RUG UP: It will be cold on the water for Northern Rivers fishermen this weekend.
RUG UP: It will be cold on the water for Northern Rivers fishermen this weekend.

Darkening moon will see bream pre-spawn activity

HOLD on to your hat and keep the raincoat handy, we're in for another brisk southerly.

There's also a rising swell for exposed rocks and river bars this weekend, but the upside is that the estuary fishing been rewarding enough to make a river outing worthwhile.

Neap tides around Thursday night's last-quarter moon mean very little difference between high and low, especially during the daylight tides.

Around 60cm variation means gentle tidal flow and not enough run to stir up bottom or shore sediment.

Reduced tidal flow won't do the crabbers any favours but, with the moon darkening over the next week, we'll see increased bream pre-spawn activity.

Already there have been some silver, sea-run "snowy" bream showing up along the beaches and around the headlands.

New moon "darks" in May and June are peak periods of bream spawning activity around local river mouths.

Rising swells could break up baitfish schools along the beaches but there should still be concentrations in the sheltered zones behind the headlands and breakwalls, with bait also entering the estuaries.

Bream, tailor and school mulloway won't be far behind.

Any migrating luderick will also seek the shelter of the estuary in these conditions.

At first they won't stray far from the ocean, grazing on the sea lettuce ("cabbage") growing on the breakwall boulders, but many will head farther into the rivers and eventually dine on filamentous algae.


Silence is golden

FOR about 15 minutes on Wednesday afternoon, I couldn't hear a thing.

A handful of boats had just headed back to the ramp past my tinny and I then seemed to be the last one drifting on the river, its surface glassing off as the wind faded away.

Every so often I'd hook a bream big enough to take a few centimetres of line and the reel's drag seemed particularly loud. When a half-metre GT smashed the soft plastic and tore off, the spool's buzz ripped the air.

It was then that I realised there was no other noise. No traffic. No aircraft. No rumble of surf on the distant beach. Not a leaf stirred, nor a bird, from the bankside forest.

There are anglers who say, "It doesn't matter about the fish, it's just being out there."

Stuff that. I'm there for the hits, the hookups, the bent rods and squealing drags.

But when that golden silence was finally broken by the air hushing through the wings of sea eagle swooping low overhead, a sea mullet squirming in its talons, well, a hot lure session turned out to be a pretty tame reason for being out there.


Vics wet a line

VICTORIA'S ban on fishing has been lifted, after more than six weeks of COVID-19 restrictions.

The Vics were the only state to slap a complete ban on fishing during the height of the pandemic and apart from the handful of predictable nutters braying about their "rights" and "freedom", they seemed to handle it good-naturedly.

In a normal May, few people south of the Murray would have time to give a rat's about fishing because of the AFL but you can bet the fish will cop a hiding now.

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