So much to do in December
  |  First Published: December 2013

This month it’s action time. There’ll be no twiddling your thumbs contemplating what to do.

Off the rocks the kings are in reasonable to good numbers from most headlands. The locations that are producing of late are Bluefish, Little Bluey, about 800m south of Bluefish Point, South Curl Curl, and Flat Rock.

Turrametta Head is also producing a few. Just cast out onto the sand, like South Curl Curl and The Ovens at South Whale Headland.

Remember that kings are a pelagic species and will turn up and disappear from day to day. Angling and pro pressures, as much as change of current, will determine where the fish will be.

Dolphins have been a problem as well, as well as divers. So try and avoid areas that are frequently used for activities that may deter the kings on the day. It pays to have a plan B or C up your sleeve. Getting there early and having a pod of dolphins or jet skis ripping up the water is not the end of your day; pack up and go to option B. I have had plenty of cracking days on the kings late morning and the middle of the day. Only problem is the heat!

White 9” Slap Sticks are working well, along with live yellowtail suspended between 2-5m under a float. Metals are taking a few fish too, with the 75-125g Knights with the blue strip catching their share.

The snapper fishing is continuing with fish to 1.5kg caught in the washes. Bycatches can include kings to 68cm and bream to 850g. Bonito and salmon are often caught as well, sometimes more than the snapper!

To get the most out of your session try using either 6-8kg braid or mono to maximise enjoyment. Feeling that tell-tale rod-buckling bite then see the snapper bounce with those beautiful red and blue speckles is always exciting.

As I have mentioned on numerous occasions use a hook that is going to be suitable for an over-legal to larger snapper. A 3/0 in the 92247 or 92554 are both strong hooks that will handle the crunching jaws of a good red but will not be too small to gut or gill hook unnecessarily an under-sized fish; using even a 2/0 can be detrimental to an under-sized fish.

If using bait, try whole and half pilchards, large prawns, like the banana or endeavour prawn, bottle squid or squid strips. Bear in mind that it will be worth your while having two to three types of bait.

Distance casting is also producing at spots like Freshwater Headland, Flat Rock at South Curl Curl and Mona Vale pool. The washes at Bluefish, Freshwater, Dee Why and North Avalon are also worth a try.

Bream fishing at this time of the year is pretty good. There are a few good fish off South Curl Curl pool, off the pool at Dee Why, a spot often over-looked, the evergreen Long Reef shallows and Barrenjoey Rocks on the north face. Pink nippers, pilchard fillets and Hawkesbury prawns are working well. Half pillies are a reliable bait as well.

Berley is OK, however in the shallows, like Long Reef, it can be detrimental.

Move around and fish very light sinkers. In the deeper washes fish a 5-6kg outfit and in the shallows fish a 2-3kg outfit. The typical bycatch is pigs, groper and some late season trevally. Luderick are also showing up in the catches.

Rock fishing

Beach fishing can be perplexing to say the least! The underwater desert of sand appears to lack structure, unlike estuary or rock fishing.

It is easy to describe a beach gutter: white water to the left, white water to the right and an unbroken wave in the middle. Try and pick that same hole when the seas are up or when they are flat or in between sets, or during a set, or at low tide or when it is mid or high tide. Hmm…I told you it was a bit confusing.

If you’re having problems, it is probably best to hire a professional guide who can steer you in the right direction.

Rob Marich (one of my regular charter clients) has been catching some great whiting up to 40cm off Manly Beach. We catch the worms beforehand. North Steyne Surf Club to Queenscliff pool is also producing some good bags.

Manly Beach is a crowded beach; locals and tourists surf it hard with plenty of revellers body surfing as well. Just remember that it is a reasonable size beach so move to the next hole. There are whiting, bream and flathead being caught in most gutters. A local caught a decent mulloway to 8kg recently on live yellowtail on this beach.

Dee Why has been producing some good whiting and bream. Collaroy and the Pines North have been producing. These can be kelpie beaches so look before you commit!

December and January are good for a whopping mulloway off the beach. Popular choices of bait have been live tailor (make sure they meet the legal minimum size of 30cm), whole squid, large live yellowtail and mullet. Large hooks from 8/0 to 10/0 in the Mustad Reds are great. Bronze and dusky whaler sharks will be one of the main by-catches. Remember that big baits mean big fish. The school size mulloway will be deterred from biting these large live baits.

This is just some of what is happening on the beaches and rocks. Remember, don’t twiddle your thumbs contemplating a fish. Get out there and have a crack at it as much as possible, and be the person who catches that prize fish instead of reading about it. Just do it!

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