Weather makes fishing hard work

WEATHER more typical of June than September hasn't been doing anyone any favours but there are still a few fish about if you work hard enough.

At least the swell has dropped sufficiently to make the walls and beaches a bit more tolerable, while the estuary hasn't suffered too much from the recent rain.

Ballina bar remains a decidedly dodgy proposition from day to day and anyone who has to cross it for a living deserves any dollar they earn at the moment.

The river entrance seems to have grown an extra wave and a few metres of sand over the past few years but those who think it can be cured by a few days of dredging are fooling themselves.

With the sea gradually settling, there's the chance of a few tailor, the odd salmon and some jewfish around the breakwalls. The birds are working just beyond the break so there's obviously some baitfish about and the predators can't be far behind.

There were some welcome larger bream in the lower Richmond last weekend but they've become far shyer as the moon has waxed to full; we can expect them to come out and play in a few days when the nights become a bit darker.

Flathead have been the mainstays in the Richmond, whose waters seem to be almost universally 20 degrees anywhere between Ballina and Broadwater.

We can expect the middle reaches to warm up a little when the sun comes out – whenever that's going to be!

If our trip from Ballina to Broadwater yesterday is any indication, the best flatties seem to be from Pimlico upstream.

Water clarity in general is quite good but you'll encounter some strange, grey-coloured mud coming out of drains around Empire Vale, while further upstream the drains and creeks are flowing tannin-brown on the ebb tide.

Visibility was generally 60 centimetres or less but there were lizards around that could easily detect and hunt down any soft plastics with flashes of lumo pink or chartreuse.

Most fish were school-sized flatties a bit either side of that 36cm legal length, although there was the odd better fish and one quality female a tad over 70 centimetres that went back to breed.

It's particularly important to let these bigger breeders go over the next month or so – it's when they make little flathead and we can't have too many flathead.

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