Like a cupped hand, South West Rocks catches the current and forms a natural magnet for a large assortment of fish.

Story & photos by Alistair McGlashan

Just near Smoky Cape, on the shores of Trial Bay, the small NSW town of South West Rocks (SWR) is renowned for being the gateway to some very rich fishing grounds. It is roughly 500 kilometres north of Sydney along the Pacific Highway, or 550km south of Brisbane along the same road.
The town’s location, at one of the more easterly points on the east coast, makes it jut out and, like a cupped hand, it catches the current and forces it to eddy right into the bay. Adding further to the area’s appeal is the mighty Macleay River, which flows right into the bay. Pouring an incredible volume of nutrient-rich water into the sea, the Macleay River collides with the blue current, forming both colour and temperature breaks just offshore. This creates a fertile environment whereby the area acts like a natural magnet drawing in all sorts of aquatic life, especially baitfish. When the baitfish stacks up, the predators appear in force. This potential line-up of predators is amazing, with black marlin, sailfish, mackerel, cobia, tuna, mahi mahi and plenty of sharks to keep people entertained. What makes this all the more impressive is that all this action occurs within a few kilometres of the shore.

This story excerpt is from Issue #46

Outback Magazine: April/May 2006