We have a number of boat ramps in the southern Sydney area, and at one time or another I have used each one of them. One of my pet peeves is boaters that either don’t know how to use ramps, or couldn’t give a stuff about anyone else who uses them.
Now don’t get me wrong, I would say that well over 95 per cent of boating anglers know how to launch and retrieve and use a boat ramp efficiently, but some clearly don’t.
I know it’s been done before, but I thought I would put boat ramp etiquette out there again, so before I give you a rundown on what fishing to expect over the month of March, here are my top 7 don’ts at boat ramps:
1. Do not back your boat down to near the water’s edge and then proceed to take the tie down straps off, unload your fishing gear from the car, put your petrol tank in the boat and then connect it. Do it while you are waiting in the queue. I don’t care if there is no one else at the ramp. Somebody may come down to use it while you are doing all of this.
2. When have put the boat back onto the trailer, drive away from the boat ramp before tying your boat or anything else. Just don’t drive to the turning area where it has a sign saying NO STANDING and proceed to do it, making it impossible for anyone else to use the ramp.
3. If you have never backed a boat trailer down a ramp before, go somewhere else and practice how to do it first. That’s how I taught my kids to do it and they have no trouble at all. This way the trailer doesn’t end up diagonally across the ramp, making it impossible for anyone else to use it.
4. When backing the boat down the ramp in the dark, turn off your lights. If you haven’t realised before, it makes it near on impossible for someone else to back their boat down, as they can’t see, no matter how good their eyesight is.
5. Don’t jump the queue. Wait your turn, or if other boaters in front of you are preparing their boat to launch and they still have a lot to do, you could politely ask them if it is okay to jump ahead. I have had plenty of other boaters just wave me around.
6. Don’t drive your boat up at 5000km/h, creating a huge wave. I was at a ramp when this happened and it knocked a boat off a guy’s trailer and onto the guards. I then had to help him get the boat off and reposition it on the trailer. As he walked past, the guy who caused it said, “Don’t you know how to retrieve a boat?” The old guy who owned the boat rightly gave him a gob full.
7. After having retrieved your boat and cleaning your fish, don’t throw the frames on the end of the ramp. Throw them into the water beside the ramp.
Okay, now that I have got that off my chest, it’s down to what should be happening over the next month. Bream, flathead and whiting will be on the chew in the Georges River at places like The Moons, Picnic Point, Georges River State National Park, the Como, Tom Uglys and Captain Cook bridges, and over the cockle beds near Dolls Point.
Further upstream, the M5 and Milperra Bridge pylons would be worth a shot for a mulloway or 2 with blades and soft plastics. You could also try here for bream and flathead with either baits or lures. Chipping Norton Lakes will be worth a throw for bream, luderick, and the odd bass and perch.
In Botany Bay, you could anchor up at the end of the first and third runways for bream, whiting, flathead and trevally. Remember to have a steady stream of berley out the back. Trevally Alley on the run-out tide will produce trevally, bream, the odd flathead, and a few kingfish. Just remember to berley and fish as light as the conditions will allow.
Try anchoring up on the outside of the drums and off the oil wharf and live baiting for kingfish. While you are waiting for the livies to go off, put a bait out for trevally, bream and tarwhine.
Lure anglers should find trevally, tarwhine and bream over the flats off Towra and Silver Beach. I would also have a squid jig handy while fishing here, as you will encounter the odd inker or two.
The beaches off Cronulla through to Boat Harbour will start to fire on the whiting, bream, tailor and salmon side of things. For the salmon and tailor, use either whole pilchards or garfish for bait. Throw in a few metals/slugs to get that extra distance if needed. For the bream, whiting and flathead, you can’t go past pink nippers, beach and bloodworms.
Off the rocks throughout the Royal National Park, you will see an increase in bream, trevally, luderick, drummer, groper, tailor and salmon. Places to try are Garie and Wattamolla. The point at Kurnell would also be worth a shot.
Now that the crowds have died down on Port Hacking, chase flathead and squid up and down the main channel, and bream in the deeper sections of Yowie and Burraneer bays. Luderick will start to show up along the stretch known as the Ballast Heap. For land-based anglers, Gunnamatta, Gymea and Lilli Pilli Baths are good for bream, whiting, flathead, flounder and squid.
Remember your boat ramp etiquette when using ramps.
It took Andrew and your columnist nearly 2 hours to get 4 squid to use as troll bait for kings.
After about an hour of trolling, Andrew was falling asleep while waiting for a kingfish to take one of the squid we spent 2 hours catching.Reads: 737