All around Yamba lay beaches and rivers that showcase its formidable and rich fishing industry. In fact, Yamba is considered a coastal fishing gem!
Aside from the climate that makes the place suitable for fishing, Yamba’s wide range of opportunities for rock, beach, and estuary fishing are almost unmatched.
Here’s your Yamba fishing guide – the types of fish that Yamba is most noted for, local bait and fishing spots from experts and locals where you’ll hook up big next time you’re in town.
Table of Contents
Yamba Fish Species
A common fish in the Clarence River, flathead can be caught from the shore or boat quite easily with a bit of preparation.
Flathead are an ambush predator and can be found from the sea to the river’s stone walls. You can usually catch flatties from early morning until just after sunrise on a good tide.
It’s also advisable to find a spot where there is little light, as this is where the fish stay. Sunny spots along the river will cause bait fish and flathead to swim back to more protected areas. It’s best to fish along Clarence River in the summer.
Prepare your rig with long shank hooks. The bait should be able to swim naturally if it’s live. Many locals swear by using a much heavier lead line or trace to prevent breaks from their sharp front teeth and horizontal head movement which can easily cut your line.
Jew are another popular fish which also swims along the mouth of Clarence River.
School Jewfish come often from the Middle Wall, particularly at high tide. If you sit somewhere near the sandy flats, or fish off the rocks, you might just come across a Jewfish. They’re often found at Iluka Beach and Main Beach, but there are also schools of them in estuaries throughout Yamba.
Jewfish love herring, so this is a great bait to bring during your Yamba fishing spree. Larger Jewfish are most active at dawn and dusk, so you’ll want to be prepared early or settle in for a night.
However, big Jew are tricky to catch. Some locals get them at night when the tides push them towards the river. Other spots you can catch Jew are around wrecks, offshore reefs, surf beaches, and deep holes in the river.
Once you’ve settled on an area, prepare a second bait just in case the tide slows down. Most Jewfish come out during high tide when there are also Mullet and bait fish around.
In case you are fishing near a rock wall, don’t cast your line too far as big Jewfish will likely be swimming below you in the deeper channel. In lieu of Mullet, you could have Mackerel, chopped Tailor, or Squid as bait.
In May, you’ll see Rock Blackfish clustering around the rock walls at the entrance of the Clarence River. During winter season they stay in this area too.
This means they are not hard to find; in fact you’ll see them in the Clarence, Red Rock, Sandon, and Wooli areas at almost any time of the year.
In Yamba the T-Piece is a well known and popular Rock Blackfish spot – a short section of rock which runs perpendicular to the rock wall between Turner’s and Whiting beach.
To catch them, use a black or green weed suspended under a float. You’ll see these black weeds in inland lakes and creeks.
Some locals use “black magic” – a special type of weed that grows in sugar cane canals, to lure Rock Blackfish.
Bream are frequently caught at Yamba, especially during high tide.
It’s best to fish for them in July, as travelling schools of Bream swim from the sea wall to the rocky portions of rivers.
Towards the end of July, Bream anglers head further north. Most of these fish weigh up to 0.6kg.
If you’re in Yamba in September make sure to check out the Tim the Bream Fishing Classic which runs annually.
Bream frequent around pylons such as jetty’s and bridges. Prawns, yabby baits, and small lures work best when catching these fish and they’re great fun for the kids.
Snapper are a popular offshore fish for Yamba fishermen and can be commonly hooked with a local charter.
They are quite challenging to catch because they will fight and break your line easily. The best time of day to target snapper is first and last light give or take a few hours. A full moon is also a good period for targeting Snapper
Head to the Clarence Valley and you’ll see Snapper weighing up to 6kg. Even in shallow water it’s possible to catch a 10kg Snapper as long as you know how to effectively use your bait and line.
First, place a small sliding sinker and tie it to a short-shank hook. The hook must be kept in the centre of the lure. Once hooked the Snapper might try to drag it to the bottom and if they’re relatively big and heavy you might be surprised at the sudden pull.
Tailor are a type of predatory fish found in bays, rivers, and surf beaches, where clean and deep water runs.
They can get quite aggressive and a little tricky to catch because Tailor will play with your hook. Pilchards are a common and proven bait, which Tailor are known to attack.
To attract Tailor, spread out a good amount of burley. Keep the Tailor interested in your bait by gradually adding burley to keep them busy while you fish.
At any rate, just be patient and keep attracting the Tailor with your preferred bait until the fish go quiet.
This type of fish can be challenging as they are elusive. It’s best to seek a gnarly looking spot so you can entice the Mangrove Jack to come out and attack your bait. Mangrove Jacks are usually found in estuaries.
For starters, it’s important that lures are snugly attached to your hook. Most Mangrove Jacks are seen in exposed roots on a bank or logs in the river. If you see trees on an eroded bank, and a tree is partially submerged in the water, you might just be fortunate enough to find Jack hiding in the shadows.
Groper live in rocky areas of New South Wales coastlines. They are also found in southern Western Australia.
Blue Gropers are quite aggressive, so you must invest in high quality fishing tackle. It’s best to catch Blue Gropers at low tide, when you can also catch crabs as bait. Position yourself at the edge of rocks and cast around 10 metres of line.
Aside from crabs, urchins make for a good bait for Blue Gropers. Wait for your bait to sink to the bottom; the Groper’s hard bite on the lure won’t go unnoticed. Hold on to your rod as the Groper might also try pull strongly. The struggle may take a minute or two. If you’re lucky, you will be able to pull the fish up successfully.
Give the fish red crab, octopus, abalone, cunjevoi, sea urchins, or cuttlefish for bait. Because Blue Gropers can be quite aggressive when snapping at the bait, don’t hold back when your rod loads up and you feel the heavy struggle underwater.
You’ll find Sand Whiting, as the name suggests, in sandy areas like sand bars and shallow shore banks in areas of estuaries, coastal beaches and bays. They usually swim in waters up to 6 metres deep.
If you’re fishing on the river go to sand flats during high tide. On the other hand, there’s also a lot of sand whiting in holes and shallow gutters, divots, and washy sandbars on beaches.
To attract Sand Whiting, use live or fresh bait and don’t immediately pull the line when you feel the fish biting the lure. Use a slow retrieve with the tide, varying the action and pausing every now and then. Slowly lift the Whiting – and be sure to not jerk it sharply upwards as their soft lips can easily break.
Use a lightweight rod and reel, preferably a 1000 to 2500 sized reel and a 7-foot graphite spin rod. If you’re fishing on the beach, use a 6000 sized reel and a 10-foot rod. Attach a 4 to 8 shank hook and a size 2 ball sinker.
Meanwhile, the best baits for Sand Whiting are small poppers, nippers, yabbies, beach worms, blood worms, and pippies. Artificial flies and jigs are common lures too.
Simultaneously, lure Sand Whiting with crabs, small fish, clams, and shrimps. Squid can also work well. Be sure to cast your rods and put your baits in various spots, targeting channels inshore.
Best Yamba Fishing Bait
You’ve mostly read about the various types of lures that you can use for your ideal fish. Below is a list of baits you can utilize, along with instructions on how to use them and storage.
One of the most popular type of bait are prawns, which can easily float off downstream if they are not properly attached to your hook.
Thread the prawn’s tail to the hook’s end first, so it won’t be swept by the current. Make sure that the shank hook is covered, too.
This will hide the hook from the fish. Believe it or not, the fish will know that it’s bait if it sees the glint of the hook.
Yamba’s prawns are world famous for eating, but they’re just as good for bait. You can get local Yamba prawns all year round just check your nearest tackle shop or visit the Yamba Fishing Co-Op.
Bream, Sand Whiting, Flathead, and Jewfish like nippers, especially live ones. However, you need to get a fishing license if you planning on using saltwater nippers as bait.
Likewise, the legal limit for nippers is only a hundred. However, collecting nippers is an excellent activity for any family – and even the kids!
First, you have to invest in a quality bait pump. Once you have this ready, go to areas where nippers frequent: inter-tidal zones, sandbanks, and muddy areas.
When the sand has been washed off, put the nippers in a pail of salt water. This will keep them alive. Change the water regularly if you don’t have a bait aerator.
To use the nippers as bait, attach them to the hook through the back of their tail. This will allow the nipper to move naturally (and attract the fish).
Beach worms are found along most of Yamba’s sandy beaches. They come in two types: green heads and pink heads. The latter are skinny and long, while the former are thick and shorter.
Be careful in handling pink heads so you don’t snap them off. Grab their heads with one hand and gently grip the worm’s body. Don’t force the worm to come out of the sand.
To catch them properly, you will need a stocking, plastic worming pliers and pilchards. Throw 6 to 8 pilchards into the stocking or sock and run it along the sand as the waves run out.
Once you see the worm’s head, bring the pilchards and stocking close to it. Grab the worm first before using the pliers to dig it out. If the worm is a little bigger than usual, dig with your free hand until you have enough room to hold its body. Pull it slowly as too much upward pressure could kill the worm. Place the worm in a clean bucket.
Preparing the worms to use as bait is simple.
Find a spot on the beach with fluffy sand and put some in some newspaper or a bucket, placing the worms in the sand you’ve dug out. This will keep their slime in tack and help you handle them easily as you put them on the hook. Keep the worms in a cool, shaded place. An alternative is to put an ice bottle next to the worms to keep them alive and fresh before you head out to fish.
Worms freeze well and are less likely to break down like prawns or nippers do once they’re thawed out.
Mullet are a seasonal sight in estuaries. During hot summer days, brackish water comes alive with swimming Mullet. In the process, other kinds of fish also go to these places to feed.
You can get Mullet bait from your local bait and tackle store.
You can find various types of squid in stores throughout Yamba. Squid have distinct heads with 8 short arms and two long tentacles. Its body is long and tapered. Most bait squid are around 12cm long, but some species can can grow up to 45 feet. You don’t really need big squid as they can be difficult to attach to hooks. At the most, you’ll have to cut them into small pieces.
There’s a bit of confusion, however, as to the types of squid used by fishermen and fishing enthusiasts. There’s the clean squid, which is any squid prepared to be eaten. You’ll see them in both supermarkets and fish markets. It’s called “clean” because they are washed immediately upon being caught at sea. But even though this squid is prepared for human consumption, it can still be used as bait.
There are also dirty squid. This squid isn’t cleaned or processed the way a clean squid is. Anglers prefer using dirty squid as bait because its scent actually attracts fish.
Small sections can lure smaller fish or even be used to tip off worm baits. Larger sections can be used to attract Flathead, Sand Whiting, Dogfish, Mulloway, Snapper, and Bass.
To present the squid as bait, use squid of about 8 to 12cm. Next slice them into strips. The strips can be threaded into the hook – just make sure you are attaching a firmer and thicker part of the squid so it doesn’t get swept away by the current. You could also create a cocktail bait by using the squid to tip off other baits (nippers, worms). If you prefer a whole squid however, pierce the hook into the squid several times and simply feed it up the line.
Yamba Beach Fishing Spots
There are several beautiful beach fishing spots in Yamba that you can visit during any time of year.
1. Whiting Beach
Whiting Beach is a still water beach situated along Yamba Break Wall and the Clarence River. Easily accessible with gentle waves, Whiting Beach is considered the most sheltered beach in Yamba, NSW. It’s an ideal beach to fish and runs right up to the rock wall for a great mix of beach and rock fishing for a range of local species.
2. Turners Beach
Turner’s Beach on the other hand is quite busy during the summer and you may need to get out early to get a spot. It’s located between the Yamba lighthouse and the south break wall, which makes it a fantastic spot for rock fishing from both the north and south end, or beach fishing along some of the channels running along the rocks.
3. Main Beach
Another holiday favourite is Main Beach, which also happens to be the most popular beach in Yamba. A sheltered beach like Whiting Beach, Main Beach can be accessed by the elderly and reaches its peak in September. Children will also love fishing for crabs and small fish. There’s a rock shelf to the southern end and cliffs to the north with various holes and channels during different tides.
4. Convent Beach
Meanwhile, Yamba fishing is also possible at Convent Beach. It’s a quiet spot situated between Lovers Point and Main Beach. Named after a convent that used to overlook the beach. Convent is a quieter beach for swimming and surfing so is usually frequented by fishermen along the beach and also out along the Lover’s Point headland.
5. Pippi Beach
Now don’t be surprised to hear locals say “Pippies” when they refer to Pippi Beach a pristine and sandy beach that stretches along Yamba. It’s a family-friendly location with lots of picnic benches and cottages. There are many beach gutters that run along the length of this big beach and a rocky headland to the northern end.
6. Green Point & Spooky Beach
South of Pippi are Green Point and Spooky Beach which is just off Angourie Road. Aside from whale spotting, Green Point is a perfect and idyllic place to dip in the shallow reefs and catch various types of fish.
Yamba River Fishing Spots
One of the most well known Yamba fishing locations is on and along the mighty Clarence River – home to Blackfish, Jew, Flathead, Groper, Snapper and much more.
Being one of the largest mainland rivers in Australia, tourists not only love a good fish but can also enjoy boating and kayaking.
If you’re in a boat or kayak, there are also hundreds of secret local spots in and around the many island creeks that feed into the Clarence River. You’ll find a lot of Mulloway, Flathead, and Bream during high tide.
We have boat and kayak hire ready for you to explore if you stay with us at the Blue Dolphin Holiday Resort.
1. Oyster Channel
You’ll see Oyster Channel as you drive into Yamba coming over the small causeway and bridge just before town. Fishing is very popular and very successful all along Oyster Channel for a range of species off the bridge, riverbank, rocks and from the boat or kayak. In the shallower parts of Oyster Channel you’ll find Whiting, Flathead, Bream and live bait including nippers and mullet.
2. Romiaka Channel
Romiaka is a smaller channel just north of Oyster Channel between Palmers Island and Yamba. Very similar fishing in the quieter waters here, but there are also some deeper channels around Romiaka Bridge to try your luck. Romiaka is the ideal kayak fishing spot if you’re keen to explore and squeeze up into the narrow mangroves and channels for something special.
3. Yamba Marina (Gantry Wall)
Yamba Marina is popular during quieter times with a fantastic back access road and high banks to fish from into the open river rather than into the Marina itself. Non locals will need to be respectful of the boats and private jetties along here, but there’s plenty of room and time to try your luck off the main road.
Being a rocky area out there you can expect to find Blackfish, Bream, Trevally, and some big Mangrove Jacks.
4. Lake Wooleweyah
If you’ve got time to get away from the common spots, Lake Wooleweyah is ideal for Whiting, Bream and Flathead from the banks or the boat. Located between Yamba and Angourie, there are several quiet lakeside positions easily accessible from the main street, but a boat or kayak launched from Yamba is the best way to explore the lake.
5. Oyster Channel Jetty
Oyster Channel has a boat ramp and jetty located along Witonga Drive, Yamba located straight across from Thorny Island. Rocky banks line either side of the jetty and drop down into the channel making this a great spot for most types of fishing.
6. Blue Dolphin Jetty
If you’re staying with us, you don’t even need to leave! Walk out to the back of the resort along the river and fish straight off the jetty or launch your kayak. Great for Bream, Whiting and the occasional Flathead. There is a deeper channel in front of our jetty as it is also the entrance into the Yamba Marina.
7. Yamba Co-Op Jetty
Just down the road from the Blue Dolphin Holiday Resort, the Yamba Fishermen’s Co-Op is a great place for lunch and also to throw your line in off the jetty. As with the Blue Dolphin, this spot throws into the channel leading into the Yamba Marina.
8. Palmers Island Wall
Palmers Island is the large river island you’ll drive across on your way into Yamba, and you can get out to the rocky banks of the Clarence River by making your way to Gillies Lane. There’s also a good number of average-sized Bream and Flathead to be caught here.
9. Middle Wall
Middle Wall is located in the middle of the Clarence River between Iluka and Yamba. It is only reachable by boat or kayak, but is a long stone wall starting from Freeburn Island and running towards the mouth of the river and ending in front of Whiting Beach.
It is a very popular river fishing location in Yamba and you’ll get Bream, Flathead, Blackfish, Whiting on the nearby flats and plenty more.
This is a year-round spot and is one of the closest anchor spots near the mouth of the Clarence River.
10. Harwood Island Jetty
On the north-western side of the Harwood Bridge there is a new pontoon and jetty in front of Harwood Hotel (another fantastic lunch spot).
Locals enjoy fishing out from the pontoon, jetty and banks for a range of fish and if you walk up the road and throw in under the Harwood Bridge there are some deep pockets around the pylons for something bigger. It’s common to catch Flathead, Bream, Jew, Luderick and Whiting along here.
11. Palmers Channel
This is another fishing spot reachable only on the water by boat or kayak. This small channel is popular for flathead and runs into the Clarence River across from the Harwood Slipway and just downriver from the Harwood Bridge and Sugar Mill.
Pick your tides well, the protection of close banks either side can help in choppy conditions where other spots are too rough.
Yamba Rock Fishing Spots
This is one of the most productive shore-based fishing options and the quality of fish from Yamba rock fishing can be worth the effort.
Rock fishing has the added bonus of the greatest view in the world, and our sunrises and sunsets are world class in the Clarence Valley.
It does not matter what time of year you go, rock fishing is good all year round.
1. Palmers Island
As mentioned in the previous section, located along Gillies Lane is a stretch of rocky river bank with easy access and great fishing.
2. Browns Rocks
Head here if you’re after big bream. However, you might find this Yamba fishing spot crowded, given that it’s a usual spot for fishing competitions like the Australian Bream Tour. You can run up in a boat from Palmers Island, Yamba or Iluka – or you may want to drive around through Woombah towards Browns Rocks Caravan Park.
3. Lover’s Point
A rocky headland between two popular fishing beaches, Lover’s Point (or Yamba Point) is accessible from north and south although big swell or high tides can make it difficult to get over the rocks on the southern end.
Popular rock fishing out on the point will be good for Bream, Tailor, Jew, Groper and Blackfish in season and it’s a great all-year fishing spot.
This spot does have many shallow and snaggy areas and can get very with waves breaking over the lower rocks. Make sure you bring extra tackle because you will lose some.
4. Oyster Channel
Under the Oyster Channel Bridge on your way into Yamba is another great rock fishing spot. The pylons and rocky banks are a great feeding grounding for small bait fish.
Common fish in this spot includes Bream, Flathead, occasionally you’ll find a nice Mangrove Jack and even Whiting come in from the nearby flats on the right tide.
5. Angourie Point
This headland at Angourie is a popular surf break but also features some fantastic rock fishing for Bream, Tailor, Jew, and Groper.
Only accessible by foot, you’ll need to park at the Angourie lookout and walk down along the beach and around the headland to find your spot looking north or south.
6. Turners Wall
Turners Wall runs 1km into the ocean at the Clarence River’s entrance. This is probably the best fishing spot in all of Yamba and produces the widest variety of fish species as you have access to both the river and the ocean.
Tailor, Bream, Whiting, Jewfish, Flathead, Tuna and Snapper are all common along here. Very large Jew are regular catches for locals who know their stuff. Another fantastic rock fishing spot all year round for a wide range of fish.
The T-Piece is a small outcrop of rocks jutting out from the breakwall on Yamba’s side of the river entrance. Access is difficult here as you need to climb down onto the outcrop and do some rock hopping to get to the water.
This is another all-year spot which locals love. You’ll often find good Bream, Blackfish, Flathead and large Jew in here with the right tide.
Yamba Fishing Charters
There are great fish outside Yamba on the open water with many local reefs, islands and deep holes to fish from with a local charter.
And the good news? You don’t need a fishing license because you’re covered under theirs!
Reel Time Fishing Charters
Reel Time Charters has been running out of the port of Yamba/Iluka NSW since 2008 and limit the seats to 10 per boat as to give you as much fishing room as possible.
Reel Time fishing trips go a bit longer – 8hrs from 6am to 2pm. They also include lunch, snacks, water/soft drink, BYO is always welcome and of course a great day fishing!
Contact Reel Time Charters
Yamba Fishing and Charters
Yamba Fishing and Charters run regular fishing and sightseeing trips from Yamba and Iluka. Glynn your skipper, offers experience and local knowledge of the best spots to ensure you get a quality catch.
Enjoy your day out on the water confidently with Yamba Fishing and Charters in a 3100 Noosacat powered by 2 x 250hp Yamaha motors.
Contact Yamba Fishing & Charters
Before you head out here are some helpful research and fishing tools to help you hook up big on your next visit to Yamba.
Bait & Tackle Shops
Blue Dolphin Store
21-35 Yamba Road, Yamba
Call 66 462 416
Yamba Bait & Tackle
Cnr of Wooli and Yamba Streets, Yamba
Call 66 461 514
Yamba Tides Chart
Check the Yamba tides here
Yamba Boat Ramps
Fishing Holiday in Yamba
So you’re keen for a fish, huh?!
Well get your family booked in for a dream holiday with us at the Blue Dolphin Holiday Resort where the kids have HEAPS of activities to keep them happy. Mum and Dad can relax in the pool bar, snooker hall or forget about dinner with our on-site restaurant.
And then you can go fishing!
Put your boat in at the boat ramp 1 minute away, launch your kayak from our place and fish off the jetty. Then you can head out to all the other awesome fishing spots in Yamba when you’re done.
Throw Out A Line!
There is no mistaking that Yamba is an ideal holiday and weekend destination for both beginning and amateur anglers.
Yamba has an endless number of fishing spots and plenty of opportunities to catch that dream fish during your next stay.
Start plotting out your calendars and planning your very own Yamba trip, and don’t forget to share our fishing guide with your mates!
Special thanks to Downrigger, Mick’s Gone Fishing and Get Fishing for their advice.
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