Rug up and enjoy!
  |  First Published: May 2012

Normally May means calm, sunny days and chilly nights but the way the weather has been over the past 12 months, I certainly wouldn’t be too confident that’s going to happen.

We can only hope, though, that all this silly La Niña business is behind us now and we may just get to enjoy some half-decent pre-Winter weather.

Historically, fishing is very good during May, with some remnants of warm-water action still possible as well as Winter species like blackfish, drummer and salmon kicking into gear.

Last year we endured a particularly cold May and I remember when fishing early in the morning rugging up as if it were July.

Regardless of how cold it get’s I’m not really that fazed and will still get out of a warm bed at some ridiculous hour and be on the water before sunrise if that’s what it takes to catch fish.

Investing in some quality cold-weather gear like a thick windproof jacket, woollen beanie and gloves means you’ll be able to take on the frosty mornings and strip back as the sun’s strength picks up.


Rock fishing should again be reliable this month, as long as the swell isn’t too big. I hope we get plenty of those early south-westerly winds, which help flatten out the sea and if that’s the case, there are plenty of fish to choose from.

A few bonito could still be hanging close in around the headlands with the odd frigate mackerel and mack tuna with them. Normally, though, these small pelagics start to thin out or move further offshore as we get closer to winter.

On the other hand, tailor and salmon numbers should increase and we also tend to have some reasonable kingfish hanging around the rocks this month.

So those who like their spinning or live-baiting shouldn’t pack that sort of gear away just yet.

Blackfish, drummer and bream should really be out in full force and on the chew now. Throw in a few trevally and the odd snapper and there is a very high chance of bringing home a decent feed of fresh fish.

That’s what I like about rock fishing on the Central Coast, it’s not too hard to score a mixed bag of top-quality table fish by throwing around bait like peeled prawns, cunjevoi, pilchards or white bread.

All the usual rock spots, from Pearl Beach right up to the top of Catherine Hill Bay, can be good for that sort of fishing.

So far this year I’ve enjoyed more success on the rocks than from the beaches but I know there have been a number of good jewfish caught from local beaches over the past few months and this is another reliable jewie month.

Thankfully it’s also a great month for squid so it shouldn’t be too hard to round up some fresh bait. Tailor, bream and salmon should also be cruising the surf zone in numbers.


Offshore fishing should also be pretty good, providing the weather allows us to get out there.

It’s just as easy to score a mixed bag of table fish from the close reefs as it is off the rocks, but in this case it’s trevally, pan-size snapper, morwong and kingfish. If you’re within a kilometre of shore then a few decent bream may also get in on the act.

In depths of less than 25m, get a berley trail going with a mixture of bread, old fish scraps and maybe some tuna oil or chook pellets. Fish bait with just a pea-sized ball sinker running down to a No 2 to 1/0 hook.

It hasn’t been easy to find decent quality blue pillies lately but other good baits are pieces of yakka, bonito, prawns or white bread.

With this style of fishing, the lighter the line the more bites so that means 3-6kg mono or similar braid and a long fluorocarbon leader.

There remains a good chance of running into some reasonable kingfish at this time of year and you don’t have to head out wide, either. It’s hard to go past a live squid, possibly fished on a downrigger, but live yakkas will also do the job.

We may not have many really big kings swimming in local waters but there are certainly plenty of 4-8kg fish.

Estuary fishing is mainly about bream and blackfish this month, but a few flathead should also be on the cards as well as the odd jewfish in Brisbane Water.

Try to make the most of things now, because in another month or so estuary fishing is going to get a lot tougher and we’ll mainly be left with just blackfish.

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