week, irrespective of the species caught.

Sam is asked to present himself with suitable ID at the Grafton office of the Daily Examiner, where he will receive a letter of authority to collect his prize of $500 worth of Daiwa fishing gear from Maclean Bait and Tackle

The prize for the 2013/14 competition is at present being negotiated.

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