Visitor reels in a whopper off Minnie Water

STRONG winds may have inhibited fishing activity but did not deter the keen angler.

And, despite the weather, a number ventured offshore on the southern grounds and returned with some very good catches of snapper.

There were reports of catches made to the north, but those who turned right after leaving the entrance had the assistance of a tail wind on the return trip.

Ray Pugh of Grafton did particularly well on his offshore outings off Minnie Water and returned with a snapper of 9.780kg, one of the largest weighed in so far this year and just short of Mick Rheinberger's table-topping 10.000kg effort recorded on April 30.

Several days later, he tried again and this time his best snapper was 6.690kg, although Graham Hall of Grafton did better with a fish of 7.885kg.

Ray also returned with a pearl perch of 3.819kg, thus collecting two certificates for the week. Close behind on the pearlies was Brodey Wall who scored one of 3.260kg off Wooli.

Another regular in these columns, Nick Haynes of Grafton tried off Minnie for a snapper of 5.870kg.

Darren Williams of Yamba took advantage of a calm period over the weekend and managed to reach the north-east corner where he scored a snapper of 3.650kg.

There have also been reports of dolphin fish appearing around the Fish Attracting Device (FAD) off Angourie, but the fish were not feeding well.

However, Eli Erwin from Wollongong scored a cobia of 28.000kg off Minnie, the largest pelagic weighed in this year.

In the estuary, bream are still around in most areas from the entrance to well above Grafton.

Greg Dickinson of Yamba had a good outing on Lake Wooloweyah and returned with several fish around the 460g mark.

Keirra Caola of Grafton tried the pontoon near Ferry Park at Maclean, a quiet sheltered spot, for a bream of 730g, but was just pipped by Ace Bernard of Yamba who fished at the Oyster Channel bridge for a fish of 789g.

Best whiting weighed in was the 482g catch by K Payne of South Grafton who scored in Romiaka Channel. But there have also been reports of trawled whiting, normally taken in large numbers offshore by trawlers, appearing in the lower reaches of the Clarence, especially in the deep water around Moriaty's Wall.

This area, too, has attracted some attention from anglers, with Max Bell of Yamba surprised to see a small school of yellowtail kingfish, not normally seen in the estuary, but chasing bait (possibly the small whiting) in the vicinity of the T-Piece.

Some years ago, while visiting the Marine Rescue tower at Iluka, I spotted kingfish slashing into schools of baitfish immediately under the lighthouse - quite a thrilling sight to see how they handled the swell and the proximity to the rock wall.

Big flathead are still being taken in the lower reaches of the river, although the biggest weighed in was the 2.890kg catch by Noel Johnson of Gulmarrad who fished above Maclean. The top reaches of Oyster Channel is also fishing well.

Blackfish are proving hard to find, with no reports of any concentration. There have been a few taken off the rocks at Woody, while Romiaka and Oyster Channel bridges are worth a try.

The only one weighed in this week was the 1.090kg catch by John Phillips of Yamba who fished the T-Piece.

School jewfish are scattered throughout the lower reaches, with the odd fish being landed near the rocks at Rocky Mouth and near the Harwood Bridge.

Biggest weighed in was taken by Bob Gutteridge of Browns Rocks who scored one of 2.790kg close to the caravan park.

And with the warmer weather on us, bass are still biting well, with fish being taken from Grafton bridge upstream.

Biggest weighed in this week, however, was taken in Sportsmans Creek at Lawrence - a catch of 1.430kg taken by Mat Dwyer, a Lawrence local.


HAVE you landed a great catch? Be sure to check in to one of our weigh-in stations listed on the right.

Each of our weekly winners can pick up a certificate from The Daily Examiner office at 55 Fitzroy St, Grafton.

Every fish weighed in goes into the draw for the annual prize of $500 worth of Daiwa tackle at Big River Bait and Tackle, Maclean, and the monthly prize of a $25 open order at Marina Boat and Tackle, Yamba.

A photo of your catch might also appear on these pages if you send it via email to

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