Pick a fish, any fish
  |  First Published: April 2013

It’s the beginning of the transition period and you can take your pick of what you want to fish for.

It’s the peak month off the rocks for a bream, for a start.

Good numbers are being taken from Barrenjoey Head, especially near the eastern front. If you fish the very front, beware of the high wave energy areas that are best fished only on flat days.

Otherwise fish wash to wash and don’t over commit to any one spot by over berleying.

Another location is the evergreen Long Reef. A local recently fished a 1.30pm high tide for a nice bag of bream basically in the middle of the day.

That just shows that you really don’t have to fish the ‘best’ time of day to get results.

Back in my competition days, I did not rely on the very best tides or times, otherwise I would have failed simply because a percentage of those ‘good’ tides coincided with really nasty weather. Besides, some of those competition weekends fell on unfavourable tides.

I had one of many good bream outings with Mat Heriot, when we bagged nine bream to 850g, a rock blackfish and a luderick on pilchard fillet and halves and peeled prawns.


The groper fishing has been great, with a couple of sessions producing four fish.

Rickard Sant, holidaying from Sweden, normally fishes for those freshwater pike that get up to 1.5m long.

Fishing the saltwater in our more temperate waters was something he had to do so I suggested chasing groper. I described the pugnacious attributes of this fish and he was not disappointed.

His first groper at Long Reef’s north-east face was just a little one of about 1.5kg that we kept for a feed. The second was about 2.5kg and Rickard commented how hard it pulled.

I told him a big blue was an experience he would never forget and only 20 minutes later, the whole red crab on a 5/0 hook he’d cast into 1m of wash was taken. Rickard felt the distinct sharp knocks from the fish’s protruding front peg teeth, a signature of a big groper bite.

The Wilson Mulloway 15kg-20kg rod loaded up and 18kg line purred off the reel. The groper sped off 15m, straight into a cave. Being patient with a big blue is critical at this stage.

It swam out and reefed him up a couple more times with short, powerful runs and then the big blue appeared on the surface. I gave Rickard a hand to wash it up in the difficult terrain.

Rickard said that it pulled as hard as several Northern Hemisphere pike combined! It weighed just on 11kg and we took several pictures with the fish lying in a shallow pond and then it was released. It swam off at pace, and wiser, I think.


A great session with Nathan McCallum produced 10 fat luderick to 1.2kg. The fish were caught on hair weed with a berley of sand and finely chopped hair weed.

Varying the depth was of utmost importance, with the float depth moving from 2m-3m until the fish went off the bite.

Taking the float off and fishing with just a small sinker running down to swivel with a 45cm leader and a No 8 Mustad sneck hook worked for the last three fish.

That technique was devised by the late Roy Hill, the Australian record holder for a luderick. He called it ‘pussy footing’ – casting out into the suds and letting the bait drift naturally until the tell-tale taps and the loading of the rod tip indicating it was time to strike and hook up.


Mulloway from 5kg-17kg have been taken from several spots, including the middle of Palm Beach, Bilgola and Dee Why.

You can expect a mixture of good tailor, salmon and the occasional mulloway on whole pillies.

A live 30cm-35cm chopper tailor could put you on to a big jewfish, otherwise a fresh whole squid or strips are top baits. Have some fresh frozen squid on standby. Live yellowtail or live mullet are great as well.

Whiting arenot often used as livies but can be great – make sure that they are the legal 27cm. All live bait needs to be of legal size.

It’s an awesome month for whiting and live beach worms or bloodworms account for good bags of these fish.

You’ll get a mix of whiting, flathead and bream from Curl Curl, Manly and North Narrabeen. Large white pilchards on a two-hook gang of No 2 hooks cast in close are catching bream and flathead.

The beach corners are generally where the larger numbers of bream are. Try Freshwater’s northern corner and both ends of Avalon, subject to sea and wind conditions. Live nippers, fillets of mullet or blue pillies and Hawkesbury prawns have produced.

So this month we can look forward to big kings, groper of course, luderick, bream, and snapper action off the rocks.

Off the beaches go for jewfish, whiting, bream, flathead, salmon and tailor. Pick any of the above beaches without kelp and off the rocks, try Bluefish Point for the experienced and Long Reef as a safer option.

For safe rock fishing, always remember to face the direction where the swell is approaching and don’t look down, face towards the approaching waves.

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