FISHING reports during the past week have shown slow improvement but there still appears to be a dearth of anglers.
Conditions offshore have certainly been far from ideal but a few boats have been able to venture to the close-in reefs during the quieter spells.
Catches generally have been marginal with a few small snapper off Angourie and the occasional teraglin and other reef fish.
The occasional surface fish also provides some hope for the next month or two.
The most productive area for big snapper has been on the southern grounds around Wooli and Minnie Water.
Top reddie weighed in this week was the 9.86kg catch by Ray Pugh, of Grafton, who tried his luck off Minnie with pilchard bait. This was only a little below the weight of the biggest landed this year.
The waters off Wooli were also the spot where Troy Redman, of Yamba, scored his 16.38kg jewfish on a mullet bait.
Young Brody Rheinberger, of Yamba, is maintaining the family tradition, scoring a 9.35kg jewfish from the white water coming over the reef on the corner of Yamba Point.
He was well schooled on the technique for this spot by Peter, while his late grandfather Ray, although not a very talkative man, was a top rod in the catching of big jewfish from this spot and the Yamba breakwall.
The size of bream being landed is still disappointing with very few nearing the kilo mark.
Best presented this week was the 712g catch by Brisbane visitor Richard Cranitch, who fished among the trawlers in Yamba Harbour, with herring bait.
Fiona Curtin, of Yamba, tried the high rocks at the old quarry underneath the lighthouse at Yamba for one of 654g.
She also landed a 612g blackfish on a pilchard bait at the same spot.
However, certificate for the biggest blackfish was taken out by my neighbour Greg Biffin, with one of 900g which he landed on the Middle Wall.
The Middle Wall also proved productive for Andrew Notting, of Brisbane, who landed a 4.95kg flathead on a pilchard bait. After the weigh-in he released it back into the water.
Greg Johnson, of Yamba, was another who targeted flathead and found one of 4.6kg among the trawlers in Yamba Harbour.
Damien Croskell, of Coutts Crossing, went well upstream close to Rogans Bridge and landed a 1.85kg flathead; an indication of the saltiness of the river due to the lack of rain.
There is still plenty of activity for those chasing bass with Kirt Arnold, of Copmanhurst, landing one of 1.35kg in his local water.
Marty Haynes, of Grafton, tried at the Grafton Bridge and did a little better with one of 1.5kg.
For those who like to find a quiet sheltered spot, the vicinity of the trawlers at Yamba and Iluka can often turn up some surprises.
Richard Cranitch, from Bribie Island, landed a 1.4kg silver trevally among the Yamba trawlers.