Be prepared for anything
  |  First Published: July 2014

It is now the peak cold month of winter, but if the water temp stays up above 19ºC the kings will still be available. Perhaps not in the numbers that they were in previous months, but still a viable proposition.

The 2oz Rapala Jet popper is a great lure, and there have been some reasonable kings caught on them of late. The poppers work really well when there are surface bait fish around, and the visual experience is something every king angler should try out.

A variety of methods are advisable when you don’t know what’s going on. If you’re fishing your spinning/live bait ledge on a day when the kings are eating garfish, and you don’t have any gars on you, you will want to kick yourself. You should always arm yourself with a variety of baits and lures. Have your stickbaits, poppers, metals, live bait and salted or fresh sea gars. Perhaps throw in a minnow as well. There are more options you can include but that should cover most circumstances.

North Whale rocks have been producing along with South Whale (also known as the Ovens). There are a few tailor in the dark with salmon during the day. It pays to have a few lures because the salmon and gar problem can become quite expensive. Garfish cost around $15 per kg at this time of the year and you can go through them quickly. Change to a lure until they move on.

Another location that has produced is North Narrabeen headland point in front of the pool. A couple of legal and better fish have been spun up on 85g SureCatch Knights. There is a bad ledge in front there about 10-15m out so have a 15kg outfit just in case. It’s a great tailor spinning spot as well. Other spots include north and south Curl Curl, Bluefish Point and in the harbour for the land-based angler, try Middle Head.

Chasing snapper can be a great proposition in July. Some good fish from that 33-48cm range are being caught distance casting the sand, reef edges and gravel type bottom at a distance of about 50 to 100m. If you can get that extra 20m it can make the difference. In some areas the bottom terrain has ledges, cracks and boulders in closer so it is necessary to get out to the flat ledge, sand and gravel bottom. Locations that are producing are: North Whale headland point for trevally, bream and snapper; Bangally head near St Michaels cave for mostly snapper and some trevally; Narrabeen Point in front of the pool for bream and some snapper; Dee Why for snapper; and south Curl Curl for snapper, trevally, bream and salmon.

Fresh is best, but fresh baits aren’t the only ones that work. A firm bait is necessary because of the swarms of yellowtail, mado and sweep that will evaporate your bait in under two minutes. By all means take your fresh softer baits, but if that’s a waste of time on the day try salted baits like salted slimy mackerel, salted tuna, cuttlefish strips and candles and squid strips. Fish the early morning and late afternoon periods.

Salmon are on the chew consistently at the moment with all the above locations producing. I like to get the most out of any species. Have a spin with 2-3kg braid or mono with a 15-25g Sniper or Knight metal for a barrel of laughs. A 3kg salmon can really strip line off your 2000 or 3000 size reel (I use a Daiwa Ballistic). Expect other species like trevally to take these small metals.

Speaking of trevally, they are really on the chew this month. Half pillies, peeled prawns or fillets of tuna or mackerel are great baits. If you mix some of your bait with bread for berley, and fish with small sinkers in a white water wash, you’ll get of the best sashimi you will ever eat. If you are lucky enough to get into the larger trevally from 1.3kg 1.5kg as a sportfish hard to beat for their size. I prefer to release the larger fish and keep the smaller more succulent trevs (up to 0.9kg) for the plate.

Plenty of rock blackfish have been caught on the right days and tides. A lower light period high tide either early in the morning or late in the afternoon has been producing pigs to 2.5kg from the Hat near the old Quarantine in Manly, Little Bluey Manly, Dee Why, South Avalon and Barrenjoey Head. White sliced bread, peeled prawns (the larger, firmer varieties like Endeavour, banana, or wild tiger prawns) and pink nippers (which are worth a trip to pump in the estuary low tide sand flats) are dynamite baits for the pigs.


On the sand anglers are still getting some nice catches of whiting. It seems they have not moved on yet, but traditionally they thin out by mid to late July. Salmon like to pick up the worm baits meant for a whiting and it’s great to see my clients surprised when they hook up on a sizable sambo as it leaps around and peels the light line off the reel.

Some nice whiting up to 42cm are still part of some bags. A few flathead are picking up the worm baits as well, although they’re only smallish fish up to 45cm. Flatties also picking up the Zerek Live Cherabin soft plastic prawn in the 12g and 25g sizes, and these are better fish to 60cm. It seems Dee Why has the best quantities of late when the kelp is minimal.

Manly is a reliable beach also but the surfers sometimes outnumber the whiting. It’s not uncommon to have 200 surfers on the length of beach, but this shouldn’t deter you from having a fish. Generally the surfers congregate in specific areas, leaving a 50m stretch with only a few.

Salmon are in good numbers off Curl Curl and Bilgolah beaches. Ganged pillies on a set of 3 x 3/0 to 4/0 hooks are generally a reliable choice. The salmon bite well into the night so have a head torch because the bite may start just before dark and continue.

There are reports of some mulloway still coming off the beaches from Manly, Dee Why, Collaroy when the surf is up a bit and a recent report from one at Bilgolah Beach. Live baits and fresh whole squid are recommended.

In summing up, keep an eye on the water temp rather than the often chilly days. Don’t let the weather deter you from having a fish.

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.

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