It's not going to be the best weekend to wet a line.
It's not going to be the best weekend to wet a line. JERAD WILLIAMS

More rain means tonnes of choking mud in the river

TIME to break out the raincoat, there's a fair chance it'll come in handy this weekend.

The swell has been dropping away and turning east but the southerly change predicted for tomorrow will give it another push and make offshore grounds and the exposed rocks unpleasant again.

Those who did get to sea earlier in the week reported some fair catches of mackerel, tuna and a smattering of snapper, mulloway and teraglin but they should improve further over coming months, so no great loss if you can't get out this time around.

Many people will welcome a bit of rain but these days it doesn't take much of a downpour to put another few hundred tonnes of choking mud into the Richmond.

Let's hope the new macadamia farmers on all the old cane land at South Ballina can manage their runoff better than the ones up on the red-soil plateau have done.

In the meantime, the river is producing some fair fishing all the way to Wardell, with school mulloway and flathead in deeper holes and bream gathering closer to the ocean in preparation for spawning in a month or so.

The surf should fish pretty well, with increasing numbers of baitfish and the tailor that follow them, along with dart, whiting and flathead.

No spring chicken

AN ALBACORE tagged in 2008 on the NSW South Coast has just been recaptured off New Zealand.

When tagged by Mitchell Preston on the Jervis Bay Canyons in November 2008, the fish was measured at 70cm and estimated to be 7kg.

After a whopping 3434 days at liberty, on April 4 a Kiwi commercial longliner recaptured the albacore off the north-eastern tip of New Zealand, 1227 nautical miles (2272km) from its original release location.

The fish had grown to 1m long and an estimated 20kg during its nine years and seven months at liberty.

This recapture marks the longest time at liberty recorded for an albacore released under the NSW game-fish tagging program and eclipses the previous record of 2567 days, held by an albacore recaptured wide of Eden in 2004.

With their extraordinarily long pectoral fins and firm, white flesh, albacore are among the most underrated tuna but still command a strong price at market.

Although the heaviest albacore known was a whopping 60kg, they mostly don't grow much bigger than this tagged individual and the recaptured fish is at the far end of its life expectancy at over nine years.

In 1914 the Van Camp Seafood Company, of San Diego in California, stole the local fishermen's phrase "chicken of the sea" and used it as a marketing term to describe the taste of canned albacore, because of the white flesh and mild flavour. It's thought to be the original bearer of the name.

Trout rage in NZ

THE New Zealand trout fishery is estimated to be worth at least $250m a year, but its popularity is raising red flags.

Lobby group Kiwi Anglers First is demanding an overhaul of freshwater fishing management to protect the recreational rights of New Zealanders and restrict visitor access.

There have been heated exchanges on riverbanks as Kiwi anglers compete with tourists, some of whom are ignorant or dismissive of local fishing etiquette, according to stuff.co.nz.

Pushy guides, some international and unlicensed, aggressively demand priority for clients paying up to $700 a day for the so-called Everest of fly fishing for trout.

At the other end of the spectrum, "trout bums" camp beside prime rivers for days or weeks, killing and eating trout instead of catching and releasing them to preserve stocks.

Animosity and resentment have spread throughout prime trout waterways on both islands but bad feeling is most apparent on back-country streams where daytripper heli-fishers compete with locals who have trekked for hours or days to fish pristine water.

The New Zealand Trout App provides information about local fishing areas and in its first two months online, most of its 1585 users were Americans and Brits.

Locals are urging bureaucrats and lawmakers to steeply raise the cost of licences for visitors, restrict dodgy guides and ensure visitors know how they are expected to behave.

Meanwhile, growing numbers of waterways which once held trout are depleted by irrigation, intensive farming and climate change.

The Federation of Fresh Water Anglers has mapped more than 100 "dying" rivers now deemed unfishable, or in serious decline.



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