by Dayne Taylor •
If you like a peaceful peddle or paddle around a quiet estuary, look no further than Stuarts Point on the Mid North Coast for exactly that.
Stuarts Point is situated on the Clybucca Creek arm of the Macleay River, an easy 30-minute drive from Nambucca to the north, and also the same distance to Kempsey in the south. A call to the Stuarts Point Holiday Park to book your site, bungalow, or cabin will have you locked in and ready to relax. The park has riverside frontage and access, with all the necessary features and creature comforts for you to enjoy your stay. It is also located right in the centre of town. Just a short walk across the road is the general store, the takeaway shop, and the bowling club and pub.
The closest fishing tackle shops are the Boat Shed at Nambucca and Compleat Angler in Kempsey. Both stores have great selections of lures, bait and tackle to suit all the species and fishing scenarios you will encounter on your expeditions.
The estuary really has a lot of fishing options to offer kayak fishos. Shallow sand and weed flats holding bream, whiting and some monster flathead would definitely be the most obvious. However, a paddle upriver and you could spend literally days exploring the mangrove-lined creeks. These creeks have a mix of patchy weed banks, floating and fixed oyster leases and natural fallen timber – all great fish-holding structures.
Lures like 3” paddle-tail and grub style soft plastics are good here because they imitate small poddy mullet, and are ideal to tempt the population of flathead in these areas. I have had good results on the Berkley Gulp Nemesis and the Powerbait Ripple Shad.
When it comes to bream and whiting, topwater lures are a great option. A Bassday Sugapen or OSP Bent Minnow cast across the sand and weed flats will be the undoing of any fish that looks up.
Alternatively, you can use a lightly weighted creature bait such as a Cranka Crab, or even a crustacean pattern like the Berkley Gulp Shrimp/Craw or an EcogearAqua Bream Prawn. Cast your creature bait around any of the structure, and you can hook up to some quality bream.
For all the bait fishos, these same locations will produce for you as well. The exposed sand flats on low tide will produce plenty of pink nippers which make ideal baits for bream, whiting and flathead. Alternatively you can use a poddy mullet trap filled with bread, and it will take no time at all to collect a few tasty live baits to tempt some monster lizards on the flats.
Dale Johnson from Freshest Fishing Tours also offers guided fishing adventures in the area. If you want to fast track your knowledge and make the most of your time, I recommend getting in contact with him. He can organise to meet up with you and spend the day showing you around and putting you onto some fish.
Early March is usually the peak time for offshore pelagic species such as mackerel, tuna and cobia on the NSW Mid North Coast, and all of these species can be caught from a kayak here. A quick search for ‘fishing Grassy Head’ will show you plenty of info for the area, including GPS marks and bait grounds, all within yakking reach from the shore.
When it comes to tackle, 15kg overhead or spin gear is all you need to land a great catch of a Spanish or spotted mackerel. Plenty of line will be required, and remember to have the wire trace on hand for those toothy speedsters. A live bait such as slimy mackerel or yakka, slow trolled or floated behind the kayak, will produce the best results.
As for lure choices, you can’t go past a Halco Laser Pro or a Samaki Pacemaker to troll around. And of course, you should always carry a selection of stickbaits and metal spinners to cast into schools once you find a few.
If you plan on heading offshore, remember to take all the necessary safety equipment and let the local marine rescue at Trial Bay know of your destination and your expected time of returning. Another great safety tip is to try to always go out in a group in case something goes pear-shaped. No fish is worth putting your safety at jeopardy.
I sure hope you enjoy your time at Stuarts Point like we did. There is something extremely relaxing about this small coastal town. It feels like you are a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.