November is generally one of the windiest months, with the north-east breeze blowing down the coast from about mid-morning.
It is a time when the pre-Summer species like flathead and kingfish are out on the prowl around the drop-offs and among the moorings, while bream and whiting travel the deeper holes and flats looking to shorten the lifespan of an early season prawn.
After our warmest Winter on record, local waters are still cool but temperatures are rising quickly and will soon be at their peak.
This is the month when I generally break out the crab traps and put a string of witches’ hats out near a weed bed in the hope of catching a good feed of blue swimmer crabs.
In NSW you are still allowed a maximum of five of this style of trap, but only one of the box or round enclosure traps per person.
I recommend that when you place out your trap/s you stay close to keep an eye on them and mark your float with your details. More information can be found regarding sizes, numbers and no-go zones in the NSW Saltwater Guide handbook.
This is also a great time to dust off the prawning kit in search of a feed of prawns.
Around the weedy edges of the Harbour and Pittwater are popular wading areas, as too is Narrabeen Lake.
All you need is a prawn net, a light and a bucket for your catch. Any light will do but if the wind picks up even just mildly, it will ripple the water and render any above-water light hopeless.
Most seasoned prawners will go that bit further and purchase an underwater light, which works in all conditions.
These lights are 6V, 9Vor 12V, depending on choice, and are available at most tackle stores. LED prawn lights with small heads are most manoeuvrable underwater.
You are probably wondering what time of month is best to go.
During the new moon phase and the couple of days either side is the recommended time to go prawning for two reasons. The moon is at its darkest then and survival rates for the prawn are at their highest due to the low level of light.
Secondly, during maximum darkness it is perceived that the prawns will ‘run’ with the outgoing tide, so be sure to look behind you as you walk and stir up the sand because this provides more cover for these tasty little morsels to scoot around in.
November is a terrific month for targeting flathead and whiting with live nippers.
Nippers can be pumped from Narrabeen Lake or around Bayview and fished around drop-offs and over sand flats. They are deadly bait which is almost always aggressively attacked by most sand-dwelling species.
As when using any live bait, give the fish ample time to swallow the nipper and your hook.
Small circle hooks from Black Magic and Eagle Claw are becoming increasingly popular for this style of fishing. Hooking them only once through the tail allows the nipper to move naturally, often causing an aggro take by a bream, flathead or whiting.
When fishing with live nippers with a threadline reel on a running-sinker rig in low wind, I am a fan of leaving the bail arm open.
Once line starts leaving your reel quickly, only a gentle strike is required to secure a fish that has had time to swallow your bait.Reads: 1045