Get into the summer species
  |  First Published: November 2015

As water temps start to get consistently warmer, those warmer water species we long to catch off the rocks, beaches and land-based estuaries are more readily available. For the Sydney region the inshore water temperature is still fluctuating around that 18-20° degree mark, occasionally slightly more, but that should be more consistent by mid-November. Let’s check out what to expect for this month.

The snapper run off the rocks can be great in October, with plate-size reddies and a run of better fish of 45cm+. I like to fish the sudsy white water with a bread berley mix and pilchard, squid strips, and tuna fillets just to name a few varieties of bait. Some good wash and distance casting spots I recommend are Bangally Head on the main ledge, Mona Vale Pool for a distance cast, Dee Why rocks, North Curl Curl and of course Bluefish. Some of these spots have rod holes so you can set your rod for a snapper out wide and fish in the white water so you’re covering all bases!

The kings are on now! This month we can expect good size specimens of 1m+. Having the heavy gear is vital if you want a decent chance of landing these tenacious, hard-fighting fish. It may be necessary to use 24-37kg braid with 80-100lb leader in some situations. For the more experienced angler, a 15-24kg outfit might get you out of trouble.

Finding the eastern sea gar might be a little difficult but they will become easier to catch as the month progresses. Spinning big poppers and minnows works OK but you have to put in the effort. For a more relaxed approach, try catching your own live bait like yellowtail at your local wharf or off the rocks in the early hours of the morning. Live mullet work well providing that they’re large enough.

A light spin outfit with 8kg braid is good for small tuna species, with metals ranging from 15-45g. A live bonito, frigate or tailor up to about 1.3kg, roughly free swimming or under a balloon, works well on the bigger fish. A 0.5kg live bait suits virtually any good size king, ranging from 6kg up to the whoppers.

The big pigs are still on, and that’s thanks to the increase of cabbage weed. Big weed baits suspended under a roughly 10cm foam float at a depth of 1-3m will cover most spots. I recommend using a ball or bean sinker onto the swivel and 30-45cm of leader onto a 2X strong short shank hook like the Mustad 92554 or 540, with 10-15kg mono or braid. Berley up with cabbage weed for better results, and have your endeavour or banana prawns and your bread berley just in case. Try the Hat at Manly’s iconic Quarantine area, Little Bluey also at Manly, Long Reef Collaroy, South and North Whale headlands and Barrenjoey head.

Have you ever gone rock fishing for bream? Mate, they are one of my favourites, especially with light gear. In some situations you have to use 7kg line because of the very rough terrain, and apart from having the heavier line for that reason you may have to wind them up for several metres rather than wash a fish up onto the ledge. For those more user-friendly locations where landing a fish is easier, or in the shallows, 2-4kg line will give you a more satisfying result.

Rock bream fishing also gets you on to other species like snapper, trevally, and tarwhine. And that light line challenge when you hook a big pig, decent groper or a king can be fantastic sport. Pilchard halves, fillets, pink nippers, red crabs, eastern school prawns and more can be used for this species. These baits are the general run-of-the-mill variety for rock anglers. Try Bluefish, South Curl Curl’s Flat Rock, Long reef, North Narrabeen, and Barrenjoey Head.


On the ocean beaches the whiting run is in full acceleration mode, with top bags from most beaches. As always, the best baits for these fussy fish are blood worms and squirt worms. Good alternatives are beach worms and pink nippers, and then after that fresh pipis and small peeled prawns. If you’re desperate you can resort to using skinny strips of squid. They look similar to worms and have accounted for some great fish at times.

As a full time guide/instructor I teach all aspects of rock and beach fishing, and that includes beach worming, and how to catch them by hand without pliers. After that I take my clients for a whiting and bream fish. In all, it’s a very nice way to spend a few hours! The best locations of late, starting from the northern end, are Palm Beach followed by Whale and Avalon beaches, which produce some good bags of whiting and bream. Mona Vale, Warriewood, north to mid Narrabeen, Dee Why and Manly are also good.

Salmon can be a bycatch when whiting fishing, but for better results a ganged pilchard is very effective. A surf popper works well as the lure above your bait. Tie off approximately 20cm of leader on your first swivel, and then the surf popper. Alternatively, a 1/0 and a fillet of pilchard, pipi, or your favourite fish bait is good for a bream. Often the salmon will pick up the small bait rather than the larger whole ganged pilly. Virtually all beaches are doing well. Manly, Curl Curl and North Narrabeen are producing this acrobatic, hard-fighting fish.

It’s a great month for a mulloway! Live bait and the freshest squid are the top baits. Often anglers will overlook a whiting as a live bait, but it’s very effective (just remember that whiting have a legal minimum size of 27cm). The beaches I recommend are Palm Beach, North Narrabeen, Dee Why and Manly.

So get into the summer species like snapper, kings, bream and more off the rocks, and whiting, sharks and mulloway off the beaches. Don’t miss out!

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