THOSE anglers who put aside their fishing gear to do their Christmas shopping during the past week missed out on some good catches.
There were plenty of fish on the bite, but few anglers on the water.
However offshore activity, both from the number of participants and concentration of fish, was disappointing.
The boats which were able to get across the bar with the appearance of big surf searched hard to find any concentration.
One party tried the North-East corner, switched to Red Cliff and then back to Angourie with only small catches and many throw-backs.
A few surface fish put in an appearance around Woody Head, but catches were down on the small catches of the previous weeks.
Bob Evans of Palmers Island was one who managed to get offshore for a while and brought in a mixed bag from off Brooms Head.
He scored a reef flathead of 450g, a parrotfish of 1.8kg and a small snapper of 1.1kg, all on blue pilchards
However, for the holiday maker during the next few weeks, fish are in good numbers in the estuary from the entrance to well above Grafton.
And it is Browns Rocks which has been really firing during the past week
Rada Babic from Lightning Ridge, a regular visitor to this area, scored the biggest flathead - 3.2kg - on a yabbie bait and also a bream of 810g or successive days.
Browns also produced the best bream of the week - 1.2kg, taken by Audry Russou from Black Mountain, using a prawn bait.
Despite the big seas encountered, or perhaps because of the white water around the headland, Rhyan Buckley of Maclean scored a 3.56kg tailor fishing off Lovers Point with a lure.
The spot looked promising early this week for big jewfish once the seas had eased off, but there were few anglers who ventured to trudge across the sands and rocks to the spot.
Pelagics have moved into the lower reaches of the river in some number and size. and following last week's catches, more good-sized trevally are being hooked around the entrance.
One of the biggest came from the Oyster Channel where Scott Lenton of Yamba got stuck into one of 2.92kg on a lure.
Carol Crawford of Yamba did her fishing among the trawler moorings of Yamba, an area which tends to produce quite a few fish of this size at this time of the year, and landed one of 2.5kg on a prawn bait.
Mangrover jack are still being taken in some numbers from the lower reaches.
The biggest this week came, again, from Browns Rocks - 3.18kg taken by Scott Randall of Yamba using a lure.
And for those preferring to try the fresh water, bass are also co-operating during the holidays with quite a few on the bite in some of the small creeks near the entrance.
Also, from the Grafton bridge upstream.Nick Haynes of South Grafton did not have to travel far from his home to find his best catch of 1.34kg near the Grafton Bridge.
And visitors, and local anglers too, who score the largest of species in any week, can collect an attractive certificate from the Daily Examiner offices in Yamba or Grafton to record their success.
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