By DICK RICHARDS
LAST weekend turned out to be one of those magical weekends, where even the fish were jumping out of the water everything was so good.
Yes, it's no fishing yarn, the mackerel were diving out of the water chopping into the large schools of bait fish off Angourie to well past Wooli.
Biggest pulled out and weighed in was the 8.400kg mackerel taken by Philip Clarke of Inverell who fished off Brooms Head.
Many other boats were in the area and brought home good catches while there was unconfirmed reports that some professional boats returned with close to 100 fish a boat.
It is a long time since mackerel of this quantity have been reported.
While no reports have been received from the area off Woody, the traditional home of mackerel this time of the year, it is most unlikely they would not be in good numbers in that area.
But of course there is always a fly in the ointment, and at the moment of writing this report, there are now forecasts of strong winds everywhere along the coast from Byron Bay to Bermagui.
However some offshore anglers passed on the pelagics and tried for reef fish, with Rob Fuller of Maclean boating a snapper of 5kg off Sandon.Chris Byrne, a visitor from North Geelong, fished off Wooli and returned with a blue marlin which weighed in at 35kg.
Although marlin and other billish which might be classed as 'big game' are not eligible for the biggest fish of year contest, but for his efforts, Chris is entitled to collect a certificate from one of the Daily Examiner offices as a record of his catch.
Carmel Wu, another visitor, this time from Woollahra, boated a dolphin fish of 5.5kg from the same area.
The general run of bream in the estuary is still on the small side, although Rick O'Connor of MacLean managed to land one of 1.5kg he said came from Flat Rock at the southern end of Pippie Beach.
Rick also landed a school jewfish of 6kg from the same area, but missed out with his tailor of 3.500kg.
The biggest tailor for the week, 4kg, was taken at Woody Head by Chris Bellamy of Gullmarad using a garfish as bait.
There are still plenty of good whiting in most of the estuaries, with Browns Rocks continuing to fire, where I Hellion from Macksville landed one of 350g.
However biggest for the week was taken in the Wooli River by Ron Sommers of Grafton whose fish weighed 400g.
Cameron O'Meally of Seelands had one of 230g from the same area, and Murray Wilks of Maclean landed his 338g fish at Romiaka.
However to make up for missing on whiting, Murray collects a certificate for his 3.278kg flathead, also taken at Romiaka.
Heather Bailey of Maclean was not far behind with her fish of 3.200kg from the Middle Wall, and Matthew Sheather of Wyalong had one of 2.330kg from the same area.
Blackfish are still very scarce, with Frank O'Loughlin landing one of 880g from Craigmore Rocks. Rada Babic, our visitor from Lightning Ridge, appears to have switched from bream to blackfish and landed one of 500g at Browns, although he also caught a bream of 1kg from the same area.
Mangrove jack are still biting well, with Donald (Duck) Anderson, one of the commercial fishers, landing one of 2.460kg from the back of his trawler while cleaning up in Yamba Bay . . . he also swears he lost one much bigger.
In the Wooli River, Trevor Porch of Wooli landed a jack of 3.330kg, but it was not big enough to beat the 4kg groper taken by Cole Morgan of Grafton fishing at Yamba Point for the 'other' species.
And just to show that it is not always the most experienced angler who brings home the bacon (or fish) on a recent club outing to a dam near Kyogle for bass, one of the keenest contests was between the Cook and 'Jackal' with the final score Cook 1, Jackal nil.