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A chance on the rocks
  |  First Published: July 2011



Now we’re really in the depths of the big freeze and well past the shortest day of the year, so it would be easy to assume that things can only get better from this point. Unfortunately, though, the next six weeks or so are normally a very tough period for local fishing.

However, with a bit of luck it may still possible to get stuck into a few.

At this time of year, rock fishing tends to be one of the more reliable options if you simply want to score a feed of fresh fish.

If you can be bothered spending the time to rig up properly with the appropriate tackle and gather up some weed or green cabbage, blackfish are a good fish to target.

We have plenty of good rocky points and ledges for blackfish along the Central Coast but one of my favourite stretches of coastline for these fish is between Snapper Point and Catherine Hill Bay.

A couple of the lower ledges to the south of Catho are first-class blackfish spots, where the fish are often available in numbers and size.

But I strongly advise extreme care when rock fishing in this particular area, as the rocks are quite exposed to the full force of the sea. Make sure you check weather and swell forecasts before planning a trip there.

Local anglers could do no better than watch the weather on the nightly NBN news, as Gavin Morris is without doubt the best TV weather presenter in the business and, being a keen surfer, he always has a good surf report. So you’ll have a clear idea of exactly what the ocean will be doing.

On a sad note, it seems that there may be some major changes to Catherine Hill Bay in the near future.

The NSW Planning Assessment Commission has approved the controversial development by the Rose Group to build over 500 new homes in the area. I for one am disgusted that this has been allowed happen, after years of Catho locals opposing it and overall there’s very little support for it.

Hopefully it won’t adversely affect the fishing, surfing and general nature of the pristine rocks and beaches here, but that all remains to be seen.

SURF SALMON

The main beach at Catherine Hill Bay is a good option, with salmon the main fish you’re likely to catch here this month. In fact, the same goes for all our beaches from now through to about the end of September.

Salmon have already been showing up in reasonable numbers and they could build up to greater numbers than they did last year.

Yes, some of us are probably becoming a bit bored with salmon and I can understand that. Remember, though, that some folk don’t get out to fish very much and they’ll be glad to get some line stretched and if salmon are the fish that are going to stretch that line, then I’m sure those anglers will be quite pleased to enjoy getting into a few.

There’s still a reasonable chance of hooking fish like tailor, bream and jewfish from the beach this month.

If you’re after bream, try fishing towards the end of the beach, closer to rocks or reef, because more bream tend to congregate in these areas rather than along the middle of the beach.

OFFSHORE

Recent offshore fishing has been reasonably good in close and out to about 40m or so, but a few blokes I know who fished the wider grounds didn’t do much good at all.

They got just a sprinkling of big bonito and a few kings, but leatherjackets were up to their usual tricks helping anglers empty their tackle boxes.

Reasonable numbers of trevally, along with some snapper, a few kings, tailor and salmon have been active in closer around the shallow reefs, bommies and headlands.

All going well, the situation this month should improve for those wanting to jig up kings and bonito.

Let’s just hope the weather is kind enough to let us get out there and that pests like jackets, seals and sharks aren’t too annoying this season.

ESTUARY DOLDRUMS

July is certainly one of the toughest months for the lakes and Brisbane Water. As I mentioned last month, blackfish are about the most prolific species to target at this time of year, although there can still be some good bream, flathead and whiting around.

You really do have to put in the effort to catch these mid-Winter fish, though.

Rainfall can also have quite an impact on estuary fishing. We often get flooding rains in July and that can really shut things down.

So let’s all hope it remains dry with some nice sunny days to help make fishing a bit more enjoyable, even if the fish don’t come out to play.

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