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Jewfish catch takes angler to top of the leaderboard

STRONG winds and big seas slowed up offshore fishing activity during the week, but had little effect on the quantity of fish in the estuary.

The cold westerly winds and the start of the official winter season saw mullet begin their spawning run.

It was a slow start, but there was a report of one hit of more than five tonnes taken just inside the entrance to the Clarence.

This has brought the dolphins and tuna inside the entrance and mullet had a hard time of it for a while

The change in weather has also got prawns making a late run for the sea, and this has also brought the big jewfish on the bite.

This week, another angler has gone to the top of the list with a jewfish of 29.800kg. Sealand Hulett of Yamba has weighed in several big ones during the past few weeks but this one was taken on a lure at Angourie.

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Sealand Hulett of Yamba has weighed in several big ones in the past few weeks, but this 29.8kg jewfish takes him to the top of the leaderboard in The Daily Examiner Biggest Fish of the Year Competition. Photo: The Bait Place Yamba

Woody Head has also been fishing well, with calmer westerly winds early in the day and smaller seas early.

Andrew Mayo of Iluka fished Woody with a lure and returned with a jewfish of 16.500kg.

But another regular angler from Iluka, who decided not to enter his catch, returned from Wood with a mixed bag of bream to one kilo, tailor, a sweetlip and another small snapper taken from the rocks.

And just to emphasise the need for rain to reduce the salt content of the river, Nick Gleeson of Junction Hill returned with a school jewfish of 3.680kg taken at Grafton.

Flathead are still around in good numbers, with Brandon Buckley of Maclean scoring one of 6.000kg from the Middle Wall

David Abrahams of Grafton landed one of 1.690kg at Swan Creek

Ken Wood of Yamba was another who tried the Middle Wall for a flathead of 1.800kg, while Ethan Foster of Yamba scored one of 1.420kg in Oyster Channel.

Big bream were on the bite around the headlands, but the best weighed in was the 968g catch by Shane Seles of Yamba who fished near the Middle Wall.

And a few big whiting can still be found around the sandflats.

Peter Niland of Grafton scored one of 638g in the Wooli River, which takes his catch to the top of the list for this species.

For those who are planning a trip to sea during the next few days, the westerlies have slowed the reef fish close in by stirring up the bottom, but out wide there are good snapper and teraglin.

South off Wooli, there are still a few surface fish , but they are expected to move when the colder current moves in.

But in the meantime, there are still plenty of reef fish available.

And Browns Rocks is as ever worth a mention

Plenty of bream on the bite, but mostly under the kilo size, but lots of blue swimmer crabs and quite a few muddies as well.