Coffs Harbour August 2010 - Mark Kallman

Weather

After enduring a really dismal summer season with inconsistant seas, big swell, poor viz and generally a lack lustre weather pattern, we have started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Conditions settled this month and we have been treated to mild conditions, cool water but not cold and good viz for winter. The floods last year succeeded in depositing a substantial amount of silt which led to poor viz on many occasions. The rough storms earlier succeeded in scouring this all away and you can see underwater again. The EAC has started pushing in some warm water which is quite early and there is a lot of bait about. All things being equal this next season promises to be really good.

Fish

Jewfish (kob) are thick and many good specimens are being landed around the headlands. The odd bluebar parrotfish and mangrove jack is also being taken. Yellowtail are always about and when the sea is cooler, their flesh does not seem to go soft. On the deeper pinnacles, Samsonfish are starting to appear and they are always good. When you think about Samsonfish picture a sangora on steroids with a bad attitude! The other noteworthy species around now is the pearl perch. This is primarily a deepwater fish but for some reason occur in shallower and even shallow conditions off Coffs. They seem to be arriving in spots they have never been seen before. Snapper continue to tease and a few have been landed but they are few and far between. Not that there are few snapper because the line fishermen are getting heaps.

With the warm water pulses coming in the EAC, it will be a good idea to start looking at the deeper areas for the early season monster dolphinfish. Some big tuna and marlin may also be bumped in these deep water forrays.

The highlight of the winter now must be the huge number of crayfish. We have 3 main species and you are able to take 2 of each per day. The slippers are difficult to find as they like caves and we do not have a great deal of suitable habitat for them. The painted and coral crays do not taste as good as the greens but I never complain when I get crays. The greens have a minimum and maximum size limit and in some areas you struggle to find crays that are small enough to take. It is great to find nests of 10 or 20 crays and be able to select the right size. My hands are starting to look terrible with the scuff marks from prizing crays out of their watery holes