A wash smorgasbord
  |  First Published: April 2011

I cannot get enough of this time of year; it’s that transition period when Winter and Summer species co-exist.

Wash fishing is a smorgasbord. Your first fish might be a king, the next a snapper or perhaps even a samson fish, or it could be a trevally, bream, bonito, salmon, tailor or even a jewfish.

Use prawns as bait and then you can add rock blackfish, luderick, jackets, groper and more.

Back in my competitive fishing days, I remember catching as many as 12 species around this time of the year.

Breaming has recently been very good. Don Kemp on one outing on the north-east face of Warriewood Headland caught four bream and one rock blackfish. The bream were a reasonable 650g to 1.1kg and the pig was a reasonable 1.5kg fish.

Peeled endeavour prawns were the bait and a consistent bread berley trail did the job.

Don also lost a sizeable king of about 75cm on 12lb line, very nearly landing it but then severing the line on an exposed boulder.

Rob Marich had a ball on the bream at Newport Pool using a whiting outfit and 2.7kg line. We fished the edge of the pool and then worked our way to the beach.

We berleyed with pillies and bread in small but consistent amounts to keep the fish in the area.

Twelve bream from 27cm to 36cm took the baits, medium-sized Anderson pillies cut in half.

There should be a resurgence in snapper numbers this month with bags of two to eight possible, along with that smorgasbord of by-catch species.

A session at Bluefish Point in rough but calculated conditions with John Halford produced five snapper from 38cm to 54cm, or roughly 2kg – awesome fun on 12lb line and a light ball sinker in a wash.

It was a rough day suitable only for the more savvy angler and everything seemed big – big blue pilchards as baits in a berley of pillie cubes in a big wash. By-catch was a bonito of 1.5kg-plus and a barely legal (65cm) king, which was released.

New regular Ali Houchar caught eight reddies from 31cm to 37cm casting relatively wide to the sand and gravel beds off Newport’s south-east point. A cast of 40m to 60m with a 2oz sinker was required to hit the spot.


The ever-present whaler sharks were in near-plague numbers on the night we attempted to chase jewies off Dee Why Beach recently. Bities from 50cm to 1.5m at least provided a sporting substitute for the absent jewfish.

Bill Butler caught several noahs to about 10kg. Larger ones were hooked, perhaps up to 25kg, ripping off up to 50m of line before severing the rig.

This month take plenty of spare made-up leaders and whole rigs or if you deliberately want to fish for the sharks, use wire.

Filleted and skinned, they make great tucker on the barbie. The meat has a light flavour without the overwhelming flavour some fish have – great for people with a fussy palate.

Tailor are in good numbers afternoons early evenings. Choppers from 25cm to 35cm (legal size 30cm) are common on most beaches.

The annual tailor migration traditionally is in full swing this month with the size of the fish likely increasing. Kilo-plus tailor are awesome fun.

The typical three- or four-hook gang rig with a blue pilchard is the best bait choice. Beaches that currently have numbers of tailor include Palm Beach, Narrabeen, Collaroy, Dee Why, Freshwater and Manly.

Nigel Koelmeyer and friends fished Collaroy Beach near the stormwater pipe for 11 whiting and two bream. We tried either side of the pipe because there was at the time a shallow gutter on both sides.

In flatter conditions try wading out and fishing the entrances of the beach holes or the deeper low tide gutters for surprising results.

If you’re keen for the sweetest fish in town try Manly, Dee Why, Collaroy, Narrabeen, Bilgola and Palm Beach for those whiting.


Tony Davis of Matraville Bait and Tackle reports a hefty 18kg jewfish that fell for a slab of mullet off Maroubra Beach, one of the largest I have heard of for some time.

I reckon the beaches off Sydney’s eastern and southern suburbs are not fished as frequently as I suspect they should, especially given the numbers of jewfish that are in nearby Botany Bay.

Bonito and kings either side of the legal 65cm mark seem to be ever present at Juliannes, where some nice mac tuna have also been spun up on metals.

Tony says that the luderick are really thick, with a good feed possible within half an hour. He says the Trap, in the Little Bay area in front of St Michaels Golf Course, is chock full of luderick.

It is recommended to avoid the southern side of this headland because of the wave run-off running dangerously behind you; the north-east face is the safer option.

Bream are in numbers at South Bondi, Coogee and South Maroubra. Pink nippers, and baits such as half pillies and ganged whitebait are accounting for the fish.

The ever-present salmon population is there for the taking at South Maroubra rocks. Use the successful ‘coconut rig’ also called the glitter bug rig; Tony sells them hand over fist.

Although South Maroubra is the main producer, with virtually all headlands have salmon.

A few locals fishing North Maroubra at a spot called Slippery Rock have caught a few kings from 4kg to 6.5kg on live yellowtail.

A few nice groper to 4kg are in the same area, typically caught on the ever-reliable red crab.

Loads of luderick are there and it appears that most ‘green’ ledges are producing.

For April, have a spin for a pelagic or try for luderick for the most consistent results.

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