Mix it up with offshore fishing in winter
  |  First Published: July 2017

Winter has finally decided to show its face on the Mid North Coast of NSW after a mild autumn that brought reasonably settled conditions. The fishing has been fairly good with the transition of species providing the possibility of some quality mixed bags, especially when fishing offshore.

Bottom fishing has been at its most productive out in 60-80m. Pearl perch, trag, tuskfish and snapper will all be found when fishing this depth.

Larger species like kingfish and mulloway are always on the cards out on these reefs at this time of year, especially if bait is holding on a pinnacle or reef edge. Dropping a live bait down around any likely bait schools or good looking pieces of reef will quickly obtain results if these fish are present.

The early season shallow reef fishery has been fairly strong this year. Light jigging and soft plastic fishing or anchoring up and setting a berley trail to drift baits down is good. Surprisingly, after a fairly slow mackerel season there have still been a few spotties hanging around the inshore reefs.

Rock hoppers are currently getting amongst some good tailor and mulloway. Winter is a great time to target bigger mulloway, and fishing light is not an option for anyone serious about catching a big fish off the rocks. Big fresh baits and soft plastics of 6” or larger fished on 50lb gear will do the job nicely.

Bream, luderick, drummer and groper are just a few of many other species that can be targeted off the headlands. The best times to chase these species are directly after periods of larger swell when the waves loosen up all the food from the rocks.

There have still been a few tuna kicking around offshore, with mac tuna being the most common. There have been a few more desirable yellowfin as well as the odd longtail. Kingfish have been around the headlands as well as out around Fish Rock and Black Rock. These fish have been seen on occasions absolutely destroying baitfish on the surface.

Winter sees a lot more activity on the beaches as the annual spawning runs take place. With mild days and moderate seas, the scene is set for some enjoyable sessions off the sand. Bream have been in great numbers and in very good condition of late.

Tailor have been caught around the low light periods of dawn and dusk. Good flathead have been picking up the scraps left behind by the feeding tailor schools. Mulloway are in good numbers on the beaches for those anglers ready to brave the cooler evenings. Selecting a tide change around dark will definitely reduce the time required to wait for an enquiry from these fish if they are around.

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