There have been stacks of plate-size snapper, from just over the legal 30cm to about 38cm, from many of the rock platforms along the Northern Beaches.
Of course, when the occasional 2kg fish is hooked it’s a real treat on a 5kg to 6kg outfit.
Long-distance casting is required to get to the best of the fish in many places, with some areas requiring a cast of 90m to 125m. North Curl Curl is one of those spots, but generally in most locations a cast of 60m to 90m range is far enough.
Anderson’s salted striped tuna has produced the best results. Cut the fillet into aerodynamic strips 7cm to 10cm long by 2cm wide for best results.
Spots which are producing these tasty ‘platies’ include the eastern front of Bluefish Point casting out wide and in close, North Curl Curl out really wide and Turimetta Head casting to the south out wide.
The larger snapper are often caught while wash fishing. Mixed in with them are bream, salmon, small to medium kings (if you can land them) and some late season silver trevally.
Fishing in and around the washes for a snapper is a mighty fine way to spend a few hours.
Places to try include Bluefish, Dee Why, and Barrenjoey headlands. Best baits are Anderson’s eastern pilchards, striped tuna fillets and banana or endeavour prawns.
Remember to lay out a consistent berley trail and don’t forget to use light sinkers. Difficult as it may be to fish light, keep practising – it’s definitely worth the results.
And a client recently told me that while winding in a reddie of about 35cm, a whopper king of 20kg-plus scoffed it only metres from the rock edge!
Another target species that’s producing plenty of interesting by-catch is the bream. Kings are the ultimate for me but bream are such fiddly fish that always keep me amused.
The amount of by-catch while breaming is very extensive: Pigs, trevally, leatherjackets and snapper are just some of the species we have been caught while fishing for bream lately.
Catches of six to 20 bream from 27cm to 38cm will be the norm for the next few months.
One of the best spots is at Long Reef over the shallows, while another reliable and safe location well worth a fish are the shallows at Mona Vale.
The more exposed areas that are producing include North Head (only recommended for the experienced rock climber/angler), ‘Little Bluey’ between Shelly and Bluefish headlands, and Barrenjoey Head.
Baits to use are cut crabs, (remember they are to be gathered only from legal areas) half-pillies, mullet, tuna fillets, peeled prawns, pink nippers and white bread.
For berley use bread and whatever you are using for bait.
Luderick are also around in reasonable numbers. Virtually all outings are producing more than half a dozen fish from 500g to 1.2kg ‘square-mouths’, mainly on hair weed. The locations mentioned above are the producers.
Kings are here one day, gone the next – that’s the nature of our premier fish from the ocean rocks. Top baits are medium yakkas, mullet if the yellowtail are not available, and the ever-reliable fresh whole squid which are producing some of the better 80cm-plus fish.
And light-line fishos have often got a caning when a king has belted a pillie cast in a berley trail for other species.
Another reliable bait only a few anglers use is the salted eastern sea gar. I have been using these with great success for 25 years and have caught some whopper kings on them.
I use them a few different ways but simply slowly retrieving them on ganged hooks works just fine. Spots to try are Bluefish Point, North and South Curl Curl and North Whale Headland.
That Whiting run is certainly late! The fish were there early in the season and then tapered off, only to show again in late December.
For reliable catches, fish the best tides – the daylight or early evening high tides are necessary to maximise results although you will still catch some fish during the later tides.
Catches have been made from Narrabeen Lake entrance to the Sands Hotel and the middle of Palm Beach. When that maddening kelp is not there, Dee Why is also a reliable place for whiting.
Salmon are still for the taking and chopper tailor from 30cm to 35cm will be doing reconnaissance missions at dawn and dusk. Reliable locations are Manly, Dee Why, Collaroy when there is a bit of a surf running, and Warriewood.
Ganged pillies are working great but 45g to 65g Sniper slugs with the blue strip are working fine.
Another set-up not used here commonly is the surf popper. Use the popper on the top swivel with a short leader and a ganged pillie below to get some real thrills with a double hook-up at times.
There are some out-of-the-ordinary baits worth using for a big king this month – try a big Mullet from about 35cm or a tailor of similar length.
Big jewies also will be available this month using your whopper baits but don’t forget to have spare rigs because these baits will also attracts bronze whaler sharks.
Tony Davis, of Matraville Bait and Tackle, reports a nice 91cm king caught from Julian Rocks and some bonito to 2kg and kings to 70cm have been caught on Tony’s Teasers.
The kings are also being caught on the traditional methods. Some out-of-season stud trevally up to 2.5kg have been terrorising the breamers on their light gear.
Tony tells of a bream of 1.5kg being landed but generally they have been of 600g to 800g.
Lurline Bay rocks is the hot spot and berley the washes for optimal results. The berley is white sliced bread and the bait is a Tweed Bait peeled prawn fished with a light sinker about 2m under a small foam float.
Off the beaches, Tony says the going is tough with patchy bags of whiting, half a dozen here and there, although this month they should pick up.
They’re catching a few bream from Tamarama .
Salmon are ever-reliable and even though the water is relatively warm they are being caught on the surf poppers and ganged pillies on most beaches from Bondi to Cronulla.
• 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.Reads: 4842