The general run Summer species should well and truly be around now but they can be a little slow because of the variation in the water temperature.
The ocean can change from 18° to 20° within a day or less so it’s a matter of keeping up with the water temp charts and realising that warm days do not necessarily signify warm water.
Anglers can become a little bit perplexed with the ‘seasons’ and how they relate to the time of year. For example, last season’s snapper and kings were probably ‘early’ and this season they may be late, it just depends on the water temperature, not the month or the air temperature.
Be particularly mindful that the migratory species understand water temperature, not the calendar.
Wash fishing for snapper is a great option at the moment with good reds to well over 1.5kg on the chew.
Catching snapper in the washes is one of the great pleasures of rock fishing; it just has to be experienced.
Bluefish Point is one great location. The eastern front has been producing fish to 1.6kg although the main run are 750g- 900g – great table fish.
Throw in some big salmon and a few bonito, and a late run of trevally making a showing in the berley, and there can be a lot of fun in the washes.
You must expect some quieter days but snapper should be caught on every fishable day.
Other locations, like South Curl Curl, are producing some nice reddies and those other species.
Also be prepared for the odd king of 65cm-75cm, which makes for real thrills on 5kg-7kg line, so be prepared for them and don’t be heavy-handed, otherwise they could end things sadly for you by severing your line over a sharp boulder or ledge.
The whopper black drummer are still available for those anglers who can pull themselves away from the kings or snapper.
Let’s create a scenario. You have decided to fish one of the deep-water headlands like Bluefish, Curl Curl North or South Whale and the kings didn’t show on the morning.
Low tide has just turned and the water is coming up. The best option is to chase a pig.
A big cabbage weed bait, set generally 1m-3m deep among a boulder-strewn area on 10kg line could get you locked into some nasty action.
Some locations that are producing pigs are Little Bluey South of Shelly Headland, North Curl Curl and Bangally Head.
The reality is every headland on the Northern Beaches produces rock blackfish to some degree and they all have their resident fish, some more than others.
At this time of the year there appears to be a congregation of larger pigs. Come December and they generally thin off again but are still there.
Again, this can vary from year to year. If anyone tells you that there are no rock blackfish during the Summer, they have a lack of knowledge of this species. They are resident, like groper, and can be caught year round.
Luderick are available in reasonably good numbers and are increasing in numbers. Catches of four to a dozen fish to 1.2kg are available at locations like Little Bluey, South Curl Curl, Turrametta Head, Warriewood, Mona Vale Pool and North Whale Headland off the point.
You can try cabbage weed or hair weed at all of these locations, just fishing it 1.3m-2.5m under your float, but just adjust your float and bait to the water depth.
Another method is the ‘pussyfoot’ technique – fishing without the float. Use a leader of 30cm-6-cm of 3kg line tied to a 25lb size swivel and a No 8-10 sneck or suicide hook. Weight can be a 0 ball to a 1 ball or maybe heavier in rough water.
Cast out into the suds and wait for the telltale light, rattly bite with an increase in weight and lean back on to a luderick.
It’s a splendid way to fish for them, especially if breaking waves don’t allow the float option.
It will be a novelty to the luderick angler who has not used this technique, and is a must in some situations.
Salmon are available off the beaches although they vary in size and quality from one area to another.
For example, the salmon at Manly Beach could be substantially larger than the average run of fish from Mona Vale Beach, or vice-versa. Shop around or keep an ear out for reports of bigger fish from selected spots.
Some great tarwhine are showing up to add to increased numbers of bream and whiting.
Simultaneously hooking two tarwhine of 600g-plus on a two-hook paternoster rig is a great experience. Make sure that your paternoster line is a hard fluorocarbon around 6kg or you may suffer the misfortune of one of your fish busting off.
If you can obtain them, live bloodworms are the gun bait but they seem to be harder and harder to obtain.
A great substitute is live beach worms. Good tackle shops will have them regularly from now until about the end of May.
Some tailor to a kilo are showing up and the annual chopper tailor run is only just around the corner.
A local fishing with fresh squid from the Octavia street area of Narrabeen Beach bagged a jewfish of just under 15kg. There also have been some school fish to 6kg from Dee Why Beach with live yellowtail and mullet the performing baits.
• In case the snapper or kings are not on the chew, take a spare lighter outfit and fish for rock blackfish.
• Try the novel ‘pussyfoot’ technique for a luderick.
• If the pesky whaler sharks are giving you too much grief when seeking jewfish, move to another gutter and you may find a mulloway. Expect them to increase in numbers as the water temp increases.