I decided to have a fish in the Clarence River on Saturday afternoon. I had been concentrating on the rocks and beaches at Iluka, as the river water still looked very dark after the recent floods. I decided to try and fish the north bank of the river just to the east of the Norfolk Island dock, near Browns Rocks. You get to this spot by turning left off the Iluka road at Woombah. There is an area of weed beds and sand flats here. There is also an old oyster farm and a few drop offs into the main river channel.
I arrived about 4.30 pm. The tide was about half way out and it was hot and humid. There was a light northerly breeze and it was fairly cloudy. This area is best approached in a pair of waders. I pulled mine on and rigged up my light spin outfit for soft plastics. It is a 6ft Loomis GL2 spin rod matched with a Shimano Stradic 4000 reel. I had spooled it with 6lb (2.8kg) Fireline and tied on a 1.5m long 10lb fluorocarbon leader. I started fishing with a 1/6th 1/0 jighead, but almost immediately changed down in weight and size to a 1/8th 1 hook jighead when I realized there was not much current flow.
I waded out to the point just short of where the sand flats drop off into the main channel and then turned and waded up river, parallel with the river bank. I was therefore casting up, into the run out tide and bouncing my soft plastic over the bottom, along the edge of the weed banks, right along the drop off.
I was looking for Flathead and that was what I found, in almost plague proportions – I caught twenty in an hour and a half. I was using the GULP 2” Shrimp in the Banana Prawn colour and the 3” Minnow in the Lime Tiger and Pear Watermelon colours. They were all catching fish. The problem was size. The vast majority of Flathead were under 20cm long. There were few around the 30cm mark, but only three over 40cm. The best fish was just over 55cm.
There were also plenty of small Bream cruising above the weed beds. Initially, they definitely preferred to hit the Pearl Watermelon minnow but as it got later and darker, they got less fussy. I caught 9 in the session of which three were over 25cm – but I released them all.
Finally around 7.15pm I gave up and drove back to Iluka. It was a great session and shows that there are still plenty of fish in the Clarence River.