Mixed bags looking good
  |  First Published: May 2007

Dropping temperatures and much-needed rain herald the first touch of Winter’s chill as I type.

A mixed bag of weather can be expected this month, which is also what we can also hope for as far as the fishing goes.

May is a real transitional month when warm water species are still very much on the cards, as are traditional Winter fish like drummer, blackfish, groper and snapper. The standard of fishing this month should be pretty good and I rate May as about the second-best month of the year, just after April. Tailor, jewfish, bream and blackfish are this month’s top picks and these fish shouldn’t be too hard to come by.


The Central Coast beaches are the places to be for a good feed of fresh bream or tailor, with a very good chance of a big jewie after dark. Most deep gutters should hold a few fish but the best bet is to fish beach corners, near shallow patches of reef and rock. This is where the most bream will be lurking as they congregate for spawning.

Top beach corners include the inside of Pelican Point, the northern end of Soldiers Beach, both ends of Catherine Hill Bay Beach but really the whole length of the coast is dotted with exceptional beach corner hot spots.

A little bit of whitewater is essential to get the bream all sparked up to take a bait and prime times to fish are as the tide is rising around dawn and dusk, as well as after dark. As mentioned last month, top baits are salted pillies cut into cubes, strips of bonito, mullet, tailor or pike.

Of course, fresh prawns, pipis, beach worms, cunje and pink nippers also make excellent bream baits but they are prone to being molested by pickers, crabs and other unwanted stuff. The tougher baits like fresh strips of mullet or salted tailor will stay on the hook long enough for a decent bream to find it.

Although braids are very popular these days, I still prefer to fish mono for a lot of beach and rock fishing. Either way, you’ll catch more bream when using lighter, more sensitive gear.

My rig for beach corner bream generally consists of a 4kg line, a No 5 ball sinker, small black swivel, a trace of 4kg mono about 40cm long and a nice sharp No 2 hook.

Remember that all fish aren’t half-way to New Zealand. Sometimes it pays to just lob the bait out only a few metres behind the shore dump.

Bream tend to move around in small groups and a few cast to one area may produce a couple of fish and then go a bit quiet, so then it’s time to cast in a different direction.

Don’t just accept the fact that you aren’t getting any bites. If you want to catch fish you’ll have to keep casting to different spots until you find them.

Try way out, close in, to the left and to the right. If things still aren’t working out, move up or down the beach a bit. If you try hard enough you’ll catch your bream.

Last May there were some good-sized tailor lurking around the beaches and the best way of connecting with them was by casting pillies on ganged hooks after dark. This technique may well result in a jewfish or a few big bream if you’ve got some luck on your side. Salmon will also take the pillies after dark, as will the odd small shark and ray.


Rock fishing should be excellent this month. Bream, tailor, trevally, bonito, frigate mackerel, kings, jewfish, drummer, blackfish and groper are all very likely so there’s plenty of variety on tap.

The only thing that can spoil rock fishing at this time of year is the swell. During late Autumn and early Winter the seas can be dead flat and crystal clear for prolonged periods or hammering the coast with big swells. The rock fisho doesn’t want to see either of these two extremes.

The best fishing will be had with a smallish swell of about a metre. This is nice and safe but produces just enough whitewater around the rocks so that the fish will remain active.

Again, bream should be the most reliable rock target this month with blackfish, drummer and tailor not far behind.

It’s been a good year for bonito and frigate mackerel so there’s a reasonable chance of hooking into these small surface speedsters by high-speed spinning with small metals. The frigates or ‘leadies’ tend to hang around a bit longer than the bonito so places like Terrigal Haven could still be worth going to for another few weeks yet.


Blackfish numbers have been building up in Tuggerah Lakes and over the next few weeks we may see them come on at The Entrance, Toukley Bridge, Budgewoi and San Remo.

Bream, flathead and whiting should also be active through the lakes this month but as the weather cools and the water temperatures drops, flathead and whiting may become a bit more elusive and the bream just a little bit harder to tempt.

The same species will be available to anglers fishing Brisbane Water this month, with the addition of jewfish. May is the time to get into those Brissy Water jewies as they’ll start to become harder to find with the onset of Winter.

Yes, some of the bigger jewfish are caught during the colder months but the smaller schoolies, which make up the bulk of fish caught in this system, aren’t so active.

Silver trevally, tailor, estuary perch and leatherjackets are some other species which you may encounter in Brissy Water this month but for the best results overall I would be trying for bream, blackfish and jewfish.

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