It’s cold, but the fishing is good
I KNOW it's cold and miserable and I know it's snowing down there somewhere and it sometimes feels like it could be here soon, but it's still a great time of year to wet a line.
You can sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast and then head out in banker's hours and still experience some special fishing.
And that seems to be the case whether you fish the offshore reefs, the surf or the estuaries.
There have been plenty of good fish weighed in at the Evans Head Classic in all categories (it ends tonight) and other fishos up and down the coast have also done well lately.
Squidgy at Ballina Bait and Tackle says bream are still star performers in the lower Richmond, with good catches around the rock walls in the river and the ocean breakwalls.
Flathead are spreading out as far up as Wardell and there have been migrating flatties along the beaches and big female fish lying in the lower Evans, Richmond and Brunswick rivers.
Luderick have hit a peak in all their usual haunts. At this time of year, they hug the ocean breakwalls and work into the deeper, slower sections of the rivers.
Squidgy says mulloway have been active in the Richmond above the ferry and down near the Ramada
The ocean looks like picking up tomorrow so the rocks and the river bars might not be accessible but when the reefs are safe there have been snapper in close, plenty of teraglin and quality school mulloway to about 14kg.
Watch for leatherjackets out wider.
YOU won't be able to enjoy the great fishing, let alone the scenery, if you don't stay warm and dry.
The key is to layer-dress with a windproof outer jacket, a fleece or wool warm coat or hoodie and an underlayer close to the skin that can wick away perspiration if you get active.
A beanie on top and warm, windproof pants or surf waders do the job. Warm footwear, whether thick socks and sneakers, gumboots or uggies, completes the winter fisho's uniform.
Apart from one thing. If you fell in wearing all this, you'd go straight to the bottom.
If you did bob up, your clothes would be so soaked your mates would have a hard time pulling you back into the boat or up on to the shore.
A lifejacket, especially one of those minimalist inflatable jobs, could well be a life saver.
Hypothermia is far less of a problem around here than it is in southern waters or up in the mountains but it is still an issue. The river water is about 16-17 degrees and the ocean not much warmer - no place to have to spend a lot of time.