Slight improvement in Clarence River fishing
FISH catches showed a marginal improvement during the past week, but based on reports from the weigh in stations, it is more the lack of anglers than lack of fish.
Conditions offshore were not the best, but a number of boats were able to get out for short periods and the majority were able to report a few good catches of reef fish.
However leatherjackets continue to be a problem with some anglers claiming they needed heavy duty fencing wire as traces to beat the effects of the jackets.
The reports were the wider one went, the bigger the fish, but few boats were equipped for really deep sea angling.
Again most of the activity was on the southern grounds out from Wooli and Minnie Water although the best snapper, 2.048kg, was taken off Angourie by Ian Johns of Iluka.
Ian also lost a bit of gear to the jackets, although he did manage to land one weighing 1.668kg. His decision now has to be as to which is the better eating, the snapper or the jacket ?- and many anglers would plump for the jacket.
Bob Fergusson of Wooli fished the local waters for a parrotfish of 2.570kg but the biggest 'other species' was a 3.570kg venus tuskfish taken by Tim Hassell of Red Rock.
Along the beaches and around the headlands, there is still a run of good size tailor.
Biggest were around Red Rock where Steve Henwood of Maclean landed one of 3.000kg and Steve Whitty of Red Rock one of 2.335kg.
Blackfish were as elusive as ever, with most fish taken from the lower reaches and along the ocean front. Early in the week Collis', which has been the hot spot for some time, was bare of anglers, while there was only limited activity (and little success) at Romiaka and Ilarwill.
There has been no fishing activity at the Oyster Channel bridge while the reconstruction has been going on, but with the work almost over, there should be more triers, although early results may not be very encouraging because of the lack of ribbon weed in the area.
Best blackfish for the week was taken by Michael Clay of Gulmarrad who fished Moriatys Wall at the entrance to the river for one of 992g.
He used as bait a plastic lure which resembled light green weed ?- apparently sufficiently lifelike to fool the fish. Townsville visitor, Keith McLeay fished the middle wall for a fish of 654g.
Although there were bream taken in small numbers from Lawrence to almost the entrance, the quality of the catch generally was such that another week has passed without a bream of any size being weighed in.
The same applies to whiting although with the prospect of warmer weather soon, things are a little more encouraging.
Flathead are around in good numbers, but a large number of them are undersize.
Biggest this week, a fish of 4.070kg, was landed by Rod Benfield of Yamba who fished Collis'.
Rod Rooks of Yamba fished at Harwood and landed one of 3.490kg on a plastic lure.
Large jewfish have been on the quiet side despite the amount of white water around the breakwalls, with the best this week, a schoolie of 4.000kg, from the Yamba wall by Andrew Grace of Wooloweyah.
Probably of more value is fishing for bass in the water around and above Grafton.
Fish are biting reasonably well with the best this week taken at Companhurst, 1.700kg, by Adam Ware.