Conditions looking good for fishing's weekend warriors

5th May 2017 6:00 AM
Big game obat fishing in deep sea on boat Ballina's offshore fishos did okay before the latest blow, bagging snapper out on the 32-fathom reefs, amberjack and pearlies on the 48s and spotted mackerel down at Riordans. The reefs off Evans Head have also fished well for mackerel, trag and reds, and should continue to do so when the wind backs off. Antonio Balaguer soler

THE weekend warriors look like being on another winner, with a favourably calm weather window forecast over the next couple of days between these regular southerly bursts.

Last weekend turned out better than the forecasters predicted, with that big southerly event losing its oomph down the coast.

Some decent catches came from the offshore grounds and the beaches, while the estuaries continue to improve as cleaner water moves upstream.

Brett at Ballina Bait and Tackle says the offshore fishos did okay before the latest blow, bagging snapper out on the 32-fathom reefs, amberjack and pearlies on the 48s and spotted mackerel down at Riordans.

The reefs off Evans Head have also fished well for mackerel, trag and reds, and should continue to do so when the wind backs off.

Chopper tailor have been picking up in numbers and size in the surf washes along most of the coast and from now on there should be some bigger greenbacks moving about under cover of darkness.

It's bream time from the beaches, breakwalls and into the lower rivers. Most of the time these fish will be in deeper water than their usual summer haunts.

The water is still warm enough to produce some more tropical by-catch, too. I scored my second silver javelin (spotted grunter) of the season this week, along with endless bigeye trevally, little GTs and moses perch, and I think I briefly connected to a giant herring but that all ended sadly.

There'll be enough run in the tides this week to keep the crabbers interested, with muddies on the move in the Evans, Bruns- wick and Richmond rivers and Emigrant and North creeks.

Brett says the Ballina blackfish are now taking cabbage baits on the run-up tide and prawns and yabbies on the run back, while there are a few along the Evans River breakwalls on cabbage, especially if there's a bit of swell about.

Sam Taylor with a big, healthy Australian bass. Bigger bass have been harder to come by recently.
An angler with a big, healthy Australian bass. The annual zero-bag limit closure for bass and estuary perch in all rivers and estuaries is now in place until September 1. Dayne Taylor

Zero bass

THE annual zero-bag limit closure for bass and estuary perch in all rivers and estuaries is now in place until September 1.

Catch and release is permitted but fish must be returned to the water immediately, with the least possible harm.

While most bass anglers these days practise catch and release anyway, the good ol' boys who don't mind a "perch” fillet will just have to look for a feed somewhere else.

Fisheries compliance officers take a dim view of those who flout this law and are usually keen to make an example of anybody they catch.

Baitfish under attack

THE Australian Fisheries Management Authority has more than quadrupled the total allowable catch limit for slimy mackerel for the 2017-18 season, which started this week.

The new take of slimy mackerel in the eastern sub-area will jump from the previous 2630 tonnes to 12,090 tonnes.

The allowable catch for Australian sardines - read blue pilchards - also leaps from 1880 tonnes to 9550 tonnes.

The buzz is that it's because of a proposal for a pair-trawling operation - a large net dragged between two trawlers - to replace the controversial Geelong Star supertrawler that departed Australian waters last year under a cloud.

Sounds like a plan - take the food out of the mouths of bigger fish, whales, dolphins and other marine life and seabirds and turn it into cat food.