Dreams of dory and hairtail
  |  First Published: May 2007

As I flick through my diary for this month, I can’t help but wonder if those hairtail will be a bit more co-operative this year.

Over the past few years, many a Winter sortie to hunt for these enigmas has produced zilch. I can remember that many years ago a bad night’s fishing would produce 10 to 20 fish and on a good night – well, we just left them on the chew.

Usually around the middle of this month, in come those wonderful john dory. I love getting out among the moorings and putting my feet up as I wait for that slow pull on the line and then the bend in the rod as the dory engulfs my live yellowtail.

As we get into Winter I have to bend my back to pump nippers in search of the plentiful bream in Pittwater. Just off the seaplane base or close in at West Head or around the moorings at the entrance to McCarrs Creek are spots for honker fish.

A trace of at least a metre and the lightest of pea sinkers to just hold is the stealthy way to capture these wonderful fish. Don’t forget heaps of berley, including chook pellets, chopped pillies and slivers of squid.

For those who love the lures on bream, I find the hard-bodied variety seem to outstrip soft plastics. Maybe it’s because I resort to diving minnows over plastics as I know they have worked for me in the past.

My good mate Mark tells me the blackfish start to get serious now. He has a constant supply of stringy weed, harvested from one of the stormwater drains in Pittwater. I had to slip bamboo under his fingernails before he would reveal the location!

It’s goodbye to the small chopper tailor and it’s now time for the grown-ups. Bigger fish start to school all over Pittwater and Broken Bay and, being bigger, they need to eat more often and boils happen right through the day.


There have been plenty of stories of kingfish from Northerners, North Head and The Slaughterhouse. Jigging has been taking fish and it’s good to see this method has once again become popular. I remember back in the late 1970s and early ’80s using single-hook Smith’s Jigs at The Peak off Maroubra and getting blown away by some enormous greenbacks.

Recently Greg Greco and his builder mate Paul cut some cunjevoi and put it to very good use off the rocks at Harbord. Two black drummer, four yellowfin bream and a huge silver drummer were the pickings for the day.

Ashley Bluett emailed me to say he has been fishing the middle of Narrabeen Beach for mixed results. Best day was six whiting on live beachworms. He noticed on a couple of days some schools of baitfish with tailor giving them the run-around.

Those fish that look like they have been run over by a steam roller, the tasty flounder, have made a showing on the Lion Island/Flint and Steel drift. Most flounder are taken by the flathead-drifting brigade but the other flatfish are quite common as they haunt the same patches of dirt as their far distant cousins.

Further up the river there’s been the odd small jewfish but nothing to write home about. Fishing off Hallets Beach in the Hawkesbury, one angler was plagued by small soapy jew around 40cm to 50cm. These fish would not leave him alone, taking squid, pilchards and soft Berkley Gulp lures.

Working soft plastics near the Ocean Street bridge, one unnamed angler scored two bream and a whiting, which he carefully returned. As I was driving down Wakehurst Parkway, I saw a chap right out on his own in the lake on the northern side of Deep Creek flicking baits around the large patches of weeds. Has anyone had any reports from Queenscliff, Dee Why or Curly Lagoons?

I really enjoy catching up with fellow fishos at the ramp, beach or just in the street. If you see me, come over for a chat. Love to get acquainted.

Heard a story of a bloke fishing the top end of North Palmy early one evening. He went looking in the dunes for a forked branch or something because he had left his rod holder at home. Pulling aside some scrub, he nearly fell over a couple locked in a very passionate embrace. Making his apologies and hurriedly returning back to his possie, our intrepid angler couldn’t stop the giggles.

Monthly tip: If you are not into fluorocarbon leaders, you’re not using technology to catch fish. This new superline is virtually invisible underwater and gets rid of the spook factor, especially when fishing skinny or very still areas.

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