Comfort in the cold
  |  First Published: July 2011



Compared to the comforts of Summer, the cooler months can be a little hard to take. It's not that the fishing is bad; it's just that the frosty starts can be a bit of shock to the system.

It's that little bit harder to spring out of bed when the grass is white and crunches under your feet.

People who think it doesn't get cold here on the North Coast may be in for a rude surprise if they visit during Winter. We get our fair share of cool to cold days and plenty of frosty starts both inland and right on the coast.

Head up ‘the Hill’ to the New England and you may as well be in Thredbo!

Now I'll stop whinging about the cold and tell you what's going on.

The first exciting thing to hit the inshore reefs was a push of solid cobia. May is traditionally a good month for cobes but this year nothing much happened.

Then, just when we'd all thought they'd be a no-show, the first fish I heard of went 42kg! Then the next one went 28kg.

While they have been a little hit and miss, it would be still worth working the close reefs just off the Jail or down around Green Island.

Jig up a few slimies or yakkas and send them down on stout tackle running 50lb line. Rig them on a single 8/0 hook and use a leader around 70lb.

The cool weather has fired up a few snapper. While most have been caught on the northern reefs in 40m, a few good fish have come also from Black Rock.

The colder it get, the closer the snapper move to shore.

At this time of year they tend to be out in the deeper zones and slowly edging their way in. In late Winter and early Spring, you can expect to find some really big fish on the reefs right behind the breakers.

TAILOR SPINNING

Tailor, bream, mullet and blackfish are in full swing along the ocean rocks and beaches. So if you like targeting any of these classic winter species, now is the time of year to do it.

A fun way to pin a few tailor is to walk the local beaches with a light spin rod and cast metal lures into the close gutters. A punchy rod around 3m long loaded with 10lb braid will cast a 30g to 40g lure a long way, allowing you to reach the likely channels and drop-offs.

The same outfit will also be ideal for flicking cut pilchard or mullet baits into the close gutters for bream.

And on the right rocky ledge, this outfit also will be very effective on bream and tailor. This sort of spin gear is very versatile and will come into its own at this time of year.

RIVER BREAM

Back in the Macleay River the cooler water has slowed the local flathead and while flatties have shut up shop, there's a decent run of bream right at the river mouth.

We had a few days of rough seas, which slowed the beach haulers and allowed a few schools of bream to move into the river.

Blackfish also followed the bream, so there's pretty good numbers of quality fish in the lower reaches at present.

As you’d expect, the run of bream and blackfish has raised the interest of a few bigger jewfish.

This time of year is as good as it gets for consistently finding quality jewies. The average size fish caught during the cooler months is usually around 10kg to 13kg, with a sprinkling of 15kg to 20kg fish.

Remember, big baits equal big fish, so if you want a shot at a large jewie, start using baits like whole pike, tailor, mullet, bream and blackfish.

The cool weather has slowed the bass and many of these are thinking of heading down to the brackish country.

As you are well aware, it is illegal to possess bass until September 1. Those caught while targeting other species have to be released straight away, so if you snare a bass when looking for a few bream, make sure it goes back ASAP.

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