Year of the pig
  |  First Published: August 2001

The black drummer are going nuts off the ocean rocks and in the lower parts of the Harbour.

Their prolific nature proves that they can be much like bonito, jewfish or many of the other species we catch on our coast – some years are certainly better than others.

There are bags of pigs from five to beyond the bag limit which, by the way, is 10 fish per person.

Bag limits are a regular occurrence for the keen angler willing to fish consistently at the correct locations with a mix of techniques.

A running ball sinker straight to the hook is a popular method. Don’t forget to vary your sinker size according to the drift; that can determine your catch rate on the day.

Another method revolves around a 2” foam float which, like all other accessories, can be purchased at all good tackle shops. Set it 1m to 3m above a running ball sinker sliding onto a swivel. Add a 30cm leader of the same line class (5kg to 12kg).

Hook sizes range from No 1 to 2/0 in the double-extra-strong.

Ocean rock locations that are producing include the north face of Barrenjoey Head, North Newport rocks, Long Reef, South Curl Curl, and The Hat at the Sydney Harbour entrance.

Josh Jenkins needed some rock blackfish entertainment and found it at a high ledge during a rough sea. I berleyed very consistently and, using the methods above, he scored 10 pigs from 33cm to a solid 4kg, all on 15lb line.

That big pig went mental on 7kg line. When he saw the big pig at his feet, Josh’s eyes were popping out like a hapuku just dragged up from 200 fathoms. He had been out on a few pig outings but this was his PB.

Along with half of the bag, that fish was released. I managed to take a couple for the plate and Josh had three. Bait was peeled tiger, endeavour and king prawns. The berley was breadcrumbs soaked to a mushy consistency.

Fairlight Pool on a high tide one evening recently produced a fantastic haul of 14 pigs from 32cm to 1.7kg and two bream for John Halford – great sport on 5kg line. Among the bream by-catch was one fish going 1.4kg.

Bags of this size are a little out of the ordinary from this popular location. Fairlight is a safe Harbour rock location except in a big southerly swell and can be a reliable spot for rock blackfish, luderick and bream.

We released nine fish and kept five pigs for the table. Sliced white bread and peeled endeavour prawns were the bait.

Steve Govostivis and I fished the wash at Dee Why headland for five snapper to 35cm and five silver trevally to 36cm. The fish were sporadic with the schools moving in and out every few minutes. Be patient and berley consistently.

Half pilchards and a pillie/bread berley were more successful than prawns but that typically can vary from one outing to the next.


Beach fishing is generally quiet for August with salmon the mainstay, although there are always a few residential whiting on selected beaches. Warriewood, Dee Why and Manly are great to catch a few Winter whiting and bream.

The sambos are traditionally caught on ganged pillies but metals from 25g to 65g on a 2kg to 3kg spin outfit make for exhilarating fishing when a 3kg-plus salmon strips off 50m of line.

Try an early morning or arvo high for more reliable results.

Goran Drapac and son Daniel scored 13 whiting from 35cm to 42cm and four bream – great beach fish. This is generally out of the ordinary for this time of the year.

On the crack of dawn there ís a run of tailor are available for about half an hour, and during the evening there have been some hefty greenbacks to 2.7kg but they are not reliable catches. Normally they are being caught by the diehard jewie fishos.


John Poole, the rock fishing expert from Matraville Bait and Tackle and Fish Finder Charters, says that at Rosa Gully there is a spot called the Staircase at Diamond Bay where pigs, trevally, bream and luderick have been around in numbers and are responding to traditional methods.

Salmon and tailor are also available for the fisho who wants to put in the yards during the evenings using a pillie under a float with a lumo stick. It’s awesome fun when you’re hooked up with that shaking lumo light showing you where your fish is.

The old Bondi Murk has the same results but be aware that it involves a climb, so it would be advisable to check out the terrain before attempting it.

Ben Buckler has had a good run of pigs and luderick. Tamarama and Bronte Point are producing a mixed bag of salmon, tailor, trevally and some nice bream for the angler who can cast the distance to the sand using Hawkesbury prawns, half pillies and ganged pillies. Use a paternoster or general beach rig for best results.

Honeycomb at Coogee has some big southern calamari plus some nice hauls of rock blackfish and luderick.

Lurline Bay is a good producer of squid and a reliable spot for a pig and a luderick. The ledges about 100m west of the concrete ledge are producing.

This area is best fished during a moderate southerly swell.

Try North Maroubra rocks near the corner of the beach and cast back towards the beach for some stud salmon to 3.5kg and the occasional bream to a kilo. Preferably fish this area during a moderate southerly swell.

At South Maroubra more towards the front there is a spot called the Blessings, where salmon, tailer, pigs, bream, trevally are available with a berley trail of chopped pillies and bread and bait of ganged pillies and halves. Fish it only in a slight sea.

Julianns is a good producer of pigs and luderick. It’s a good spot for a squid during flat conditions so have your jigs in your pack. Remember that it is only fishable during flat conditions.

Jolong is north of Cape Banks and is a fine producer of rock blackfish, luderick and trevally but should be fished only by the experienced angler. Some big squid are there on the flat days so give them a go early morning and late arvo.

Inside Botany Bay, a spot called Browns Rock is producing some good catches of pigs, trevally, salmon and tailor. There also is the odd king there for the diehards.

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