We’re starting to see things happening now. Fishing off the beach becomes a pleasure because the evenings are now longer, courtesy of daylight saving, and a whole lot warmer.
On the dark of the moon this month, as we do every year, my wife and I will head down to Narrabeen or Dee Why lagoons in search of prawns. We always have a great time as we wade the shallow water, each armed with a net and me carrying the battery pack attached to a submersible light.
Sometimes it only takes an hour or so to net a kilo, other times its hard work to get a feed. The hardest part, after cooking them back home, is waiting for them to cool down before you get stuck in with crispy bread and a cool ale.
Prawns in the lakes are mostly a breed called greasybacks and are usually medium size. The bonus is they are full of flavour and are delicious. When the catch is bountiful, I will hoard some away as prime bait for the future.
Most anglers will have tried throwing plastic lures at fish. I am an addict and always walk out of a tackle shop with at least one packet of plastic fish look-alikes that I don’t really need.
Pittwater and the Hawkesbury are wonderful places to go hunting for species like bream because there is so much structure for fish to hang around. When you get a hit on plastic, you’ll be hooked and devote the rest of your life to chasing fish on these rubbery lures.
I just love using the spiderweb tackle and casting techniques needed to get tangled with fish like bream and flathead.
Phil Ingram, president of our local Anglers Action Group, has reported on a letter from DF Hocking, executive director fisheries, compliance and regional relations at the Department of Primary Industries.
The letter states: “NSW DPI uses data from reported catches of commercial fishers and surveys of recreational fishers during the assessment and review of the status of our fisheries resources. This data is more reliable than using catch percentage ratios.”
He then states the most recent catch estimates for mulloway, yellowfin bream and dusky flathead.
For mulloway, the recreational is 100 to 500 tonnes, while the commercial catch is 44 to 101 tonnes.
The recreational yellowfin bream catch is said to be between 820 tonnes and 1070 tonnes, while the commercial catch is 335 tonnes to 550 tonnes.
The dusky flathead recreational catch has been estimated between 570 tonnes and 830 tonnes, while commercial catch is between 116 tonnes and 241 tonnes.
So we catch nearly three times more than the pros? Who’s fooling whom?
Big seas, which we’ve had a fair dose of, have done little to help those who wanted to fish outside. One boat bashed out to East Reef recently for nannygai, trevally and a couple of small snapper. When the anchor pulled for the third time, they gave it away.
Windybanks Fishing Club members David Steel and Anthony Merlin hit Reggies Reef late one afternoon. The wind was still up and the swell was bumpy but Anthony managed a 1.7kg chinaman jacket plus a keeper sand flathead.
As I write, the water temperature is rising a degree or two and I’m sure this will kick off a patch of activity. Looking at the sea temperature charts, there’s a blob of warmish water not too far away. All it needs is favourable currents for it to migrate down our way.
It worried me when I passed Flat Rock at Curl Curl and saw a couple of blokes fishing off the rocks with the huge surf crashing about them. Watching them for over 20 minutes, they danced their way over the big stuff and I saw one wave that thundered in and knocked their kit bag off a low-lying rock.
Pittwater has been doing well with salmon domiciled on the western foreshores. Ben Travis tells me he saw a medium-sized kingfish being cleaned at the ramp as well as a couple of flathead. Watch out for these thugs as they start to come into Pittwater spoiling for a fight.
Up river, The Gut at Brooklyn has been delivering the goods after sunset.
Bream are taking pumped nippers and Hawkesbury prawns lightly fished close to the southern bank. Bream have also come from the cut leading to the marina. Cast in towards the leases with unweighted baits.
Before he started his new administrative job in surf lifesaving, Steve McInnes fished the Harbour for a few throw-back trevally and tailor. Steve noted the water temperature was only a very chilly 16°.
High water levels in Narrabeen Lagoon put the kibosh on decent catches but there was a report from Marcus Hoi, who scored three small flathead near the Sports Academy. Marcus is a Squidgy devotee and these fish fell to a Pumpkin Shad.
Monthly Tip: A sliding stopper is very useful when float fishing to adjust the height of the bait above the bottom. A length of wool knotted around the line makes an excellent float stopper and will not easily slip, keeping that exact depth when you find fish.Reads: 942