July for jewies
  |  First Published: July 2014

Botany Bay is going through a transition period where the water temps still haven’t dropped to the desired level. The weather during June was very mild, resulting in the winter species like trevally, tailor and others running fairly late. As I write this, the water temp is still 18ºC in the bay which is unheard of, but that may have changed by the time you read this.

In recent weeks Bare Island has been the pick of the spots for luderick. The eastern side of the island has been fishing particularly well, with fish up to 42cm being taken. Just make sure you take your own weed as there is none available on-site. Places where you’re likely to find weed are Kelso Park, Muddy Creek and near the sailing club at Yarra Bay.

You can also pick up some luderick in Muddy Creek at Kyeemagh; the bridge has been the prime spot on the top of the tide. It’s been a very popular location with older locals, who like the fact that it’s easy to access.

The Cooks River break wall has been fishing very well, with tailor and trevally the main species being taken. The best way to catch them has been to fish right on daybreak or dusk on the outgoing tide using unweighted pilchards on ganged hooks.

The bay itself has been fairly quiet. There are still some flathead around but lately they have been only around 40-50cm. Your best chance at a few lizards is to use whitebait fished on a shallow paternoster rig, drifted along the Brighton shoreline about 600m out between Brighton Sands and Ramsgate. Another area that’s been firing well is between Towra Deep and the oil wharf at Kurnell during a northeaster.

Good size bonito have been schooling around the headlands, and they have been taking 4” white squid skirts along the cliff faces on the southern side of the bay from Kurnell to Tabbigai. Don’t let anyone tell you that bonito aren’t good to eat; they’re excellent if smoked with hickory sawdust for 20 minutes.

For bream and pan-size reds look for the manmade trenches in the bay, especially the one going from Kurnell to Cooks River. The trenches can be quite easily located with good GPS map software. I recommend focusing your efforts on the rising tide using a 2-4kg, 2.1m rod soft tip with a size 4000 reel, 4kg line, 2kg leader of at least 1.8m long, and a size 2 hook. Don’t hold the rod in your hand. Set it in the rod holder, make sure the drag is set loosely and let the fish hook themselves. Resist the urge to strike – just let the fish take it, and when he stops running you simply lift the rod up and enjoy the tussle.

The artificial reefs come into their own at this time of year. There are three in Yarra Bay: one in Astrolabe Cove and two in Congwong Bay. These are the places where bait schools tend to congregate, attracting big tailor, trevally and mulloway. That’s my pick for anyone going out in the bay. The idea is to enter close to the reefs and berley hard with chopped up pilchards, wheat, pollard and the like, and keep the fish around. Use unweighted live nippers or live prawns cast into the berley trial.


July is the best month of the year to fish in the Georges River for mulloway, and the big sand whiting as well. Make sure you fish the right kind of bottom, i.e. contours, cockle beds, deep holes and drop-offs. That’s where you’ll find the fish.

Anywhere around the bridges you’ll find good size mulloway, which become very aggressive at this time of year. The jewies chase the schools of mullet right up until there’s no more water, so naturally mullet is the best bait.

Slack water is best, either high or low tide. Spots I recommend are Tom Uglys bridge on the bottom of the tide, Bald Face Point, Big Moon Point, and under the M5 Freeway. Stick near the lights where the schools of baitfish congregate.

For big winter whiting wear plenty of warm clothing because the best time to catch them in July is at night. Fish the rising tide two or three days prior or after the full moon. A Baitrunner-style reel is best because it lets the whiting pick up the bait and run with it without feeling any resistance.

Look for drop-offs where the sand flats drop into the channel on the bottom of the tide, and also deeper cockle beds on the rising tide. These fish are a bit darker than usual because they bury their nose into the mud looking worms and crustaceans, but they taste just as good as lighter coloured whiting. I’ve caught them up to over a kilo in July so there’s no excuse for not getting out and amongst them. As you’d expect, blood worms and squirt worms are the two gun baits.

July is also prime time for luderick. So many of them are being caught in the Georges River it’s not funny (remember that weed is always at a premium there). Luderick can be caught throughout this month, and now is when the bigger fish are caught. You’ll find them along the deep rocky shores covered with weed. Try Blackbutt, Bonnet Bay, Lugarno Reserve, Milperra Bridge, and the reclamation wall in Chipping Norton Lake. You won’t go wrong.

All in all, the message for July is to take plenty of warm clothing and fish the early hours and late afternoons.

For all your fishing needs, as well as the latest info on what’s biting, drop into Gabe’s Boating and Fishing at Narellan (4/1A Somerset Ave), or Silvania (268/264-276 Princes Hwy). You can also call them on (02) 4647 8755 or (02) 9522 5100 respectively, or visit the website at www.gbaf.com.au.
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