Sashimi plates up
  |  First Published: December 2010

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The sashimi fish – sorry, I mean the kingfish and other pelagics –are back on the bite.

To catch one of the tastiest fish in the ocean it helps to have the best bait on offer. Live or freshly caught squid is a prerequisite while great baitfish choices are live yellowtail, mullet or, if you can find them, slimy mackerel.

Deep-water headlands and rock ledges are abundant around the estuaries and ocean rocks.

In the northern part of Sydney Harbour around Middle Head and Dobroyd Head, kingies raid the local squid and baitfish populations so prevalent in these locations.

The rocks at the northern side of The Spit Bridge also fish well. Larger kings often frequent these areas and are more easily landed, thanks to the lack of moorings.

On the ocean rocks reliable areas typically include Bluefish Point, North and South Curl Curl, and ‘The Ovens’ at South Whale Headland.

Kings are caught with traditional methods but they are also often a by-catch when fishing the washes for trevally and snapper. Generally these kings are 65cm to 75cm – sensational sport on 5kg to 7kg tackle.

I expect big kings, fish over 1m, to show up very soon. A 15kg outfit will be adequate for the small to medium fish but I suggest a 24kg outfit for those merciless larger kings which will cane you if your gear is not up to scratch.

Hard leaders like Sufix and hard main lines like Tortue are absolute necessities.


Snapper from 500g to 1.5kg are available in the washes. Add kings, salmon, bonito, and bream and the odd jewie to equation for some really exiting fishing.

Places to try for a red include Bluefish Headland, Dee Why Headland, Bangalley Head and Barrenjoey Head.

Use light ball sinkers, 2/0 to 3/0 Mustad Baitholder 92247 or 9555b hooks and half pillies, peeled banana or endeavour prawns and squid strips. Combine bread and whatever you are using for bait in your berley and fish a wash with some depth.

Reddies will be available in numbers for the next few months so get out there after them; they are great sport especially when a 2kg to 3kg fish is on the cards.

All the spots mentioned also have produced groper and rock blackfish (black drummer).

The old notion that these fish are caught only when the water is cooler is simply not true. ‘Summer species fever’ sets in and so the groper and pigs are generally ignored, even though these permanent residents are there all year.

So during those quiet periods when the kings are not biting you can still be locked into arm stretching fish.


Jewie fishing off the beach is like a relationship: You must commit to it and take it seriously, otherwise things may not work out!

Choose the high tides around the new and full moon for better results. The highs between 8pm to 1am or, if you’re really dedicated, the 3am to 6am highs are the ones for me.

Two hours before the tide to at least one hour after is normally the peak time. Commit to a minimum of three nights within a moon phase for better results.

You may prosper on the first night, maybe you won’t, but if you put in the effort eventually you’ll slide a bronze slab up the sand.

Jewfish to 10kg are showing up. Generally 3kg to 6kg fish are caught in November with the larger fish moving in December.

Make a point of having at least a few spare rigs ready made on your rig spool so when the inevitable shark turns up, you’re not spending all your time tying rigs when you should have a bait in the water.

Purchase half a dozen or more two-hook snelled leaders or make up several yourself if you have the time.


December whiting are a real treat, offering quantity and quality for the angler who puts in the effort to obtain live bait. Savvy anglers are getting 10 to 15 fish although most whiting fishos are going away with at least a few along with some nice bream.

Big, hard-fighting tarwhine are part of the by-catch and a kilo fish will certainly rip 6lb line off your reel on the first run.

Best baits for all these are typically beach, tube or bloodworms, and pink nippers work great.

Those annoyingly small prawns often sold in 200g bags can be used for whiting with surprising results when live baits are not available from your favourite tackle shop or you are too busy to gather your own.

Another tactic growing in popularity is the use of the Berkley Gulp Sandworm.

Reliable beaches lately include Dee Why, Narrabeen mid to north, and Bungan.

For the bream, nippers and worms are great but so are mullet, half pillies, bonito and slimy mackerel strips.


Tony Davis from Matraville Bait and Tackle says there have been regular catches of two to three large bream, from 1.2kg to 1.4kg, which are obviously travelling fish. Tony says it is critical to have Botany Bay wrigglers.

The low light periods at crack of dawn or just on dark with a tide running towards the high are the go. The gutter near the Bondi Icebergs and Maroubra rocks on the Long Bay side are the spots to try.

There are some nice luderick to 34cm on the north-eastern face of North Bondi and at South Maroubra. They are taking cabbage weed and peeled prawns in a consistent bread berley trail.

During the rougher seas, pigs from 800g to 1.2kg are being caught at Maroubra’s Long Bay on peeled endeavour prawns

That amazing run of bonito continues from the rocks on both sides of the Harbour and kings are becoming more frequent. Both are being caught on weighted white/pink skirts and 20g F-18 hardbodies.

Spinning is a great way to improve that casting dexterity and accuracy, just get out there and take advantage of the run of surface action!


Whiting catches have averaged four to eight a session but should increase as the season hits its peak. The whiting have been feeding best during high tides coinciding with dawn and dusk, although you will catch a few even during the later tides so don’t be rigid about this.

Some stonker beach bream to near 1.5kg are marauding the beaches at Maroubra, Bronte and Little Bay; fish the gutters at night for best results.

They’re braining the salmon from 2kg to 3.5kg on surf poppers and pillies.

There is the odd school jewie to 4kg down towards Cronulla on whole beach worms and really fresh squid. Their numbers will increase this month.

All the species I have mentioned are hot targets this month but on those occasions when there is jack happening, try off the rocks for a groper or a pig or off the beach for a salmon. At least that way you’ll keep the boredom at bay!

• For rock and beach guided fishing or tuition, visit www.bellissimocharters.com, email me at --e-mail address hidden-- or call me on 0408 283 616.

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