Consistent catches at last
  |  First Published: March 2013

Finally there is some consistency off the ocean rocks. The kings have been available but very patchy until a couple of weeks ago but now the action is predictable and productive.

For a while there it was three outings for one decent fish or sub-legal fish every outing. You just have to release them unharmed, enjoy the sport and appreciate that they will be legal in a season or less.

Being a guide is more than simply elaborating on your ‘wisdom’. When I get the opportunity, I try to get out there and have a spin or a live-bait for my favourite fish.

I recently put in two ‘me’ outings, one producing zero and the next for one strike and a good king of 115cm and 11.5kg.

Over the decades I have caught my share of 10kg-plus kings and they always seem to give those moments of white-knuckle terror, especially on a plain Alvey reel.

Using your palm as the sole means of drag is an experience in itself, very exhilarating indeed! Anyway, that fish was caught at Long Reef in around 3m of water with a live yellowtail under a float.

Sea gar baits are producing their share of fish and this month there should be a run of gar off the rocks and in the Harbour and that is what the kings should be chasing.

A great alternative is a 9” white soft stickbait. I have been using Silstar Slap Sticks at Bluefish and Little Bluey near Shelly Headland and they have been producing some good fish.

During gusty conditions a 1/2oz or 1oz jig head or a ball, bean or barrel sinker sliding straight down to the plastic will get some distance in your cast.

Richard Cho found out how tough a king around 74cm can be even on 18kg mono. A fish of that size can give you some tense moments on relatively heavy tackle.

The frigate mackerel usually run at this time of year and the stud kings will follow. Mac tuna to a kilo are around in numbers, too.

While guiding I saw a 30kg-40kg black marlin jump three times only 150m off Bluefish Point. It was only 50m from anchored boats and I yelled out but amazingly the five anglers aboard the two boats remained unaware.


Bream are in good numbers off the rocks with bags of up to 15 fish caught at several locations including Barrenjoey Head near the front, the washes at Bangalley Headland, Long Reef and Little Bluey. Red crab segments, pilchard halves and pink nippers are all working well. The nippers are best in the early hours because undesirables like big sweep and mados will make short work of them after the sun comes up.

If fishing the shallows use 3kg line but off the deeper headlands go to 5kg-7kg in case you need to extract a snapper, king, groper or pig. Fish light and in close.

Snapper are on around Bluefish Headland, South Curl Curl, Dee Why, Turimetta Head and Bangalley Head.

Fish to 1.5kg are regular in the washes and farther out, with bigger fish available at times.

In the oxygenated washes, cast lightly weighted fish three-quarter pillies or striped tuna strips on 2/0-3/0 Mustad 92554 or 92247 hooks below a 00 to No 4 ball sinker. Berley up every two to four minutes with a chunky mix of chopped pilchards and bread.


A couple of anglers have told me about 8kg jewfish they caught on Collaroy Beach about 300m north of the pipe and they said a fish over 10kg was caught the previous night.

Gutters obviously change position, sometimes overnight, so just find the deeper ones for best results. Whiting and bream were also in the same location, with tailer around dark.

Mid-Narrabeen is often a neglected spot but has been producing whiting between Mactier St and the South Narrabeen Surf Club.

Another often overlooked spot producing good bream and whiting is Turimetta Beach. If kelp is there, give it a wide berth and fish another beach. Fortunately you can usually see it in the water or on the beach from the high vantage points on Park Parade.

Dee Why Beach is also a consistent producer but kelp can be a problem there. If one side is inundated with it, move to the other side.

Rob Marich and I had a good outing on Manly Beach, putting in only three hours for 19 whiting to 39cm.

The very next day, with Kristian Chambers Mclean and son Jack, 10, the same gutter produced only a couple and the rest of the bag came from several locations on the same beach – hard yakka, but that’s whiting fishing.

Don’t get too focused on one beach.

Curl Curl has also been fishing well; I saw one angler there with three flathead to 45cm taken on ganged pillies in close and there are nice whiting and bream also.

A reader recently emailed me a pic of a 17kg-18kg king caught off a local beach at night while fishing for jewfish. Every year at least half a dozen 10kg-15kg kings are caught off the Northern Beaches at night.


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