Try for a thumper red
  |  First Published: March 2007

Put March down in your diary as a good month – the weather is usually settled and it’s a fantastic time for chasing those wonderful reds with their iridescent blue spots and humped heads.

There are snapper right now at Boultons, Trawleys, Newport, West and East Reefs but the really big fish seem to prefer Long Reef. Further south, areas like the Wrecks at Narrabeen, Northerners and North Head have some smaller fish. Known big snapper haunts such as Long Reef Wide, Good Property, Jurassic Park and October Grounds all cough up large reds so you’ll have to concentrate your efforts there this month if you want to score a 10kg-plus thumper.

There are still some yellowtail kingfish around. Over summer I have had some wonderful tussles with this never-say-die predator. Although the best bait for kings is squid, they will fall to a well-presented live yellowtail fished under a bobby cork, which for some is a lot easier to catch than squid. Pin the yakka just aft of the head in order to keep the bait swimming down into kingfish territory. There are no shades of grey in regards to the take: screaming ratchets will leave you in no doubt and the next move is to strike, hang on and enjoy the ride.

I’m getting reports of success upriver near Marlo, Pumpkin Point, Petes Bight and Wisemans. Flathead are taking deep-diving, hard-bodied lures on the bends of the Hawkesbury River. Look for the flats at low tide, then go back on the make and cast parallel to the drop-offs. Very little has come from the Broken Bay end of the river and it’s been that way for weeks. One angler went home with a couple of whiting that just scraped through the legal size of 27cm after working beach worms at Snapperman Point in Pittwater, It’s been hard to find the yellowtail kingfish; although they are around, they don’t always break the surface, even early in the morning.

Strong winds and raging currents have kept many at home over the past month, with those making the most of a calm day window having to work really hard for a feed. Working out wide from Terrigal, Peter Wall in his game boat The Edge raised a few marlin in a recent trip. Big striped and medium blacks were the order of the day and it was well worth the hard punch home in the gusty sea breeze. Recently, Jun Ocsing and a couple of companions found 21°C water and a strong northerly current at Browns Mountain and the only fish scored was one small yellowfin tuna. They came across a few FADs and trolled lures around them but there was no sign of dolphin fish activity due to a sudden drop in water temperature.

Small tides are the prime time to fish, as the current sweeping baits across the beach is not particularly strong. If you can score live bloodworms you’re well on the way to catching whiting and maybe even a bream from the surf. There’s plenty of frothy water about, as the seas have not flattened out for weeks. Still no reports from the rocks, although I did see an angler pull out a couple of tailor at Flat Rock near Curl Curl.

A live poddy mullet fished just to the left of the Pittwater Road Bridge came up trumps for Neil Emery while fishing with cousin John Rickerson. A 3.5kg flathead found the livebait under a bobby cork and the fish was landed in a net that wasn’t nearly big enough. Throwing soft plastics around the islands off Wimbledon Avenue has encouraged small flathead to play, but chopper tailor are nipping off plastic tails with monotonous regularity.

That sleeping fishery Queenscliff Lagoon always turns up a few surprises. Josh Winterton, a regular at the lagoon, nailed two bream and a mullet on bread dough fished under a bobby cork. He focused on the trees near the golf course and threw in small pellets of bread to get his fish to the zone. Josh also reported seeing some big fish cruising the shallows but as the water was murky he couldn’t identify them.

Monthly tip: After a session with a mate, debrief over a beer or coffee. Think about what you have done, what you could have done, what worked and what didn’t. Record the trip in a diary for future reference with details of location, weather, tides and the moon. This is all part of the learning curve and will help you to become a more successful angler.



Yakkas have proven to be a top kingie bait in Pittwater.


This snapper was taken from a Broken Bay reef on a floated pilchard.

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