It’s all starting to happen
  |  First Published: October 2007

Nice to feel those warm rays of the sun on the back again. Besides featuring my birthday, October is when it all starts to happen and we see a swing to Summer fish as water temperatures begin to creep northwards.

One place that gets warm quicker than most is shallow Narrabeen Lake. This incredible fishery produces year after year, even though it’s surrounded by houses and has 24/7 urban pressure from run-off, pollution and degradation.

I love chucking soft plastics, hard minnows and flies at the resident bream, flathead and large fan-tailed mullet that abound in the lake. Catching those mullet on light fly tackle really is a buzz.

Wading around, an hour can easily turn into six and many a time I have been in trouble as the speeds by as I flick lures or flies along the shallow banks and catching and releasing fish.

There are those who want the lake dredged to make it deeper but it has always been a shallow lagoon. There are pre-war pictures of aircraft landing on shallow flats in the middle of the lake.

Leave it as it is! We have seen the effects of trying to better Mother Nature and it’s never worked. The western basin in the lake still has deep, de-oxygenated holes where nothing lives after the last dredging fiasco.

West Head has been the site for a slimy mackerel invasion. I now have a few ice cream containers of frozen fillets of this wonderful bait fish. Pinned and sent down deep, a slimy is like a Tim Tam to kings and jewfish.

The northern side of Lion Island still holds the title of ‘Shark Alley’. If you wet a live bait there, it’s odds on you will get connected to a hammerhead or whaler. These are usually not big, maybe around a metre, but there are plenty of them. They’re great for taking home to feed friends and neighbours. Remember to use wire down the business end because the fight will be short and sweet with just mono.

Other than that, it’s been a bit quiet with flat seas, then winds and little activity overall. Some fishos have struck action, especially the snapper boys and most of the fun has been at Long Reef. Further north it’s been nothing but hard work.

Tailor have made a few happy at Newport Reef and around the Manly Bommie. Close in to the turmoil at West Reef has also been productive.

Steve Bowler and Dave Penman fished wide of North Head for a mixed bag of snapper, silver trevally and red rock cod. Rock cod is high on the Penman diet and Dave likes a good feed of these ugly little critters.

I hoped by now the yellowfin tuna would be as thick as my mother’s gravy. This time last year they were everywhere. Maybe it’s a very late season and they’ll come on in the next few weeks.


Those pigs (rock blackfish, to quote their proper name) have been willing to take cunjevoi and abalone gut baits. A mate scored three undersize fish from Curl Curl rocks and also reported big luderick coming up and investigating his bread berley.

When the seas have been as flat as an ironing board, the beaches have produced zilch. We need a good stir and then those salmon and tailor will be back exploring beach gutters.

As I write, Pittwater is as dead as a dodo. Even the reliable john dory have gone AWOL. My guess is it’s too clear. Squid are everywhere so if it’s bait you want or just a feed of calamari, now’s the time.

Don’t you just love those mullet? They make great sport and I have had real fun on these fighters with bread dough. You wade out to around knee-deep and then chuck clumps of bread about. Not too long and the mullet will start competing for the floating crusts. Just a blob of bread on a hook suspended under a small float will get you action.

As fishos and boaties we sure do get ripped off by governments. We pay through the nose for fishing licences, trailer regos, boat regos, fuel tax, GST on tackle and what do we get back? Hardly a cracker.

We’re an easy target when State and Federal pollies need a kick in the kitty. We anglers are by nature an apathetic bunch so the bureaucrats know we won’t squeal too loudly when they extract a few more dollars from our charitable pockets. I believe there is more to come. End of whinge.

Monthly Tip: Hands up all those who keep a diary recording all fishing trips? If you do you will now have a fantastic personal record of what bites when. A diary gives some direction on where to go at this time of the year. If you don’t record each trip with tides, moon, weather, barometric pressure, fish caught, bait used, etc, start now.

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