Evans River Fishing

Evans River is the home ground fishing place for Squidgie with an array of fish to target. Sounds like a place to put on the old bucket list! 

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Where I live and fish the river is a stones throw from my back door. I spend as much time on the river as possible so I can try and learn all its secrets such as where fish hang at any given time of the tide, be it day or night, what gets them biting, best baits, what lure works best for fish I am targeting. A lot of practice has gone into this and after many  years of fishing you know I’m still learning. Fish have a funny way of tossing a spanner into the works. Just when you think you have got it figured out bang most of the stuff you know goes out the door and that’s why it’s called fishing not catching.

The Evans River at Evans Head on the Northern Rivers is my favourite river. This is where I caught my biggest flathead (96cm), biggest bream (2.6kg), many blackfish well over 1kg, whiting around the 1kg mark and snapper out in the deep blue (9.99kg. The Evans River is a small river system compared to some. Fishing and crabbing is brilliant at times but like most it can have its bad days, but they are few and far between!

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The Evans River is best fished on bigger tides from 1.6 to 1.9m due to shallow sections in the river system. You need to leave the ramp midway through the run-up tide and work your way up the river checking out fishy spots. I tend to go all the way up and fish the deeper holes. This is where big flathead and estuary perch hang out. If there is a fallen tree or steep banks all the better. Target the tree first using a small soft plastic with a paddle tail or a mid-diving hard body lure. Atomic has some very good mid diving lures that will do the job. If any there are any EPs there you will soon find out! Make sure you cast in a few times as you need to get a reaction bite. Don’t give up after a couple of casts.

The same tree you find EPs you will find flathead but they will be on the bottom so I fish the up tide area casting back to the tree. Flathead will have their heads in the tide waiting on morsels to pass its ambush site. You need to pepper the whole tree casting as close as you dare. This might mean heaps of casts. I use a 1/8 jig head and a 70mm Squidgy Black and Gold Fish or a 100mm Bloodworm Squidgy Wriggler, but most plastics that have a paddle tail will do the job. Make sure you have at the least a 10lb fluro leader and a 4/8 lb rod will do the trick. This rod will also let you fish bream that are in most deep holes in the river.

On the way up river there are many whiting areas. The sand flats and yabby banks in the summer months hold whiting a plenty. You can just drift over sand banks using yabbies, beach worms or blood worms as bait. I personally fish top water lures like Megabass Dog XJnr, Megabass Baby Pop X and Lucky Craft Sammy’s. Bassday Sugapen lures, most poppers or walk the dog lures will work too. The lures need to be kept moving fast and if you see a whiting behind the lure don’t stop, keep working it. The moment you stop the whiting will shy away. These sand flats will also hold bream and flathead so if bait fishing, change your bait to white pillies or yabbies and use a bigger hook like a 1/0 or 2/0 long shank. Blades and Atomic Hardz are my go to blade for flathead or any 3” paddle tail plastic will do.

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The Evans River also has a few run off areas and small creeks where flathead will lay in wait on the run-out tide for prawns and small bait fish to flush out. In these areas I like to fish the mid run-out tide and use any plastic that imitates a prawn or small bait fish. I remember fishing one area many years ago on my first attempt at soft plastics. I had a Squidgy 70 Black and Gold fish on a 12gm Squidgy jig Terry Dumphy from Shimano gave .I caught many flathead that day and I even got the wife to come with me later in the day.  We fished a small creek that runs into the Evans River and I’m sure the flathead had never seen plastics before because we caught a fish a cast, not big fish  either. I also did not use braid back then just an old Daiwa rod and a Abu reel with 10lb line but I changed to braid not long after this.

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The Evans Head bridge is another great spot to fish. Bream, flathead, school jew and whiting all can be caught there. I find the run-up tide best and yabbies or white pillies best baits. I don’t use many plastics or hards there as bait is more productive, but if you fish areas around the bridge in your boat, plastics will shine. Casting a lure right up hard near pylons and slow roll back to the boat will entice the flathead and bream as they will be lying in wait for bait fish to swim near. You just have to remember that pylons mean marine growth! This brings in bait fish to feed and in turn bigger fish come to pray on bait fish, so any imitation lure will get you fish. Even a prawn or yabby cast right up onto the pylon should get you amongst fish.

Drifting downstream from the bridge is productive for flathead and casting near the walls and rocky banks should get you onto big bream. Some of these bream in the winter months are big blue nose bream and boy oh boy you will know if you get one of these brutes on. The fight will be brutal as they know every snag in river. You will lose a few but if you win the fight I guarantee your adrenalin will be pumping for ages. Fishing light is a must here otherwise you might not get a bite. I use 6lb early in the day then go lighter as day progresses. Use light jig heads around 1/16 oz or hidden weights or you could be game and use Cranka Crabs but be prepared to lose a few. If you are using bait yabbies or white bait are best and use a very light sinker, say a 000.  Up  the weights if the tide is running fast.

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Fishing the walls is without doubt my favourite spot for blackfishing (luderick).The minute I hear that a low is forming off the coast I head over to the headlands and gather my cabbage and ponytail weed (horsehair). There are many types of weed over at the headlands but the one  I use most the is horsehair. The South Wall is my area to fish and I have my own rock to which I fish. My old dog Whizz knew where I fished. He use to beat me there and just sit and wait till I arrived. Sadly Whizz is gone and every time I fish there I think of him. He was my mate and fished with me in my boat or on the bank, we were sort of joined at the hip.

Out in the deep blue at the moment spotted and barred mackerel are on our closer grounds and there are plenty of snapper, pearl perch, amberjacks, kingies and cobia. Summer brings the run on our wider grounds, which are sometimes impossible to fish, but when you are able to you can catch bar cod, blue eye and other very sort after fish.  You can hop on the web and search fishing marks off Evans Head and this will give you our best grounds to fish, not forgetting the Evans Head Classic that is held in the July school holidays. This is seven days of fishing and prises galore and is a fun way to fill in your holidays.

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Fishing…….. can’t think of anything better.


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