The promise of good times
  |  First Published: September 2007

As the days get noticeably longer and we start thinking about Summer, I’m wondering if the large amount of rain in June/July will make a difference to the fishing scene.

Last month for instance, I had a far greater amount of success on snapper than I usually have during Winter. Beaches have produced salmon and tailor as well as some honker bream.

Regular Hawkesbury fishos tell me big dusky flathead, instead of going la-la’s for most of the cold weather, have been are scoffing all the food being transported down the river by the fresh.

Hairtail made a better showing this year with fish taken from all the usual haunts such as Jerusalem and Americas bays and Coal and Candle Creek.

Big swells have kept all but the dedicated rock fishos at home but reports of silver and black drummer come filtering through. So maybe, just maybe, we can count on a good harvest this Summer.

Unlike our Victorian cousins, we tend to put our boats in hibernation until the weather warms up. Down on Port Phillip Bay, they are out in all sorts of weather and you still have to queue at most ramps in single-digit temperatures. Fishing is hard work in the Bay and catching one fish in a session can be good going.

Back home, I still see the hardy souls working the beaches or the popular jetties and wharves. Whiting are still about and I have a mate who fishes Whale and Palm beaches regularly throughout the week and he often drives back home with at least one jewfish in the esky.

All in all, I feel catch rates are up due to the breaking of the drought. If we keep getting good follow-up rain, the fishing scene will benefit and there should be some meritorious catches from our little jewel of the north.


Pan fried in butter, chinamen leatherjackets provide delicious, sweet white meat. They are a bloody pain if you’re after other species because they tend to dominate some areas.

However, you’ll need to have specialised gear to target them because they’ll just chomp through ordinary mono. Best is braid with a nylon-covered wire trace.

The bigger jackets can still nibble through this gear but, in the main, tough terminal tackle will return fish. I prefer a double dropper rig furnished with 1/0 hooks sporting a pilchard head and tail as bait.

Fishing the northern end of Manly Beach, a couple of anglers pulled out a succession of small stingrays and two small spiky flathead on beachworms. When fishable, the Curl Curl rock platforms have seen a smattering of blackfish taken very close to the rocks. There’s plenty of weed there and remember to kick in some as berley.

In the bad weather those desperate to fish went up-river. Parsley Bay ramp at Brooklyn was like Pitt Street recently as anglers braved the chill for mixed bags.

Flathead were seen at the cleaning tables, as were fat bream. It was interesting to also witness whiting taken in Winter near Dangar Island.

A few weeks ago I froze my rear off in Coal and Candle Creek after the last of the hairtail. When the soup ran out, we headed home without even a bite after being monstered by hordes of chopper tailor. Even the live baits were attacked by these kindergarten toothies.

Trying out his new fishing punt, complete with bow-mounted electric motor, Jason Ferretti and mate Jimmy Von Haargester took three flathead and a heap of small tailor on the troll in Narrabeen Lake.

Two anglers scored bream and mullet in Manly Lagoon near the roundabout on home-made pudding dough and 1kg Fireline.

Please let me know if you have been out. Write down what you caught and bait used. Please also tell me if there was no result. I need to know both to give balance to the reports. Don’t be ashamed if there was little or no action. I would love a dollar for the times I have wet a line for no result.

Buying a new boat should be a buzz. You count down the days to delivery and can’t wait to get it on the water. Imagine the first time you took it out it leaked, the motor wouldn’t start, there was a ruptured fuel line, a pedestal seat cracked and the windscreen was not secured properly and you can see why the public are wary of dealers. This is a true story of a family who picked up their boat recently from a Sydney dealer. In the main, most merchants will do all they can to help but there are a few rogues who don’t want to know you as soon as the cheque is cleared.

Monthly Tip: Learn the proper knots to tie. Ordinary knots can weaken line by up to 50%. Get a book or go on the internet to learn to tie basic knots such as blood, loop, dropper, albright and uni knot. These knots retain up to 98% of the breaking strain of the line – important when using spider thread-type tackle.

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