Beach fishing – I just can’t kelp myself!
  |  First Published: December 2015

Whether you’re fishing from rock, beach, or estuary, successful land-based fishing comes down to simply having a plan – where you’re going, tides, conditions, and gear, bait and lures to suit. And you can be fishing in a relatively short time without the fuss of a boat to tow, launch, retrieve and clean down after the trip! The service I provide for my clients is an adventure to some remote spots, where they may enjoy the luxury of fishing and catching a decent fish from the shore and also to catch their favourite species at scenic convenient spots throughout Sydney. With the added bonus, of course of learning new techniques to do it all themselves!

December is a great month for virtually all species. Off the ocean rocks the snapper fishing is good with fish to over 55cm reported. There are still a few trevally around, but by late December they’re generally gone. Trevally are traditionally caught during the winter/spring months but the last run is normally about now. The snapper are in the washes with some nice bream and kings thrown in. One of my favourite ways to fish for snapper is to use a consistent berley of chopped up pilchards, bread, and whatever else you’ve got handy. A variety of ball sinkers from 00 to say 2 ball, Mustad 2/0 92247 will suit most size pilchards and will hook species like trevally, snapper, bream, kings, and salmon. 6-10kg line should suit most rock locations and a 3.2m+ rod with a sensitive tip to pair with your favourite 4000 size Daiwa reel or 6-61/2 in Alvey. Don’t forget the necessities – pack a keeper net, steel spike boots, high-vis raincoat, life jacket, and a decent size backpack.

Choose from the dozens of great washes that we have relatively good access to and you have a good chance at any one of these species. I could write much more about the safety concerns of ocean rock fishing. Make sure you maintain caution when battling the blue from the rocks. Try Bluefish, Flat Rock at South Curl Curl, North Curl Curl front ledges, Mona Vale pool front ledge and more.

The kings are also biting this month. I am currently catching them on fresh sea gars in the X/L size – which are ot cheap to purchase! Definitely worth buying a kilo for an outing – can’t argue with results. The 9” white slap sticks and the clear versions with the silver specks work well. They make a good substitute to gars and are fairly long and similar in shape as well. Good kings to 95cm have been reported. The hat near the Quarantine, Bluefish, Curl Curl, and North Whale southeastern point have been producing. In the harbour, Middle Head, and the Grotto have had a few with The Spit producing as well.

The beaches are seeing continual success with the run of mulloway with fish to 9kg landed. Kelp is a problem though, especially on some beaches like Dee Why, Collaroy and Bungan Beach. The others are fairly good with a better chance of less or no kelp. I check out a few beaches beforehand and the dark patches in the waves are a good indicator of kelp. A real pain in the bum when you’re fishing in the dark off a beach and you end up landing a kelp monster! Live baits like the reliable yellowtail can be caught at your local wharf in the harbour and Pitt Water. Chopper tailor are coming in just over legal size of 30-35cm, they are fairly reliable on most beaches this month and they make great large live bait. Spots like Manly, Dee Why, Collaroy/ Narrabeen, Bungan, and Palm Beach have been producing mulloway in the last month or so.

The bream and whiting are in good numbers. Fresh pipes that are often found on a few of our Sydney beaches are working well on big bream from Bungan and Bilgolah beaches. Fish baits like fresh tailor and mullet are taking fish as well. Some of the bream are over a kilo. The whiting are caught on typical baits - pink nippers, beach worms, the ultimate blood worm and if you cannot harvest these, frozen beach worms are a reasonable substitute. A better run of tailor in the evening produces fish to a kilo from Warriewood beach – just be wary of the kelp.

December can be one of the worst months for fishing for regular folk who have too much going on elsewhere before the end of the year. But if you can get out there for a fish this month you will be rewarded!

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