You can take your pick
  |  First Published: May 2013

This month you have the luxury of being able to take your pick at what you want to fish for – kings, bonito, snapper, luderick, bream, pigs and groper off the rocks and jewfish, whiting, tailor, salmon and bream off the beach.

Reducing the line weight to 6kg-8kg forces you to use some finesse when hooked up to a nice pig. It can also increase the bite ratio in clear water, especially when the Winter westerlies become dominant in the next couple of weeks.

A running ball sinker from 00 to No 2 will cover most circumstances and a 2x strong Mustad hook will do the job.

Michael Moussa recently worked out this pig finessing when he used peeled banana prawns and a trickle of bread berley to bag six fish from 37cm-43cm on rocks at North Avalon. Moving around and not over-committing to one location can make or break whether you catch a few or none.

Similar bags have been caught from long Reef, North Curl Curl and Queenscliff Headland.

When the First Fleet entered Sydney Harbour the colonists could pick and choose whatever fish they wanted. The much-prized black cod, once the largest resident fish at the time, were caught to oblivion in the first 100 years of the first settlers’ arrival.

They are very rarely caught by Sydney anglers now and are a protected species.

I took out a group of anglers recently for a shallow-water bream fish at Long Reef and Alex Whitlock did not know what he had caught but he became one of the few who had caught a Sydney black cod. It was only around a kilo and after a few photos it was released.

The three anglers caught 11 nice bream to almost 800g that morning on 2kg-3kg tackle – great fun.

Barrenjoey Head, the eastern part of Bluefish Headland and North Whale Headland are deep-water locations that are producing well on red crab segments, pilchard halves and Hawkesbury prawns. A make sure you fish light sinkers in close.

Aerick Lee had a good morning distance casting squid strips and salted striped tuna at Long Reef for some quality fish – a snapper of about 45cm and a spangled emperor. The spanglie was only 750g-800g but still an emperor!

Snapper are also being caught in the washes at Dee Why and South Curl Curl near the point.

One day the bonito are eating live baits and will not touch a metal lure; next they will eat only metal because the food source changes from 15cm baitfish to 5cm ones.

Aerick Lee and Julian Tan caught bonito to 2kg on 10g-15g Snipers and Knights. The ones with the blue reflective strips worked best.

Clients have been catching fish at The Hat, just inside the Harbour entrance, and at Bluefish Point, North and south Curl Curl, Narrabeen Head, and North and South Whale Headlands. Almost all the headlands have been producing salmon and tailor, along with some frigate mackerel and the occasional Watson’s leaping bonito.

Chris Nessi caught a Watson’s bonito at the old gasworks at Little Manly, where there also have been some kings and salmon.


Like the rock blackfish, groper are nearly always reliable fish from the rocks. A few fish to 6kg are being caught and almost any headland will produce if you have red crabs for bait. These can be found at low tide under ledges.

If you are having difficulty harvesting red crabs at the location you are fishing because of the sea or the high tide, the black/purple crab which is found above the high-tide mark is a good substitute.

Always make sure that harvesting bait is legal at the spot you choose. Check it out on the NSW Fisheries website.


Whiting are staging a resurgence with bags of up to a dozen nice fish along Palm Beach, Bilgola, Bungan, Narrabeen, Dee Why, Curl Curl and Manly beaches.

Glen Smith had tried on several occasions to catch something off the beach but found the maze of sea of sand perplexing.

He finally cracked the code with seven whiting of 33cm-35cm and a 2.5kg salmon which took a beach worm and peeled off almost 50m of 2.7kg line. It also jumped a few times and gave Glen some tense moments in the shore break.

Have you ever tried out surf fishing for tailor? When they’re on it can be fast and furious action and this is a good month to try.

A pilchard on a gang of three 4/0 hooks and a typical beach rig should put you on some tailor just around dark.

The Northern Beaches can be notorious for that dreaded kelp, so get there well before dark so you can check for kelp and choose your gutter. A high tide from 5pm-9pm will be just fine.

A 13’ Wilson Champion 6kg-8kg rod is perfect for most occasions. It has a sensitive tip but is stiff enough to allow a sizable hook to remain penetrated and the medium action has the cushioning to keep connected to head-shaking fish like tailor.

Reads: 1347

Matched Content ... powered by Google

Latest Articles

Fishing Monthly Magazines On Instagram

Digital Editions

Read Digital Editions

Current Magazine - Editorial Content

Queensland Fishing Monthly
Victoria Fishing Monthly
New South Wales Fishing Monthly