The Year of the Pig
  |  First Published: September 2007

I’m not sure how much effect coastal flooding improves the fishing in an area long-term but it does. I guess like anything the initial influx of massive volumes of water disrupts the anglers for a few weeks or a month but it seems like the estuary benefits significantly and this has a spillover onto the coastal strip.

I suppose the fish and their numbers also have a cycle where some years are better than others. In 2000 the bream were big and brutal, in 2001 and 2005 the cobia were thicker than anyone with a memory could recall and this year has to be the year of the pig.

I have been alluding to the fact over the past few months but after a concerted effort and extensive in-field study, I can declare the black drummer action has been exceptional.

This month is traditionally the best for pig fishing and if that still holds, it will be a blinder. The average pig has been topping the scales around 2kg to 2.5kg with the odd fish to 4.5kg being exhausted enough to get them above the foam of the wash.

Mostly, though, the bigger fish find the rocks and reef areas and release themselves. The ratio of hook-ups to landings is running at about 60% in favour of the angler in spite of the 10lb Fireline and 16lb to 20lb Sunline FC leader I’ve been using.

Mustad 542 1/0 hooks are a minimum for strength and the bronze style of hook rusts quicker than anything else. Avoid stainless hooks because in spite of what is bandied around, they don’t rust out in a couple of days – they take months and could impede the feeding of lost fish.

Don’t think you need a long rod and a 7” Alvey to fish for the pigs. I often use my bream gear, which consists of a Daiwa Sol 2500 and a G-Loomis Bronzeback when the conditions are right. Mind you, you have to go hard and you will lose more fish.

Most of the time I use a Daiwa Capricorn 4500 on a G-Loomis SUR 1266S rod, which is only 10’6” and the zero stretch of the Fireline intensifies the fight that much more.

There isn’t a headland or rocky outcrop from Blackhead to Seal Rocks that won’t have pigs on it. It may require some moving around until you find the right conditions and tide stage to get a bite but once you crack it, it will be worth the effort.

Drummer are also one of my favourite eating fish. The flesh is white and firm and easily filleted boneless.


Best environmentally-friendly baits are bread and cooked prawns, with local green prawns, yabbies, abalone gut and cunjevoi all working well.

One point to remember is you should never, under any circumstance, use uncooked (green) imported prawns for bait. I have had advice from DPI Fisheries and Biosecurity Australia that the use of uncooked prawns as bait could introduce devastating viruses and diseases to our environment. Apparently the viruses the prawns can carry are harmless to humans. So be aware.

The by-catch when fishing for the pigs has been large bream, dart, luderick and even whiting that have taken a fancy to the baits offered. Luderick to 1.3kg and 42cm whiting have been caught and early morning seasons have been producing tailor and salmon for the spin boys.

The beaches have had some sand moved around after the big seas and the formations have been moving and exposing more rock at the southern ends of Blueys and others. I have heard there has been some sand flathead taken off Elizabeth Beach by a couple of anglers. It is not uncommon to have the sandies close to the beach and headlands but this time of the year is a little peculiar.


The lake is fishing as you would expect at this time of the year, with blackfish and bream being the mainstays.

Leatherjackets are around and from this month on we should see an increase in the numbers of baitfish and associated predator activity.

The chopper tailor are still hanging around the lake with the area near Hells Gate and the channel running back to Wallis Island being a regular haunt. The tailor are generally a by-catch and I don’t know of anyone targeting the fish, but they are there and may be worth a thought.

A few flathead have been turning up but they are generally from the upper section of the lake around the Coolongolook River area. It seem as though the Wallamba River gets just enough rain run-off to keep it a little dirty but from next month it should be worth a look for early bream and some flathead.

Offshore has been good for quality fish with some snapper in the 4kg range coming from the Blackhead area, while those fishing Latitude Rock have been getting out of the wind and finding plenty of tailor and mixed reefies.

As always in the cooler months, the jackets are around and, as I keep saying, are a great feed and easy to catch.

So this month, if you are at all physically capable, have a go around the rocky fringes of our coastline. The fishing has been fantastic and could even improve this month for the mighty pigs. Get in now before global warming ruins everything!

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