The fishing lately has been like the European stockmarket – up one day and down for two.
So it’s a matter of picking the right days and there is always a feed to be caught by the savvy angler, so beginners to intermediates just require a bit more finesse. I’ll mention a few quick tips at the end of the column.
The kings have tapered off a little but are still there. Put in the outings at the right locations and you will prosper.
Some big kings have been coming from the inshore reefs. When the current is right in close, the food for the Kings is also. Try Barrenjoey Headland, North and South Whale headlands and Bluefish Point for pelagics.
Frigate mackerel and mack tuna will start their annual run this month.
The frigates make the big kings go crazy. Swim one out live on a correct outfit and hang on.
Frigates themselves are great sport on 2kg to 3kg outfits but when seeking them for live bait use 6kg so they can be pinned and sent out quickly without being too tired.
Salted or fresh sea gar work sensationally at this time of year, too. Use Mustad 7766D hooks in 5/0 or 6/0 size and gang up four or five with swivels in between the hooks. Rig up the gar, cast it out and retrieve like a lure; the boils and smashes you see when ‘spinning’ with gars are very exhilarating.
Some pigs to 3.5kg have been caught by the diehards who fish for them all year. I prefer to swap and change.
Anyway, North Avalon, Bangalay Headland and the Hat below the Quarantine Wall at Manly have been producing for clients. Use cunjevoi or peeled banana or endeavour prawns but because of the rough terrain at these spots I suggest 10kg-plus tackle for these nasty critters.
The snapper season has been sporadic. There are fish to be had but expect variable bags, with one to half a dozen fish pretty good.
The washes of Bluefish and North Whale have been the producers. Distance casting, especially at North Whale, is essential.
Long Reef has a few reds as well wide off the south face platform. A cast of 70m to 90m is required there. Andersons salted striped tuna and slimy mackerel are working well.
The pest fish in the washes are testing. Big sweep, mado and yakkas far outnumber the reddies so I suggest a squid strip or an unpeeled large prawn as bait, otherwise the inevitable pillie skeleton will occur within seconds.
The reds are there; you just have to get through the pickers. Big sweep are OK for a feed and 5kg of them can be caught within minutes.
On the beaches there are reasonable numbers of whiting although the size is down a little to 28cm to 31cm on most beaches. Salmon, bream and flathead are among the by-catch.
South Curl Curl near the pool, the corner at Dee Why and Warriewood have been the producers. I have heard of some good catches from mid to north Palm Beach and Avalon. Tubeworms, beach worms and pink nippers are necessary for reliable results.
As I always say, keep on the move and don’t dawdle in one location if the action is not happening.
Salmon and tailor numbers are increasing and March is a great month for them.
If you have not tried fresh tailor on the barbie or under the grill you’re missing out on something special. Make sure that you eat them within 24 hours. If you have a smoker, fantastic!
Ganged pillies in that dark period until a little after sunrise or about an hour before dark until a couple of hours after are great times for tailor. Fish the run-in tide to increase results. Dee Why and Manly beaches have been the producers.
ALEX’S TACTICAL TIPS
• Preparation starts at home. Pre-tie your rigs and have stored on rig spools. For the beach fisho, have your jew, tailor/salmon, whiting, bream and flathead rigs ready to go.
• Be ready and act fast: Speed is essential to maximise rewards during those short windows of opportunity.
• A carry bag is essential. Your scissors, rigs, lures are right there when you require them. If they’re back at the bucket or backpack 100m away they might as well be at home.
• Have a bait bucket, strapped around your waist so the bait is there where you need it.
• When using frozen bait, have some partially defrosted so you don’t end up with a pile of slop. Pillies deteriorate quickly, especially on hot evenings.
• Those precious worms you purchased from your tackle shop should be kept in the shade. On hot mornings or evenings, perhaps have a cold pack to help keep the temperature down. Live bait prefers cooler water, below 25°, and worms prefer below 24°. A bucket with some fresh seawater and an aerator is necessary to keep yakkas or mullet alive and is also good for worms.
• Those precious squid you have purchased or caught need to be kept cool, too. Newspaper is great insulation so wrap up frozen squid. Take them out of the newspaper about half an hour before you need them and they will be normally 60% defrosted.
• March has some balmy evenings so calculate the defrosting rate according to the air temperature. Those precious natural squid colours and smells will still be there for that waiting Jewfish.
• A fresh-caught or live squid is hard to beat but most of us don’t have the time to spare to catch them. Go to a reputable bait shop for quality frozen bait. In my opinion Andersons or Twofold bait has the most consistent quality.Reads: 1531