Reds and kings can be cool
  |  First Published: December 2012

I remember a January when the water was only 13° while the air temperature was a balmy 30°. I mentioned to my clients that if they were to fall into the ocean, their main concern would have been hypothermia. And I reckon that one January in three, the water is still quite cold.

However, the snapper run off the rocks is continuing with reds of 2kg and more being caught.

Anglers do not often fish for a snapper in the wash at Bangally Head but the ledges up near the south-east point have been producing some good reds. It is also a terrific distance-casting spot.

Turrimetta Headland at Warriewood is another place that has been producing snapper in the washes. There also have been some bream, salmon and a couple of small kings thrown in to make things interesting. This is also a good distance-casting spot.

Further South, Dee Why headland has some good snapper available in the washes. Be aware that because the space between the cliff and the waters edge is narrow it can be inaccessible in some areas or just too dangerous in a rough sea.

South Curl Curl has a few mixed species for the wash fisho. Try the washes at the well-known Flat Rock for bream, snapper, salmon and kings.

The kings in this area are probably the easiest to land on the Northern Beaches because there is very little structure out wider on which they can cut you off. But in close is they can sever the line if you do not keep it clear of the ledge.

Every year some 20kg-plus kings are landed here. It is easy fishing; I call it ‘beach fishing off the rocks because most of the bottom in this area is sand.

Fish with a two-hook snell or a single hook with a live fish bait or squid and wait for the pelagics to pass by.

It is a great spot to have a spin as well and ganged salted or fresh sea gar work a treat here.

North Curl Curl is the complete opposite. The big kings here are a lot harder to land, thanks to the merciless submerged sharp ledges and no sand to the east in close, but the kingie fishing can be good here.

Like Dee Why, this location can be very dangerous because of the narrow ledge. Avoid fishing the eastern front of Curl Curl in a swell larger than 1.2m from any direction.

Because kings are pelagic the current dictates their lives. It is necessary to have water generally 20° and above; their food source is there when the water is right.

If it is colder on the day, especially if you’ve had to travel a distance, bring your pig gear so as not to be totally disappointed. When the water is a bit cool, use prawns in a bread berley for the rock blackfish or even a groper.

January is a good month for stud kings. The only downside for the average fisho is that 95% of fish over 15kg are lost. Make sure that your leader and main line a ‘hard’ variety that can take some abrasion; steer away from any lines that are even remotely soft.

Keep checking your rig while fishing. Sometimes throughout your session you may have dragged your line over a ledge and damaged it. Do not take anything for granted. Otherwise a big king will find any errors in your gear.


I like fishing for Summer bream. Try the shallows of Long Reef for plentiful bream to a kilo.

Pink nippers are the supreme bait but not necessary for great results. Hawkesbury prawns, pillie fillets and half pillies are great. A light berley trail of mashed pilchards and bread trickled consistently every 30 seconds or so will keep them just interested but not filled.

Some big mullet can show up as well, with fish to 35cm but the majority are 20cm-30cm. Have you ever tried a feed of mullet caught from the ocean? Very nice!

Have a go at Little Bluey for bream. January and February are good months there.


The whiting are on at Palm Beach and there have been some dart to 34cm as well for great sport on 2kg-3kg line.

The big dart generally hang around for only a couple of months. Typically a great whiting beach, Narrabeen Beach is also a renowned dart beach.

At Palm Beach there have been a few good tailor to 1.2kg from just before dawn to just on sunrise for the pilchard tossers. Try from the massive boulder to the northern side of the beach.

Avalon Beach is producing good whiting and bream, try from the middle to the northern end right up to the corner near the boulders.

Bungan Beach has been fairly reliable lately. The only downside is climbing back up the big hill and generally crowds avoid this beach for this reason. Bags of six to eight bream are regular there but kelp can be a problem, so check it out from a high vantage point, like the corner of Karloo and Bungan Head roads.

Up to 10 whiting a session are also possible at Bungan on good tides and conditions but live beach, blood or tube worms are paramount.

A local recently caught a 12kg jewfish there, his first ever, so it was a thrill for him.

I had a client a few years ago who also caught his first jewfish off his local beach. It went 31kg. The only downside is that it is unlikely that he will ever beat that.

Bronze whaler sharks are abundant on most beaches so take plenty of spare rigs.

Dee Why and Manly beaches are producing some reasonable bags of whiting and a few bream.

Remember, be mobile and be prepared to move around in search of the fish.

So go to the trouble to use the freshest of baits because whiting and jewfish generally eat live food.

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