As we head into ‘proper’ winter conditions, the water temp is still OK for a few sub-temperate species like mulloway and kings for the next few weeks at least. Whenever the air temperature is consistently cool, the rock and beach anglers seem to be deterred from fishing for these species.
Some of the largest kings are marauding the close-in reefs and deepwater headlands this month feeding on the migration of mullet and tailor heading up the coast. If you’d like to tangle with a large king you’ll want a sturdy 3m+ rod with minimum of 24kg mono or braid. Get a sizable live mullet or tailor of up to 0.75kg or so. A larger bait of up to 1.3kg is OK but you will generally miss out on the smaller kings of between 10-15kg.
A weighted torpedo float is a good option, not so much for flotation but to indicate where the livebait is heading so you can avoid getting in the way of other anglers who fish the same deepwater ledges. Large livebaits do a lot of swimming so it pays to know that your livebait is not crossing other anglers’ lines. If you can spin up the best live bait for a whopper king – frigate mackerel – you will soon realize how much water a live bait can cover.
When it comes to other baits, a live large squid is very hard to beat. You can also use XL salted or unsalted sea gars, and large poppers also work well. Try the Inner Ovens at South Whale Headland, North and South Curl Curl, Bluefish point and The Hat.
The rock blackfish are on lately with some great bags on the northern suburb rocks. Clients have caught some great fish to near 3kg with some reports of even larger fish by the locals. Most of the pigs are in the 0.75-1.4kg size range. They’re beautiful tucker around that weight. I encourage releasing the big pigs because they are generally the breeders, and their flesh is tougher anyway when they’re 3kg+ (according to Fisheries research a 3.5kg fish can be over 50 years old). Fresh white slice bread has been accounting for some good fish, and it can be a fun, visual experience. When berleying up with bread you get some floating bits that drift around, and it’s exhilarating watching luderick, bream and especially big pigs belting the bread on the surface.
Peeled large prawns like the Endeavour or banana prawns are working great. When you can get them the wild tiger or king prawns work just as well, but are generally cost a bit more. A small foam float about the width of a 20¢ piece and about 2cm long is OK for most float situations or a running sinker straight to a double or triple strength No. 1 to 2/0 Mustad hook. Some locations that are producing are Barrenjoey Head on the northern face, Bangally Head from the main ledge to St Michaels cave, Long Reef from Snapper Rock to the Island, and Little Bluey south of Shelly Headland from the beginning of the ledge to the third square ledge. Remember that these ledges should not be fished if the waves are steep and large, and take into account that you may be entering during the lower part of the tide and exiting during the higher part of the tide. On the sandstone ledges of Sydney always wear your steel spike boots, cleats or stretch on spikes.
The beaches have some great whiting with some nice bream mixed in. Manly Beach has been a good producer with some fish up to 41cm. I had a few good outings in a row with whiting from 34-41cm but they seem to have moved on. Chances are they will reappear though. There are patches of fish from 28-35cm, and you should move around and fish light sinkers so your bait doesn’t look unusual to the whiting when your bait is drifting.
Some of the trips I conduct involve not just a whiting fish but a whiting/beach worming option. Observing a client getting so engrossed in catching these fascinating creatures is great to see. It never ceases to amaze me to speak to local revellers and surfers who don’t have a clue that there are beach worms available! I recently caught a slimy worm of about 2m long. They are nowhere near as common as the stumpy worm, which is generally a lot thicker, but generally about half the length. Clients often catch their first beach worm on the first outing by using their fingers, which is harder than using pliers. Using your fingers is far less damaging to the worm so it will live a lot longer.
Other beaches that are producing are Curl Curl, Dee Why towards the northern end, Bungan Beach, Newport and Mid Palm Beach. Often when you have time out to go for a fish the high tides are either towards the very late morning or early arvo, or the seas may appear to be too large for your favourite spot. In both these cases fishing the low tide period has produced some great bags of whiting recently and during a sizable swell of up to 2m. Find a fairly deep low tide gutter/hole and surprise yourself. That will allow you to catch more fish and discard the common misconception that it has to be either fairly early morning or an early evening high tide.
Some good reports of mulloway to 10kg are coming off our beaches. June can be a good month for them, providing the water temp doesn’t drop too much. Generally the water temp drop is attributed to a westerly and clear calm conditions.
The mulloway’s food sauce is still available in the surf. Small dart, mullet and whiting will keep them interested, so have a crack at them. I like to use live bait like yellowtail or mullet; catching them is often far easier than catching slimy mackerel or even squid. Obviously the fresh squid option is always worth pursuing when you can get them.
Until next month remember to rug up, be organized and enjoy the month of June. It has options that will surprise you!
For rock and beach guided fishing or tuition in the northern Sydney region, visit www.bellissimocharters.com, email --e-mail address hidden-- or call Alex Bellissimo on 0408 283 616.Reads: 826