Pigs, snapper and ‘boxheads’!
  |  First Published: October 2012

The ‘boxheads’ are out in force. Port Jackson sharks are interesting-looking but a humongous pain in the butt. The run starts in August and normally continues to October.

I remember speaking to Craig McGill about the porties and he mentioned he had seen a picture of them piled up to three deep on the Harbour bottom but as the water climbed from that frigid 17° to 18°-plus they literally disappear!

Have you ever seen a Port Jackson shark egg? It’s one of the most unusual eggs on the planet. It’s black, spiral-shaped and 10cm-15cm long.

The snapper were biting after a recent big sea and Chris Nessi, Andrew Morgan and I managed a nice bag of reds to 35cm and a good trevally.

We were sent on our way because of the Port Jacksons. We had a double hook-up and a single, then a couple more within 45 minutes and all we could do was flail our arms in disgust and move to another spot.

We caught the snapper on half pillies and squid strips at South Avalon headland.

Rock blackfish, pigs, black drummer, whatever you call them they have been on the chew.

One of my regular and accomplished anglers caught 21 pigs from 500g to about 1.8kg, keeping nine. They took peeled endeavour prawns in a bread berley at North Avalon rocks – fish there only on a flat to medium swell to 1m.

I managed to go home with half of the bag. It’s hard to go past pig fillets with grated parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs, egg wash, crushed garlic and chopped basil lightly fried in olive oil – just bellissimo!

Please, keep only what you are going to eat. Remember, some of those pigs that were released will be 2kg-3kg in a few years.

Have you ever tried a night pig session? They come into surprisingly shallow water and it is common to catch them in 70cm of water in a dark area.

Regular Brendan Spinney and I managed 10 pigs to 2kg on Dobroyd Head’s eastern front towards the bommie on a windy night with a half a metre of chop from the east. Brendan did very well considering it was his first time fishing the spot. Line control in these conditions is critical because of the darkness.

A mixed bag is often the case when pig fishing. Brian and son Sean Tapp, Jamie Keys and Sam Dillan scored 12 pigs to nearly 2kg, a silver drummer and a brown groper of about 2kg in a windy and a solid south-east swell of about 1.2m.

The sea was very consistent, 5-6 waves to a set with short lulls lasting for about 45 seconds – challenging conditions.

Nevertheless, the quartet did well. Each had different habits or technique issues to deal with but they worked through them systematically. They all caught quality fish and one of the anglers had never really fished before.


The most significant thing was the systematic and very predictable approach to rock and wave safety. I have always been of the opinion that rock fishing is much more predictable than driving on our roads.

Drivers are unpredictable; waves do not ever appear from nowhere and I will challenge with a logical answer anyone that says otherwise. There is no such thing as a freak wave.

Non-thinking anglers get into trouble but you will never see a seagull bowled over or washed in by a wave. It is a primitive mindset if you believe that ‘freak waves’ come from nowhere.

Why is it that raw beginners, the media and the public who do not understand the ocean say that they exist?

I will be writing in a forthcoming issue about the elements of rock fishing safety, the principles that have kept me from ever being washed in. I will say it again, it’s safer on the rocks than driving on our roads!


The beaches have been a little quiet. Salmon are the main fish available.

Bob and Jennie Lennox caught a few to 3kg on an outing around the middle of Palm Beach. We had to move from two gutters before finding the fish in the third, where some whitebait were visible.

Other beaches worthwhile have included Bungan, Narrabeen and Dee Why.

Some whiting will be showing up this month, providing that the water climbs to 19°. North Narrabeen is a great beach for a migrational run, as is Dee Why.

So get ready and don’t wait to be told! Mid-October is an exiting transitional period. The jewfish also are generally on the move by this time.

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