I get to speak to a lot of fishers every week, who frequently ask questions like where are the fish biting? What rig do you use? Which lures? Bait? What tides? The list goes on. But one of the most frequently asked questions is ‘what month or months are the best?’
Here is the problem: even though you may be fishing the peak months for whatever species you’re pursuing there are quiet or quieter periods for that species within that month. I remind my clients that we all have bad outings, even during the peak months. I won’t go into explaining how to vastly reduce the risk of not catching your target species, which would take up more than several magazines, but I will say by going out on one of my guiding trips you will get the satisfaction of being much more confident in the future!
Summer is now a memory, but not according to the fish species that we pursue. The water temperature will maintain that balmy 21-23°C. As I have mentioned in the past, every month excites me for one or more species.
The snapper are still in the washes, and there is an added bonus of some nice bream mixed in as well. The 3-5oz snapper sinkers are the most frequently used sinker type for distance casting if the fish are out a bit further. The same weights in a star-type pattern or to a lesser extent nowadays, the spoon, will do just fine.
I prefer the snapper sinker for casting aerodynamics, because of its missile-like shape. The locations that have been producing snapper distance casting are North Whale Headlands, as there’s only a 50-70m cast required there. There’s also the odd flathead and bream to be caught as well.
North Newport Rocks is okay, but it can be fished only in flat conditions. Warriewood High Ledge is a good option if there are rough conditions, like a 2m+ swell.
Another good rough water distance casting ledge is South Curl Curl, which is approximately 150m south of Flat Rock. Some sizeable snapper to 45cm have been coming in from South Curl Curl.
For the wash fishers, try Bluefish Front, South Curl Curl near the point, Dee Why‚ Sloping Rock and off Mona Vale Pool. These areas have been producing a mix of snapper, bream, salmon, small kings and bonito in the washes on half to 3/4 pillies, large prawns and squid strips.
Breaming in the shallows at Long Reef has been good lately. I have seen anglers landing good quality bream only metres from the old cleaning table, all around to the last ledge before the Long Reef and Dee Why side of the beach. Another good shallow water spot is off North Curl Curl pool. There are less bream there, but it’s a real good spot for luderick and small rock blackfish. Fish to 38cm have been landed, which is a great quality fish on 2.5kg line in the shallows. Mixed in are some big yellow-eyed mullet, luderick and some rambunctious rock blackfish.
Wading around in shin to near waist deep water using half pillies, Hawkesbury prawns and blood worms has been working great. Bags of 4-8 fish are fairly regularly being caught. The high tide in the low light periods works the best.
Sometimes there’s no need to wade out, instead you can walk along the shoreline on the high tide period and cast in the 0.8-1.5m deep water with good results.
The kings and other pelagics will be good this month, and I would be having a go at the run of mac tuna and frigate mackerel. The large kings will be close to them, using their stealth methods to hunt and catch an unaware tuna!
Gar spun on gangs or two hook snelled hooks in the 5/0-8/0 size with a minimum of 60-80lb leader and 24-37kg braid or mono is necessary for these big fish. Big poppers and stickbaits in that 130-150mm size are a good alternative if you want to use lures.
Definitely one of the best baits for kings is squid. Kings find it hard to swim past one that is well presented and suspended under a float or a balloon in that early morning period. The only problem with a whole squid is that it might get hammered by a salmon or a tailor, but it’s definitely worth the risk for a big kingy.
On the beaches, the whiting, good dart, bream and tailor are on the chew in most places. All these species except the dart are also biting at night, especially the tailor.
Bronze whaler sharks and some nice mulloway to 18kg are being caught from Newport, and Dee Why Beach. Live yellowtail, mullet and whole fresh squid are the most sought after baits. The sharks are in good numbers, and some are up to 1.5m and great sport on 12-15kg gear. I recommend that you have at least 6-10 ready made two hook leaders, because you will need the spares! An alternative is 100-150lb crimp on wire , which will slow down the loss of leaders and hooks on these toothy critters.
The high tides that fall between 8.30pm-1am are my pick of the tides. The later tides are good because often you may be fishing near or within a few hundred metres of the well lit public swimming pools. I like to fish it when the pool lights get switched off. Try Manly, Curl Curl, Narrabeen, Bungan, and Palm beaches for the sharks and mulloway.
For the smaller species, the Manly to Queenscliff section of the beach, Dee Why from southern corner to the pole, Collaroy to south Narrabeen surf club and Bilgolah and Palm beaches on the northern end are all worth a look.
Manly, Curl Curl, and Narrabeen are producing good flathead for the tailor anglers. Live beach worms, blood worms, tube worms, pink nippers and as an alternative, peeled small prawns are good options for bait when chasing tailor.
The entrance to Narrabeen lagoon is producing good bags of whiting in the evenings, especially late at night. You can fish the waters of the lagoon entrance to the surf zone, and it may pay to have two outfits. I tend to use both a 2m rod for the calmer area, and for the surf zone, a 2.8-3.2m whip rod. Both are suited for 2.5-3.5kg mono or braid and comfortably handle the same species.
Until next month, enjoy your autumn and happy fishing.
• 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.Reads: 517