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Berley for best results
  |  First Published: July 2015



Even though the water temperature has cooled down plenty, the fishing around Sydney remains quite good. Australian salmon, tailor, bream, silver trevally, snapper, drummer and luderick will be the targeted species off the rocks. Bream, silver trevally, John dory and luderick will be the targeted species in the bays and estuaries. Due to the clear conditions experienced this month, unless we get a lot of rain you will need to make sure that you have a steady stream of berley going.

So what’s in a good berley?

It could be a number of things. It will just depend on what you are going to target. To give you a bit of a start, I am going to list the different berley combinations that I use and the fish species I am targeting.

Luderick and drummer off the rocks

In a 20l bucket you will need to put I about 2l of salt water. Then place about 4-5 loaves of white bread into it to soak for a while. You will need to chop up about 3 handfuls of green cabbage, which you will add to the bread mixture and mix in so that the chopped up cabbage is blended. Add about a kilo of dried sand until the mixture is now of a moist, but not runny or dry consistency. Mould the mixture into lumps around the size of a tennis ball, so when you throw it, it doesn’t break up as it goes through the air.

Bream and trevally off the rocks

Once again you will need about a 20l bucket to which you will add about 4-5 loaves of white bread. Add in salt water to bring it to a not runny consistency. This is where you add chopped up leftover old pilchards, tuna fillets, whitebait, mullet and prawns that you would have normally been thrown away after a fishing session. This mixture is made up so that you can throw out berley bombs the size of tennis balls.

Salmon, tailor and snapper off the rocks

What I prefer to do is put a block of pilchards into an onion bag, which is then placed into a keeper net with a long rope tied to it. Once the pilchards are in the bags, I will tie off the end and then stomp on it to smash the bait up. Once this is done, I lower it into the water or wash and let the ingredients slowly leech out.

To add to this berley I will have previously chopped about half a block of pilchards into about 4-5 pieces. These will then be thrown into the water at rate of about 4 pieces every 3 minutes. That is until the fish start biting, then I would ease off to a rate of about 2 pieces every 5 minutes.

Luderick in the rivers, creeks and bays

Find some semi-dried sand and dig a hole the size of about 1 ½ 20l buckets. Finely chop up 2 handfuls of green weed. You could add some green cabbage as well, especially if you are fishing around the entrance where the river/creek meets the ocean. Then you will need to through about 2-3 loaves of sliced white bread. Then you will add the dry sand back into the hole and thoroughly mix it together.

Once this is done, you will then need to put the mixture into a bucket. I usually find that I need 2 20l buckets of berley for 1 session while fishing in the estuaries. Whether you are fishing out of an anchored boat or off the shore, you will not have to throw the berley too far. Most times you will only need to drop it into the water and let the current do the job.

Bream and silver trevally in the rivers, creeks and bays

I try to keep it as simple as possible when using berley for bream and trevally in the estuaries. All you need is chicken layer pellets, a bit of white bread and smashed up pilchards. Once mixed up in a 20l bucket, you will only need to throw out a couple of handfuls every 3 minutes to start with. Once the fish have been attracted to your bait, you will need to ease back to about every 5-6 minutes. Just remember, you are trying to attract the fish, not feed them.

Sometimes I just take a 20l bucket of chicken layer pellets and throw out a couple of handfuls every 5 minutes or so. It the current is running a bit too fast and it’s carrying the berley away, I will 3/4 fill a metal berley bucket and lower it down the water column. For example, if I am in 6m, I will lower it down to 2m.

So what’s biting?

Bream, silver trevally and whiting will be schooling up in the deeper section of Botany Bay and Port Hacking, and this is where the berley will come into its own, so I would suggest that you go to the effort and make up some, as it will increase your chances of taking home a feed.

Places to try would be the end of the third runway, Trevally Alley, Yarra Bay Fisheries Reef, Watts Reef, the Oil Wharf and Towra Wide. If there are westerly winds blowing, try along the beach from Dolls Point to the entrance to the Cooks River. Luderick should have shown up by now at the base of the Captain Cook and Toms Uglys bridges, the entrance to the Cooks River, Bare Island and Sutherland Point.

Further up in the Georges River you could try from Lugarno to Picnic Pint for bream and luderick. If the water is fairly clear, you may have the odd salmon come past.

Port Hacking will have heaps of luderick feeding over the ribbon weed beds and along the rocky shoreline. For land-based anglers, try the baths at Gunnamatta, Gymea and Lilli Pilli. For those with a boat, try Deer Park, South West and North West arms, the Ballast Heap and Jibbon Point.

Most of the beaches along the coast will have a few whiting and trevally mixed in with the bream. If it was up to me I would take along a few pilchards with my beach or bloodworms, and have a second rod out for tailor, salmon and the odd mulloway that will also be feeding in the gutters. Also don’t forget to take along a few squid jigs as the squid will be out and about.

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