Deep ledges for kings
  |  First Published: December 2012

I just love chasing kingfish off the deep ledges in December.

Have your live yellowtail suspended 2m-10m under a float and vary your sinker to suit the conditions. Rig it above the leader and expect results.

The evergreen Bluefish Point is a good start, with South and North Curl Curl also great options.

Up the northern end of the peninsula, Bangalley Head and North Whale are great choices.

Recently Chris Nessi and I caught a great bag of 11 snapper to 1.3kg, eight trevally to a kilo, bream to a kilo and salmon to 2.5kg, all caught in the suds in close off Bluefish Point.

If you have not caught a snapper from the washes you have not had the pleasure of encountering one of the hardest-hitting and toughest fish on the rocks.

All our fish took whole endeavour prawns and three-quarter blue pillies and we berleyed with a steady stream of pillie cubes and bread.

The strong sweep can be a problem at times so it becomes necessary to vary your sinker weight.

We also had some monumental bust-ups on 6kg as kings buried us on a submerged ledge. About 50 dolphins hung around about 70m-80m out and if they had decided to come in closer the outcome would have been a lot different as they put down the fish.

Please heed the warnings about fishing Bluefish and they apply to any ocean rocks.

Check the number of waves per set and the distance and time between the lull and the set. This can determine if the swell is rising or falling, a benchmark that has kept me safe for decades.

Paul Rice recently caught a whopper 1.7kg bream in the washes, along with some salmon to 2kg. How hard does a bream of that size goes off the rocks on light string!

Some of the locals nearby were using floats with baits 2m-3m below and were into the trevally and some bream around a kilo.

We used 6kg-8kg line with 2/0 to 3/0 Mustad suicide hooks, pillies and 00 to 0 ball sinkers and a steady pilchard and bread berley. The low-mount Live Fibre Trophy ZMT 7144 rod was coupled with an Alvey 600 and the medium mount Trophy held a Daiwa Exceler Oceana 4500J.

It is important to have a balanced outfit and choosing the right mount height for Alvey, threadline or overhead reel will allow you to with comfort and success.


Rock blackfish and luderick are available year-round and can be caught throughout the Summer. Try The Hat at the bottom of the Quarantine wall at North Head, Little Bluey about 150m South of Shelly Headland, Long Reef, North Avalon and Barrenjoey.

Use cabbage baits for pigs and luderick. For the pigs alone you can also use peeled endeavour prawns, cunjevoi or white sliced bread. Don’t forget the berley.


Narrabeen, Warriewood and Palm beaches have good populations of whiting to 40cm and bream have been a fairly regular by-catch.

Tube and beach worms are the most common baits with pink nippers also worthwhile.

Night fishing for whiting is not common but I fish for them on nights when the surf is relatively flat and can catch fish on the last shore break in only 30cm of water.

Just flick out between one and three rod lengths and surprise yourself how close these cautious fish can come under the cover of darkness.

Chopper tailor from 25cm-33cm (legal size 30cm) have been frequenting beaches like Manly, Dee Why and Narrabeen. Metal slugs like 10g-25g Snipers and whole ganged pillies are the way to go.

You can expect a few flathead because where tailor normally frequent is also a likely place for a flathead to reside.

Have you tried fresh tailor smoked? They are fantastic, a culinary delight.

There have been reports of jewfish here and there along with numbers of whaler sharks. If you don’t luck out with landing a jewfish, try one of the sharks for tucker – they are great sport, fight harder than a jewfish and are prolific.

Try Manly, Dee Why, Collaroy, Narrabeen, Bungan; almost all beaches on the North Side for these reliable fish.

Just take what you need and release the rest. They are tough critters and the survival rate is 97% if they’re hooked in the mouth.

If you’re not excited about this time of year, you’re never going to be!



A very important DVD is to be released for the safety of those who fish the rocks, now and into the future.

Stan Konstantaras from the Australian National Sportfishing Association and the Recreational Fishing Alliance, cameraman Michael Powers, guest angler Paul Rice and I went to the notorious Catherine Hill Bay to shoot an updated version of the Rock Fishing Safety DVD. It will be free in tackle shops all over the country.

If the step-by-step procedures on the DVD are taken, rock fishing is a relatively safe and calculated sport.

Matter of fact, I can say with 100% confidence that it is far safer than driving on our roads. A swell or wave approaching is always seen if you face the direction it is coming from, and a wave does not text, speed or drive erratically. Let’s face it, some drivers are just insane; a wave is not. – AB

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