Now take your pick!
  |  First Published: December 2011

Almost every species that can possibly be caught off the rocks around Sydney is now available, so take your pick!

Kings are on the boil with some fish over 1.2m being hooked and lost. Live pike and bonito have been the prime baits for the big fish and kings of all sizes available on live yellowtail.

Squid, live or very fresh in strips, are working just fine for fish of all sizes.

In the deeper areas like North Head, Bluefish Point and South and North Whale you can also expect the occasional snapper up to 2kg to take larger squid strips floated down a berley trail meant for a king.

It might be worth reducing your hook size from 6/0 or 7/0 down to a strong 4/0 so you do not miss out on these bonus pink fish. Although they are not much sport on 15kg to 24kg kingie gear, they are still welcome for the table.

Another reliable alternative bait is the salted sea gar.

Obviously they are better if fresh but you certainly get more mileage once these baits are salted.

They’re about $12 to $17 a kilo and you get about 25 to the kilo for medium gar. But if you want to pursue that whopper king, go for the larger ones around 8 to 10 to the kilo. Larger baits attract larger fish and I have caught my fair share.


December is a great month for snapper.

Distance casting or working the washes of productive headlands from North Head to Barrenjoey will produce some good reddies.

Between November and May there is the opportunity to catch up to the bag limit (10) of these delectable fish.

The eastern front of Bluefish Point is a good option. The only downside is that it is notorious for attracting a larger swell being a headland exposed to the open ocean.

Dee Why and Long Reef are great areas for a snapper and generally safer, especially the reef. At Dee Why try about 150m east of the pool.

Casting more than 80m to get out to the sand/gravel beds. At the same ledge you can fish the wash for mixed species, generally snapper with some kings, bream, trevally, surface fish and maybe a even a samson fish – great tucker and great sport on light tackle.

I mentioned last issue that the bream had been good off the beaches and they are now in good numbers off the rocks. Try Barrenjoey Head, Mona Vale Pool, Long Reef and the eastern front of Dobroyd Head for bream form 350g to a kilo.

It’s up to you how heavy you want to fish, of course within a reasonable line class. I say 3kg to 6kg is all that’s required.

Use half pillies for bait and berley with crushed pillies and bread. Sinkers from 00 to No 1 ball will cover most situations. Fish the run up to the high tide and of course search for whitewater.


There’s been a good run of whiting off the beaches with fish to 43cm. The middle to the northern end of Palm Beach, Balgowlah, the evergreen North Narrabeen to Collaroy stretch and Dee Why have the size and numbers.

Some nice bream and tarwhine are mixed in, and on a two-hook paternoster rig hooking a whiting and a bream at the same time is fantastic.

If you’re fishing light, say 3kg to 4kg main line, make sure that the paternoster section is around 5kg, preferably fluorocarbon.

There is a nice run of chopper tailer around with some big salmon as well.

Over the past couple of months salmon have scarce on some of the beaches.

It just goes to show that when they’re around for several seasons and then they’re not, you stop saying ‘those pain-in-the-ass salmon picked up another jewie bait’!

Tailor and some salmon have been caught at Palm Beach, North Narrabeen, Dee Why and Manly; pick a high tide just before or after dark.

That also applies for the jewies that are on the chew, ranging from tiddlers of 2.5kg to 6kg and a healthy 22kg fish caught buy a local on fresh squid.

Don’t neglect the full moon highs; they fish well in my opinion. Try to get down to your chosen beach well before dark. It’s important not only to get a spot but, if the kelp is there, you have enough light to search for another more suitable beach. The Northern Beaches can be notorious for kelp!


The luderick are still going strong from South Head to Cape Banks, according to John Poole of Matraville Bait and Tackle. Diamond Bay has plenty of luderick at Rosa Gully, where there has also been a good run of kings and pelagics.

The luderick can be caught on the relatively abundant cabbage weed and the kings on sea gars and live yakkas. Spin the gars and send out a live bait under a float.

There has been a late run of trevally at Lurline Bay; fish with pillies and berley with mashed pillies and bread.

The luderick are there, too. For more fun on the blurters, fish with the luderick outfit. Take a spin outfit with you and you may get the odd king, bonito and salmon.

Bream numbers are increasing, with pink nippers, half pillies and peeled Hawkesbury prawns working just fine.

At the boulders on the point of South Head there have been a few bream in the evening.

Give South Maroubra rocks and Yellow Rock a go for bream. Some big tarwhine and the occasional snapper are showing up in the washes when breaming.

At the back Lurline Bay there are squid available for the early risers and those fishing at dusk. Little Bay is also great for the cephalopods.

Snapper numbers are increasing. South Bondi rocks produce the odd squire but the deeper headlands are more reliable.

Yellow Rock at Maroubra is a good location for 30cm to 45cm reds. Remember that this headland is a dangerous spot and should be fished by sensible, experienced anglers only. Cast wide with squid strips, bottle squid, fillets of fresh yellowtail, mullet and salted striped tuna.


The whiting have finally turned up in good numbers. Bondi and Maroubra beaches have whiting and some good bream but get there really early in the morning or just before and after dark to avoid all the swimmers.

Those beautiful bloodworms from Matraville Bait and Tackle are doing the damage, although peeled river prawns are also working.

Have a spin from the beach when possible for salmon and tailor which are there at times. Generally 35g to 45g metals work fine.

Tamarama Beach is a good sneaky spot during a reasonable southerly. It produces bream in reasonable numbers with the odd whiting. It’s only a small beach but it is often overlooked by the locals and is best fished at high tide early morning or at dusk.



I know that I keep harping on about it, but never take your eyes off the swell and be constantly aware from which the direction it is coming. Wear cleats that are in good condition or spike boots and make sure the spikes are not too worn.

Always tell someone exactly where you are going. Go to the trouble of going over a map with the person /persons concerned so they know where you are and what time you will be home.

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