Enjoy the best of winter fishing conditions

Get your lures ready, this weekend is shaping up to be good to throw the line in.
Get your lures ready, this weekend is shaping up to be good to throw the line in. Mark Wilton

SOMEBODY must have broken the Big Fan - there's no wind over 10 knots predicted for the foreseeable.

That can only be a good thing, with the seasonal dry spell continuing to help give us the best of winter fishing conditions.

The muddy old Richmond is far less muddy than usual, allowing the bass to move upstream from their spawning haunts around Woodburn and the school flathead to spread out up to Broadwater and beyond.

School mulloway, too, are heading up-river at least as far as Wardell, although the better legal fish are still in short supply and best hunted from the seawalls.

Bream and some larger flathead are in the lower reaches of the estuaries although many of the float-watchers are beginning to scratch their heads and wonder what's happened to the luderick this year.

The moon is waning back to the last quarter on Tuesday, meaning there'll be less tidal run in the rivers, although Brett from Ballina Bait and Tackle says there's been enough run to wake up the mud crabs from their slumbers.

Out on the beaches, there are even more flathead, along with a few bream, and the headlands north of Ballina continue to turn up a few decent tailor, especially after dark.

Snapper have been harder to come by in the shallows but are better out a little wider, while the slight winds have enabled the deep-droppers to get out on the shelf for bar cod, blue-eye trevalla and bass groper. There are still patches of ravenous jackets about, but not enough to drive you insane.

Father's Day sorted

FOR any dad even slightly inflicted with the bass bug, this year's gift is a no-brainer.

Forster TAFE teacher Dave Seaman has just released Wild River Bass 3: The Journey, his latest and finest in a series on fishing the headwaters of the Mid North Coast rivers.

Dedicated to the memory of Seamo's collaborator in the previous two videos - fine gentleman Dave Scarlett - those earlier premium production values are constantly eclipsed in The Journey.

Drone shots and GoPro footage above and below the water help immerse us in high definition into the world of the wild bass as Seamo and his mate Brian Everingham negotiate rapids, pools and runs to make their next cast count.

We duck below the gunwales as our canoe bashes through overhanging scrub, cackle as hard as the kookaburras when a monster bass spits the lure and simply crack up during the Night Session from Hell. All while checking our shorts to see if they're wet from the last rapids or from laughing so much.

In an age when TV fishos talk loud and long about little, the only babble you'll hear above Mick Carr's guitar soundtrack comes from the river itself and the birdlife on its banks.

You'll learn plenty just by watching and there's a quick gear resume at the end.

Seamo doesn't even speak the epigraph of the whole 72-minute show - it just appears in the credits: "Without healthy rivers we have nothing.”

Wild River Bass 3: The Journey is $25, including postage, from or at PO Box 427 Forster, 2428.

Best hard lure

THE Australian-designed Bluewater Saury trolling lure from JM Gillies was the best hard lure of the AFTA Trade Show. The Zerek Stalker swimbait was runner-up.

That no-bearing 13 Fishing baitcaster we talked about last week, the Concept Z, took the runner-up prize for best reel, in a dealer poll that almost inevitably puts Shimano's new reel product at the top.

Call to ban traps

THERE'S a strong push to outlaw opera house-style crayfish traps everywhere in NSW because of their notorious propensity to drown by-catch species such as water rats and platypus.

They're banned east of the Newell Highway although there are plenty of locals who aren't aware of this and they are regularly used and readily available here.

Recreational Fishing NSW has recommended that the DPI undertakes "the necessary community and industry consultation to enable consideration of the potential regulatory impacts of this proposed rule change”.

DPI advised that the significant nature of this proposed statewide rule change would trigger the need for further community and industry consultation prior to implementation to ensure consideration of the potential regulatory impacts.

Artificially reefed

TWEED Heads getting an offshore artificial reef? Tweed Heads?

It's hard to think of a river port in NSW with natural reef closer to the bar, except maybe Wooli.

There's all the hard ground off Point Danger just north of the bar and the wonderful Fidos Bommie a mere 2.4NM south, not to mention the magnificent Nine Mile far closer than its name implies.

If ever there were a port crying out for an artificial reef handy to the bar, it's Ballina.

If the shallow reef at Black Head is shut down and so is the tiny Pipis due east of the bar, it's a long haul to anywhere.

Is there some party politics in all this?

And while I'm on the soapbox, the $1.4 million riverbank pimp-out planned for Woodburn, including jetty and pontoon, fails to address any problems below the waterline.

For long periods of the year, not much can live in the river thanks to the disastrous oxygen levels in nearby Rocky Mouth Creek.

Might as well use the river for skiing; apart from during a couple of the dry months it's not worth fishing in.

Topics:  fish northern rivers fishing northern rivers sport

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