Skye Matthaei took this stunning shot of local fisherman Brett McMeekin during a dusk fish at Palmers Island, near Yamba.
Skye Matthaei took this stunning shot of local fisherman Brett McMeekin during a dusk fish at Palmers Island, near Yamba. Skye Matthaei

Don’t let cold weather put you off fishing this weekend

YOUR best fishing mates this weekend could well be your beanie and warm jacket.

And I think the best bargain I ever bought was a pair of fine wool fingerless gloves. They cost just a dollar or two about 20 years ago and for a few weeks every year, they're worth their weight in gold.

It's amazing how cold the handle of a reel can get, not to mention the metal parts.

But it's nowhere near as bad as it gets down in the Snowies, where I've had the line freeze in the rod guides!

Out of the wind, it's T-shirt weather in the middle of the day around here and unless you're eager to have your best shot at a big snapper, there's no need to get out of bed before the chooks to catch a feed.

There are enough good snapper in close now to reward your suffering in the icy pre-dawn and the tailor bite best at night and at first light, but remember to be wary of the whales, which are in ever-increasing numbers.

Please treat them as roundabouts, not speed bumps!

The rest of the winter fishing favourites are, luckily, keeping bank hours.

Brett at Ballina Bait and Tackle says the bream are biting well around the final kilometre or so of the Richmond, especially along the Porpoise Wall and in the Bream Hole.

Flathead are at their best from Burns Point to Pimlico, moving from the depths to the shallows as conditions dictate. Don't be afraid to try for some in the warmer shallows as they sun themselves.

It can be tough fishing the beaches when a southerly swell pounds on the outer banks well out of casting distance. Those banks were dunes not too long ago.

It looks like the swell is going to drop enough to make the beaches and rocks quite fishable but be aware of the height of the evening tide - it's enough to trap the unwary.

Boating regs updated

THE new Marine Safety Regulations 2016 come into effect in New South Wales today.

Changes are said to promote safety, reduce red tape, improve administrative efficiency and harmonise with road transport laws.

Among the changes are:

> From today, applicants no longer need to complete a theory-based boating safety course before getting a licence. Practical boating training and a knowledge test continue to apply.

> A 10-year licence has been introduced and the young adult licence scheme is discontinued.

> Boats no longer require a registration label.

> Transfer of vessel registration ownership notification must be completed within 14 days, down from 21 days.

> New lifejacket standards have been adopted and requirements for wearing them have been simplified.

> New safe distance codes require vessels to remain 60m from people in the water and dive flags or, if that is not practicable, a safe distance and speed.

> Power vessels travelling at 6 knots or more must keep 30m from vessels, land or structures or, if not practicable, a safe distance and speed.

> Regulations preventing bow-riding in a position that puts occupants at increased risk of falling overboard have been boosted.

> Fines for towing, safety equipment and lifejacket offences have jumped to $250.

> Fines for operating an unregistered vessel or overloading jump to $500.

> A new fine of $500 hits those who have a registered PWC and allow it to be operated by an unlicensed person

> New restrictions on towing, wake boarding or wake surfing.



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