Prepare for fickle fishing
  |  First Published: September 2012

Early Spring sometimes can be a very fickle part of the year to fish.

You can have warm and cold currents side by side and some days the weather can be warm one minute and freezing the next.

You can also go out in the morning with not a breath of wind and by mid-morning there will be a strong breeze.

The sunny days will spark many anglers out of hibernation and eager to get out into the boat or fish from the shore but many will forget to service their gear that has lain idle all Winter. Likewise the boat trailer, outboard and battery.

So before you go check that battery and those trailer bearings, rods and reels.

At the start of Spring I’m usually fishing off a rock platform somewhere along the coast for bream, trevally, salmon, tailor, drummer, groper and squid.

My fishing diaries indicate that on many September days the winds have been coming from the west. These tend to flatten out the seas for a few days, giving you a window of opportunity to get out onto the rock ledges inaccessible and unsafe when the seas have been up a bit.

But remember that once a westerly wind has backed off a bit, the ground swell will start to roll in again, making fishing off the rocks at some places very dangerous.

In my local stamping ground of the Cronulla Shire you could try Kurnell, Boat Harbour at the end of Greenhills Beach, Wanda and Elouera beaches, Marley, Wattamolla, Garie, North and South Era and Stanwell beach, just north of Wollongong. All of these fish extremely well during a westerly.

On the north side of Botany Bay try places like Little Beach, Little Bay, the southern end of Maroubra, Coogee and Bondi beaches. Bronte Beach sometimes holds good populations of whiting during September.

When the westerly blows it tends to clear the water, so much so that at times the fish become very timid. This when it is essential to berley with a combination of mashed bread, chicken pellets and left over pilchards.

Your bait must be of the highest quality. Try Hawkesbury prawns, pink nippers, beach, tube and blood worms, fresh strips of mullet, slimy mackerel and squid.

I also suggest you use a fluorocarbon leader or mainline.


If you are after a feed of squid or you just need to get a few for bait, the trick to getting them with squid jigs is to have a range of sizes and colours.

You just don’t know what the squid will prefer on the day. I have green, orange, pink, blue and neutral colours in my colour range and size 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 jigs in each of the above colours.

If you are fishing from the shore, cast to where there are weed beds or kelp. Allow the squid jig to sink for a few seconds and then start a slow retrieve.

If this doesn’t work you could try slowly lifting the rod as you are retrieving.

Once you have hooked up, keep tension on the line and slowly wind.

From a boat the retrieve is the same but you could also rig up a second outfit with a squid jig on a paternoster rig.

Lower this rig to the bottom and then wind it back up a couple of turns to have it just suspended off the top of the weeds. This will then just move up and down with the rocking motion of the boat.

The good part about this is that you will know when you have a squid on because the rod will bend over.


When I am fishing off the rocks I use one of the simplest rigs that I know of to target bream, trevally, drummer and groper.

A ball sinker simply runs freely straight down onto the hook and the bait. It’s hard to snag up and most fish don’t have any problem attacking the bait.

I prefer peeled prawns, cunjevoi, bread, red crabs and pilchard tails.

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