Wet a line and score a mixed bag of fish

AFTER some of the best Easter fishing conditions seen in decades we seem to be on a roll, with low swells and calm mornings forecast for this weekend as well.

The quality offshore fishing continues, with water temps remaining in the mid-20s and gentle current from the north, so make the most of it before it finally cools off.

Mackerel are in all their usual haunts for this time of year and also in quite a few places nobody would expect them to be.

You could safely say that any rocky point, piece of reef or other structure in 50m or less that's likely to hold bait could also hold mackerel.

The places most frequented by anglers are, from north to south, Black Rocks and the Local off Brunswick, the Mackerel Boulder off Byron (marine park rules apply), Lennox Pinnacle, Flat Rock, Black Head, the Riordans reef complex out of Ballina, and Snapper Rock, Kahors and the South Reef off Evans.

But fishos fishing the bottom with pilchards can also encounter plenty, especially if they set up a consistent berley trail.

It's a great time to end up with a fantastic mixed bag of many colours, including snapper, mulloway, teraglin, samson, tuskfish, maori cod, tropical wrasses, spotted and Spanish mackerel and even wahoo. I saw all of these and much more on cleaning tables over Easter.

Cobia also seem to be plentiful and some of them have been in the unstoppable class.

Brett at Ballina Bait and Tackle says that out wider, there are mahimahi around the FADs, snapper and flathead on the 32-fathom reefs and bar cod out wide.

The beaches have been quite fishable for chopper tailor, bream, whiting, dart and the odd decent flathead as well. Around Evans Head and Broadwater you could have a hard time if there's kelp in the hole you select but you won't have to travel far to find some clean water.

Unfortunately the Richmond River is still chocolate and the weekend's neap tides won't do much to flush out the dirt, which is backed up to Casino and Lismore.

But Brett says there are plenty of bream in the last few kilometres before the moth and still flathead from the ferry to Wardell.

Reader Allan Drury in yesterday's letters section makes some very good points in relation to the condition of the river but I don't think he goes far enough.

It's getting to the stage where prolonged turbidity and siltation from agriculture, acid runoff and an insane cocktail of chemicals and hormones means that the river from Lismore and Casino to Broadwater one day soon will be unable to continuously sustain life.

New Advisory Council

DAVE Rae, of Coffs Harbour, is the North Coast appointee to the Recreational Fishing NSW advisory council, which replaces the old Advisory Council on Recreational Fishing.

Dave, a teacher and fishing writer, is responsible for the area from the Tweed to Port Macquarie.

RFNSW comprises eight regional members for the coast and inland, one member each for spearfishing and charter boats and 'other representatives that significantly benefit the function of the advisory council', who appear to be Sydney stalwarts Stan Konstantaras and Max Castle. All are ministerial appointments.

Independent chair is Prof Johann Bell, of the National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security at the University of Wollongong.

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