by SNAGGED with Barry Cooder
SOME tougher fishing this week after the new moon on Sunday, with quite a few species shut down for reasons best known to themselves.
Most of the snapper chasers in close have reported diminished catches this week and those who went wider off Ballina have encountered the onset of the dreaded leatherjacket plague.
Hordes of voracious chinaman leatherjackets can infest the wider reefs for weeks at a time, snipping through line and even hooks with teeth that work like end-cutter pliers.
There's really nothing much you can do to get past them so you might as well rig up with wire traces and catch the bag limit of 20. They actually go pretty well on the table although it can dull a sharp knife skinning them first.
Or you can try fishing for snapper with lighter gear closer in, where the fish are likely to improve over the coming week.
Teraglin, too, should improve in coming days and there's enough current in fairly close to get a good berley trail going.
The beaches, although slightly eroded from last weekend's big swells and spring tides, should continue to turn up bream, dart and dusky flathead, some of which tend to migrate north from one waterway to the next over winter.
Other flatties work their way up the estuaries on the tides, with schools of fish now being taken in the Richmond up to Broadwater.
Bream seem to have dispersed from the big schools of a few weeks ago but if you can find them in the lower estuaries there are some good ones among them.
I had an interesting time trying to locate a few in the Evans River this week.
Everywhere I threw three-inch soft plastics in hope of a bream, I caught nice flatties from 40-60cm. When I moved to my flattie grounds and put out a four-inch plastic, I caught some big bream!
Luderick have been confounding the float-watchers, with poor returns from the seawalls and farther upstream. Weed is still scarce but even when you do procure a supply of the good stuff, the fish are sporadic and shy.
Perhaps they, too, will improve in coming days because their season is far from over.
Dave Irvine classic
THE Dave Irvine Snapper Classic will be held off Coffs Harbour from August 4-6.
Dave was inventor of the Environet and a strong advocate of catch and release.
So for this comp you'll need a brag mat, Environet or similar and a camera to record your catch.
The compulsory briefing is at the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club at 6pm on the Friday.
Coffs is a great place to fish so it's worth the trip.
BOM wave warnings
A new weather warning issued for the first time this week is aimed at enhancing the safety of rock fishers, boaters and swimmers.
The Hazardous Surf Warning Service alerts the public when conditions are dangerous for rock fishing, boating or swimming due to wave height and swells.
Manager of New South Wales weather services Jane Golding said awareness of large and powerful waves would influence more than 90% of rock fishers to change their plans.
The warnings will identify which coastal waters areas are affected and include safety advice developed with maritime agencies.
Surf Life Saving NSW's chief operating officer Adam Weir said the new system of surf warnings would be a big asset to lifesavers in alerting the public to hazardous conditions.
This service will be provided in the coastal waters areas of NSW and southern Queensland.
They are on the Bureau of Meteorology home page, marine radio, the BOM weather app and the mobile website.
Tagged mulloway success
The mulloway tagging program run by the NSW Research Angler Program (NSW RAP) and ANSA NSW has yielded many impressive results since it started in March 2014, but they don't get much more noteworthy than the most recent recapture of a tagged mulloway.
On May 28, keen surf fisher Peter Brodie was fishing just north of the Maroochy River at Mudjimba in southern Queensland when he hooked something that tore off down the beach.
After a tense 20 minutes on 12lb line, Peter finally managed to beach a fine 83cm mulloway.
It wasn't until the next day that he noticed what looked like algae sticking out of the fish's shoulder - on closer inspection the mystery object turned out to be NSW DPI gamefish tag #A599706. It had been put there some 551 days earlier by tag program participant Cameron Cronin at Hat Head, on the NSW mid North Coast, on November 24, 2015, when the fish was just 67cm in length.
The fish's 550km journey from Hat Head to Mudjimba is a record for a mulloway tagged in NSW waters. The epic travels of this fish also serves as another reminder of the excellent data the NSW RAP provides Fisheries NSW for monitoring and managing important recreational fish species.
If you are a passionate fisho and would like to contribute to the ongoing assessment and monitoring of some of our key recreational fish stocks - mulloway, yellowtail kingfish, snapper, dusky flathead and tailor - visit the program web page.