The rocks are a rockin’
  |  First Published: January 2015

Let’s start off with the estuary rock fishing in Sydney Harbour this month. Reports of kings up to the metre mark are coming in from some of the deepwater ledges. Middle Head has been producing a few for my clients, as well as Georges Heights. Further north at Dobroyd Head, along the front is also fishing well on some days.

The ever-reliable 2oz Jet Popper from Williamson, either in the green or blue, is working okay. If you can catch a squid in the early hours of the morning and suspend it under a float or balloon at a depth of 2-6m, it will work a treat!

Further up the harbour, the locals are catching a few at Pier 2 near Dawes Point. Prepare yourself for the crowds though. Squid and live yellowtail can be obtained on-site. The other locations I mentioned are far less crowded.

On the bream front, Balls Head about 50m from the south east point, is producing fish, with the occasional whopper up to 44cm. Hawkesbury prawns, bloodworms and mullet fillets are accounting for some good specimens. Don’t expect numbers though. Use a 1/0 hook as a minimum to beat the hordes of tiny snapper. They can be released generally unharmed because of the much higher percentage of mouth-hooked fish.

Okay, to the ocean rocks. A report of a 57cm snapper and kings, although smallish, were on one day and gone the next. That was from Little Bluey at Manly. Unfortunately, spearfishermen can be a problem there.

I received a report of a mammoth 33kg king caught from the northern beaches’ rocks. That would have to be the largest I have ever heard of off up this way! Back in the 1990s I caught one of 26kg spinning a salted sea gar on my 7” Alvey, but that king is substantially larger! Congratulations to the gun angler, an amazing fish and truly a once in a lifetime catch!

There are some kings from Bluefish Point, South Curl Curl’s Flat Rock, North Curl Curl, and a few snapper to over 40cm from Bangally Head casting 70-90m out near the northern point. A 4-5oz snapper sinker is required. Salted slimy mackerel fillets, squid strips and yellowtail fillets are working well. Another spot worth a distance cast for snapper is North Curl Curl.

The samsonfish is a relatively common catch in the washes or distance casting at this time of the year. They are generally juveniles around 35-50cm, but they put up a great fight, especially when you catch them in the wash zone with light 5-7kg outfits. Spots like Dee Why, South Curl Curl and North Harbour are likely haunts for this species. Over the years I have caught up to 10 in an outing, which is exceptional.

I spoke to a reliable source that does not want to elaborate about the details, but at a rock location he was fishing there was a 10x10m circle of samsons going nuts on a baitball. He caught 20 from 35 to 50cm, a very impressive haul for Sydney waters. All but two fish were kept for the table, the rest released.

The bream are on the chew this month. Good catches from 4-10 fish are coming from the shallow and deep water headlands. Starting at Bluefish, they’re along the eastern front, being caught on red crabs either fished whole or in segments. Half pillies and good quality school prawns are working too. South Curl Curl’s Flat Rock and a little north of off the swimming pool are producing nice bags of bream. At Long Reef, wading the shallows at high tide is a really pleasant way to catch a feed and one of the safest rock fishing alternatives you can get. Bags of 2-8 fish are relatively common. Throw a few luderick and the occasional pig in the bag for variety. Peeled Endeavour or whole school prawns, and half pillies, are working the best.

Barrenjoey Head, although a relatively long walk in, is worth it with some bag limits (10 per person) and a couple of 1kg fish caught.

All the beaches from Manly to Palm Beach are producing some sort of quality fish. Starting at Palm Beach, in the evenings the tailor are biting in the gutters from Black Rock north. If the gutters are not available, cast out wide onto the outer edge of the first wave break and you will still manage a few tailor. Otherwise, if the nor’ east wind is howling, fish the gutter parallel to Barrenjoey at the northernmost end of the beach. The whiting have been an off and on proposition and you’ll have to fish the right gutters at the right stage of the tide. The deep ones fire during the low tide period and the shallower ones towards the top. Some great breaming is available as well, especially in the evenings.

Bilgola Beach is home to a few whiting and big bream. Kelp can be a problem, so ideally fish it when there is a bit of light, just after dawn, to identify where it is. Otherwise, the late afternoon early evening highs are fishing well too. At Newport Beach, there was a report of an 8kg mulloway, with bronze whaler sharks to about 1.2m on the same night high. Bream, whiting and dart are there also. The northern side of the beach is fishing well.

North Narrabeen Beach has tailor from the entrance of the lagoon to South Narrabeen Surf Club, whiting on the same stretch, with patches of big dart also. Collaroy, from the re-built stormwater pipe to Weatherill Street is producing bream, whiting, tailor and some salmon. Right up next to the pipe on a big tide, the bream are hanging around the side.

Dee Why Beach, especially around the Collaroy side near the Long Reef Surf Life Saving Club, is producing a few good whiting to 40cm. Moving around is the name of the game though. When the wind is around 20 knots and the seas are flat, it is a popular beach for kite surfers. When they are ripping up the water well within casting distance, it is advisable to pack up and move to the less popular southern end of the beach.

Tailor and bream are in reasonable quantities. Freshwater Beach is a great sneaky retreat to get away from the crowds. It is only a small beach, but it is currently producing some good bream and tailor in the evenings. Avoid fishing it when the swell exceeds a metre.

Off Manly Beach, there are reasonable quantities of whiting, with some good bream thrown in. Chopper tailor are there just before and around dark, with the better run of tailor well into the evening. Sharks are about in reasonable quantities lately. They are a lot of fun and even though anglers are pursuing the mighty mulloway, they pull harder pound for pound anyway. For the tailor, try ganged pillies and harbour yellowtail, live beach, tube and bloodworms for the whiting, and for the mulloway and sharks, live yellowtail, whiting, mullet and whole squid or strips.

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