July had its fair share of windy days but was also a good fishing month. The mulloway/ jewfish were all around the ledges, when I could safely get at them and I caught plenty of keepers.
When the swell is up I focus on land-based fishing around Iluka and Yamba. If you have a pair of waders the options are pretty much endless and you can always find a spot to get out of the wind.
Fishing with my light rig and a 12lb fluorocarbon leader I caught plenty of decent flathead on soft plastics and small hard bodies. I also caught a few bream and tailor on these lures. The best tailor were caught working hard bodied minnow lures along the riverbanks at dusk. I got bitten off a few times like this. The biggest tailor I landed from the river where about 40cm long.
On Monday afternoon the temperature shot up and the wind blew from the north all night. A small storm had passed at about 3.30 am and woken me up. So Tuesday morning was warm and humid. A big southerly wind change was due late morning so I decided to have a look at Frazer’s Reef around sunrise. Conditions were calm, the tide was running in and it was a few days after the new moon.
I started fishing with the heavy rod – 40lb braid and 40lb fluorocarbon leader. I started with a 1/4 ounce, 1/0 hook jighead loaded with a Lucky Craft Mad Scientist Optishad in the Motor Oil colour. This is another paddletail soft plastic with a really great action. The first taker was a small big eye trevally, in close to the rocks. I put what was left of the soft plastic back on and a few casts later a 45 cm tailor ate it. The plastic was now unusable so I put on a GULP Lime Tiger coloured jerkshad. A few casts later a fish grabbed it and tried to get under the rock ledge. The tough leader held and I pulled up a bigger trevally.
Things then went quiet so after losing a jighead to the rocks, I re-rigged with a lighter 25lb leader. The tide was now running in, strongly. The paddletail soft plastic had got the fish to bite earlier so I went back to that idea and put on a 5″ GULP Paddleshad in the Pink Belly colour. I watched the swell and hopped the plastic across the bottom, as close as I could, parallel with the ledge. After about four retrieves I thought I was snagged but then I felt a bit of give and a good solid run. It was a jewfish/ mulloway, fortunately it swam out into open water and played itself out. I lifted it onto a lower ledge then pulled it up to me by the leader. It was 72cm long and as we had already demolished the one from a few days before, I kept it.
When I gutted it, I had a look in its stomach and it was full of small school prawns. These are currently pretty thick in the lower reaches of the Clarence River.
The early start had paid off with a couple of good fish and good conditions.
After a disappointing morning on the rocks, I decided to try fishing the Clarence River in the afternoon. I drove along to the Browns Rocks area. I passed the wharf and drove down to the area in front of the old oyster farm and then put on my waders.
There is a large section of weed beds just to the south of the oyster farm. The weed beds grow on the edge of the main river channel and hold plenty of bait. All the recent rain had left the water murky, but I arrived just before the top of the tide and so the water was as salty as it would get.
I was fishing with my light spin combination and decided to come right down to 8lb fluorocarbon leader. I started with a GULP 2” Shrimp soft plastic in the Banana Prawn colour. The first few casts produced a few hits from small fish. They were very aggressive so I expect they were small Tailor. They often hang around here.
I moved along, parallel with the shore, casting into the run in tide and retrieving fairly fast to avoid getting tangled in the weed. I caught and released a couple of tiny Bream. Then I suddenly had a much bigger fish on. It was not very fast but it had plenty of power. It was not moving like a Flathead and was making plenty of long runs. I walked slowly back to shore and tightened the drag as much as I dared. I saw some silver and some stripes and then realized it was a good sized Luderick. I landed it and decided it would be dinner. I do not get these very often and they taste good. Once more the GULP soft plastic had proved irresistible.
The session continued with a Flathead, a chopper Tailor and a few more small Bream. There were plenty of fish around but no big ones. I should come back to this spot at dawn or dusk – one day!