Bass and estuary perch spawning season kicks into gear

THE ANNUAL closed season for bass and estuary perch in all rivers starts on Sunday.

That means there is a zero bag limit on these species while they aggregate for spawning in the lower reaches of estuaries.

Heavy rain, runoff and flooding trigger migrations of the fish downstream to brackish water of around 20 to 35 parts per 1000 salinity and water temps of 15 to 20 degrees. The hen fish can carry 450,000 eggs per kilogram live weight that are spawned serially across several weeks or months around weed and sandbars.

At these times it's possible to catch many fish and many anglers suggest that this can traumatise hen fish, causing them to reabsorb their eggs.

However, catch-and-release fishing for bass and estuary perch is permitted in rivers during the closure. These fish must be returned to the water immediately with the least possible harm.

The zero bag limit does not apply to bass caught in freshwater dams or in watercourses upstream of these impoundments, because the fish do not breed in these areas.

So the bag limit of two still applies in Toonumbar and Clarrie Hall dams.

As the spawning season kicks into gear and the fish begin to gather downstream, you can be assured that Fisheries officers will patrol the areas to make sure anglers comply with the seasonal regulations.

Rumble success

THE INAUGURAL TT Lures Wilson River Rumble appears to have been a big success, attracting 32 boats carrying most of the top competition anglers in the land.

It was great to see locals held their own, with Ballina Marineland's Adrian Melchior bagging third place and local young gun Dylan Walsh besting all the non-boaters.

Many locals have spoken highly of the drive-through weigh-in and the carnival atmosphere at the Lismore HQ.

Now if it can be held in spring, when there's way less chance of being flooded out, it could well become a big thing.

Evans misses out

FISHERIES Minister Niall Blair made a big noise about promoting aerial shark patrols "from Tweed Heads to Eden" over school holidays and weekends for the next year.

Looks like Evans Head will miss out, though.

Given the number of shark alerts each week and the awful great white attack last winter, that seems a big mistake.

And the number of hooked fish being 'sharked' this year is even worse than last.

Over to you, Chris Gulaptis.

Active Trim

MERCURY Marine's new Active Trim system is a great leap forward powerboating.

We've all seen poorly trimmed boats, their bows pointed towards the sky or threatening to burrow into the next wave.

A poorly trimmed engine doesn't just use more fuel; it can be downright unsafe.

But it looks like Merc's taken the guesswork out of it for those who can't seem to feel when their hull and engine are working with each other, rather than fighting.

Active Trim's GPS-based control system takes into account boat speed and rpm when deciding on the ideal trim position.

It also is said to solve issues with the engine trimming up too early or too late while the boat is getting up on the plane.

Active Trim is compatible with any new Mercury outboard or MerCruiser engine with SmartCraft capability and the system can also be retrofitted to earlier models .

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