Rockin’ it on the Coast
  |  First Published: May 2016

There’s certainly a bit of good and bad at this time of year, with the first few serious cold snaps racing up the coast, to chill our bones and remind us of what lies ahead. At the same time, fishing on all fronts can be red-hot and it’s common to get extended periods of calm, sunny weather.

Rock and beach fishing are the stand-out fishing formats during late autumn, and if recent weeks are anything to go by, the angling action could be outstanding through May. Every season is different, and I’m very happy to say that tailor have shown up in local haunts in numbers I haven’t seen for many years.

When I first started beach fishing as a teenager, tailor were prolific along the coast and catching a salmon or two was a bit of a novelty. Over the years things have slowly changed. By the late nineties tailor numbers were noticeably in decline, while salmon not only became common, they started to outnumber the tailor. Overall, tailor are historically more abundant during autumn, before salmon take over from mid-winter through to the end of spring. I enjoy catching both species, but let’s hope these tailor stick around well into winter this year.

North Entrance and Budgewoi beaches are no doubt the best tailor beaches along the Central Coast, and I’ve caught my biggest models at North Entrance in the past. However, any beach with baitfish present and a degree of whitewash should be worth trying and will probably produce some choppers this month.

As touched on last month, it’s also prime time for mulloway on our local beaches. It’s quite possible to catch mulloway during any month of the year around here, and sometimes the middle of winter is just as good as now. Let’s face it, things are going to get very chilly soon, so if you’re keen to pin a mulloway, it’s a good idea to put in a solid effort this month.

Bream, and of course a few salmon, are the two other main players to be expected from the surf over the coming weeks. The odd dart, whiting, flathead and a few different species of shark and ray are also likely to take the bait.

Off the rocks, tailor will probably remain the main species caught when casting pilchards or lures, but a few bonito and kingfish, along with smaller frigate mackerel should also be out and about this month. May is probably one of the best months to try livebaiting from some of the deeper rock ledges for kingfish. South Avoca, Terrigal, Wybung, Snapper and Catherine Hill Bay are the main places to try for a decent kingy in the next few weeks.

I love rock fishing at this time of year, simply because we’re spoilt for choice and most species aren’t shy at all. This means casting smaller baits close in around the washes for bream, drummer and luderick can be rewarding, not only for fun, but it’s hard to beat any of these fish, pan fried with some chips and salad.

If that’s not enough, May is also a great month to chase calamari squid from the rocks or inshore reef. The biggest calamari normally feature in catches at this time of year and you could throw those into a fresh seafood platter or reserve them for prime kingfish or mulloway bait.


Offshore anglers can rejoice, as winds will be a lot more favourable now that the north easterlies are gone. This means you should head back into the ramps at Terrigal or Norah Head, and you can stay out longer or head to wider grounds. On the flip side though, south westerlies start to ramp up as we head towards winter. Much like other forms of fishing along the Central Coast, it’s a good idea to get out as much as possible this month.

It’s very much a crossover period for offshore fishing. Personally, I think sticking in close to target kings around the shallow reefs and bommies is a safer bet than heading out wide, which tends to be more of a gamble and obviously uses up more fuel. Of course, it depends what species you’re after. Marlin, tuna and mahimahi are still very much on the cards out wide, along with a chance of kings and snapper.


Inside calmer water, bream are still very much the dominant species around the lakes and Brisbane Waters. However, a large percentage of them will be heading towards the mouths of the systems to migrate out to sea. I would rate May as the last really good month for bream, and although some of the biggest models are caught in the depths of winter, it’s unlikely to encounter a red hot session again until October or November.

Flathead and whiting are still very much worth chasing at The Entrance and through Brisbane Waters. It’s normally a very good month for mulloway in Brisbane Waters and we’ll probably see an increase in blackfish numbers over the coming weeks.

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