Area Report
  |  First Published: January 2016

This month is set to be a scorcher, and temperatures have already soared. Hot days are possibly as much of a discouragement as the freezing winter alternatives. Anglers often make the mistake of attempting to find a utopian day to fish that’s not too cold, sunny, rainy or windy. However, it is much easier to simply fish the conditions faced and put in the work to find what works on those ‘less than perfect’ days.

I was a competition angler for well over a dozen years, and have tried to win the rock and beach section as well as the monthly trophy against rock, beach, estuary and deep-sea anglers. This means I’ve not only competed against fellow rock and beach competitors, but also against the boat division for the monthly trophy. You really have to put in the homework, master precise strategies, and fish when the tides are not good on some of the monthly comp weekends. Again, fish when the conditions are unfavourable, and even though some days when the fishing seems to be insurmountable, I’ve done really well! What I am trying to say is that if I had spent all my time over the last four decades trying to fish only the days with awesome weather, I would not have had the privilege to have caught those great bags of fish, and build my skills. At the same time, everything is calculated, and compromising your safety is not part of it. The more outings you spend not fishing over your lifetime because it’s not perfect, the less opportunity you’ll have to perfect complex techniques!

Snapper and kings are the most popular species off the rocks of late with tailor and salmon in good numbers and bonito making a good show on some days. Bream have also been around in good numbers as well as samsonfish. Snapper are in relatively close in the sudsy white water, and using berley with fish baits like pillies can catch a mix of species. Snapper, samson fish, bonito, kings, bream, salmon and tailor can all be caught occasionally on the same outing. You never know what you’re going to hook next!

The iconic bluefish areas include the first main ledge of Little Bluey, South Curl Curl below the ramp and Flat Rock, Dee Why, South and North Whale Rocks. All the headlands along the Northern beach and eastern suburbs rocks are producing some or all of these species. Pease take into account the dangerous aspects of rock fishing. I can show you how to make your experience a much safer and rewarding time, as some of the spots can only be reached via a dangerous climb and are situated in high energy wave zones. Even though the more summer species are very much sought after, the cooler month species like luderick and rock blackfish are still being caught. Little Bluey, Long reef and Warriewood are producing some nice bags of these species.

I had a big group out fairly recently for a beach worm and whiting expedition. Half of the six-person group caught beach worms. They were hard to catch on the day! The whole group caught quality fish on the outing. Whiting to 36cm, two bream to 38cm, a salmon of approximately 2kg and two sand mullet up to 40cm were all caught on live beach worms from Mona Vale Beach and fish caught from Bungan Beach. Other locations that produce all of these species are Dee Why from the surf club to the pole and the northern section of the beach near the Long Reef Surf Club, South Narrabeen and North Narrabeen Beach, Warriewood, and North Avalon.

The bronze whaler sharks are showing up in good numbers on most beaches in the evening. They are great sport and great tucker as well. The sharks caught get up to about 1.3m with the occasional larger shark and are generally caught while pursuing mulloway. My clients normally just keep the occasional one with the vast majority released. On 8-12kg line they pull harder than a mulloway and are way more prolific. Tailor numbers are on the increase as well. Ganged pillies just before dark will get you onto these succulent fish. When they are small enough, tailor also make great bait. Use legal size to near 40cm to catch sharks and big mulloway. A butterflied tailor or big fillets are choice bait. Manly, Dee Why and North Narrabeen are my top spot picks but you can generally catch these species on any beach in the northern suburbs.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph of this column, try not to fall into the habit of trying to only fish perfect weather days. The fish may bite better, and you will also find that those middle of the day periods that often don’t produce as well, will under cloudy conditions.

Fish smart, fish safe!

• For rock and beach guided fishing or tuition in the northern Sydney region, visit www.bellissimocharters.com, email --e-mail address hidden-- or call Alex Bellissimo on 0408 283 616.
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