Fishing: Favourable tides at dawn and dusk
TO ALL those fishos who have suffered in flapping, wet tents or hunkered down in holiday houses for the past week or two, I have one one message: Be thankful you weren't vacationing at Port Macquarie or Port Stephens!
It looks like we've dodged the weather bombs for a while and the next few days promise far improved conditions to pursue fish that have been getting it easy under the protection of the elements.
The buildup to the new moon on Sunday means favourable tides around peak bite times at dawn and dusk, whether you fish in the estuary, along the beaches and rocks or offshore.
The charts show a hot East Australian Current charging south out off the continental shelf and a minor coastal upwelling down to about South West Rocks, and all water warm enough to hold plenty of tropical pelagics.
The daredevils who have braved the bars and the swells mid-week met with moderate success on spotted and Spanish mackerel with a pleasing by-catch of large snapper and mulloway.
As wind and sea conditions moderate, the next day or two present the optimum time to head wide in search of the baby black marlin that are riding the current south to their summer feeding grounds off the South Coast.
The preferred method is to troll a spread of skirted lures until a bait school is encountered or a fish comes up on a lure, whereupon a live slimy mackerel or yellowtail, bridle-rigged on an 8/0-10/0 circle hook, is dropped in front of the fish.
The circle hook ensures a hook-up in the corner of the marlin's mouth, vital in ensuring a healthy release of fish that can grow to half a tonne at maturity.
The bottom-bashers could well score some decent pearl perch, snapper and teraglin over the reefs, which have hardly seen any fishing pressure at all lately.
Squidgy at Ballina Bait and Tackle says the river is certainly coming down dirty but the mini-fresh has just concentrated fish in the lower estuary, where there have been plenty of bream and flathead and the odd mulloway to 20kg lurking along the walls.
The beaches adjoining the breakwalls are the go for dart, whiting, flathead and bream, try yabbies or whitebait.
There are also plenty of shovelnose sharks and stingrays. If you don't care to keep the shovelies, get them back in the water in good condition to resume their natural role in the ocean.
Same goes for the rays. It takes a special type of sicko to cut their tails off and leave them to rot in the dunes but, unfortunately, these people still exist.
THE Old4New lifejacket trade-in van will be at these localities:
Lismore today, 10am-2pm, Ballina St Bridge boat ramp;
Casino tomorrow, 10am-2pm, 'town centre';
Evans Head: Sunday, 6am-9am, new boat ramp;
Iluka: Sunday, 2pm-5pm, Spenser St West, near boatshed;
Yamba: Monday, 6am-9am, ramp off Yamba Rd east of the Fishing Club ramp.
Grafton: Monday, 2pm-5pm, Through St, South Grafton.
Don't forget to bring along your old jackets for a trade-in deal.