Time for quality mixed bags
  |  First Published: May 2007

May is probably my favourite month. All the Summer fish are feeding up frantically to put on some fat for Winter and some of the Winter fish are starting to make an appearance.

You generally pick up the bigger specimens of most species at this time of year. To top it all off, weather patterns are very stable, making fishing on the lower Harbour a pleasure. And because air temps are starting to cool down, general boat traffic tapers off, giving fishos a bit more space to work.

It’s a time for mixed bags which means working a variety of baits, lures and techniques.

Flatties are firing, as are bream, tailor and kings, so don’t put the lures away yet. In fact, when it comes to bream and flattie luring there is no better time of year.

Trolling minnow-style lures up around Rushcutters Bay will produce whopping tailor. They won’t be obvious on the surface so you will need to use your sounder to find the bait clouds. The tailor won’t be far away and best results will be around sunrise.

Kings will also be sitting deeper so it’s time to add a bit of weight to your stickbaits. Best method is to put a barrel sinker above a swivel ahead of about 1m of mono trace. The marker buoys are still the spots to try but let your lures sink right to the bottom before ripping them back in.

Flatties will be prolific up the backs of the bays around the boat moorings in the lower reaches and, once again, finding the bait clouds will be the key to success. They will be feeding on anchovies so lures like the Tsunami Split Tail Minnow bounced along the bottom under the bait schools should be successful.


Jewies will start to fire now and May to June is peak season for luring up a jew in the upper reaches and around the bridges.

Kings are going nuts on fresh squid baits and this is the time when you are most likely to pick up a jew as a by-catch when chasing kings. Baits for kings are usually suspended somewhere between mid-water and the bottom but I thoroughly recommend putting at least one big squid bait on the bottom to increase your chances of picking up a stray jewfish.

Of course it’s well worth targeting jew specifically now and you will find them around the wrecks, reefs and holes in the upper reaches. Work big squid baits on the bottom and fish the tide changes.

I rarely use live fish baits but at this time of year it’s worth having at least one out with the chance of picking up big flatties, jew, dory, kings or big tailor. You will find a few gar starting to move in and really big kings go nuts for them.

Big bream move down into the channels and holes in the lower Harbour and a few trevally will start to come in so it’s worth having a bit of berley going and a cut bait of pilchard or salted slimy mackerel fished near the bottom.


Award-winning producer Peter Clarke and I have spent the past year shooting our new DVD, Local Knowledge, and by the time you read this it will be in the shops. It’s a well-known fact that of all the variables contributing to fishing success, nothing beats local knowledge and we have gathered together some of NSW’s best anglers in this program.

Highlights include some monumental jewfish captures including a 33kg monster in the river with Jewie Jim Siarakas, a beautiful 21kg fish off the rocks and a 10kg fish on a lure.

There’s some great alternative rock fishing action with rock and beach expert Big Al Bellissimo, massive whiting in the estuary with Mango Ward, detailed instruction on squidding, easy luderick fishing with threadline gear and a revealing look at the mysterious surgeon fish. There is also a bonus PNG black bass segment.

We are pretty happy with the result and Sun Herald fishing columnist Dave Lockwood has described it as ‘an extraordinary DVD by any measure’. The 80-minute DVD will be available in all tackle shops with a RRP of $24.95.

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