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Sydney offshore off tap
  |  First Published: May 2016



As the seasons change in Sydney, some ripper fish are on the chew. Mulloway, kings and snapper are holding on the local reefs just offshore in reasonable numbers, but it’s the blue marlin bite that has everybody talking on the north side.

Some cracker fish have been caught out wide trolling skirted lures of both the small and large variety, so when conditions prevail you may not get a better opportunity to tick one of these ripper fish off your bucket list.

Vic from Oceanhunter Sportsfishing has been getting onto some awesome beakies out wide trolling Billmark skirted lures like Apollos and Big Dogs. These guys have been catching plenty of marlin and mahimahi and this outfit is certainly worth every cent they charge for a day’s offshore fishing.

Closer inshore, the north side’s reefs are holding good numbers of mulloway, trag and snapper. Brad Verkerk and Anthony Ball had a good session on the mulloway fishing in 30m of water. The guys were using butterflied yellowtail fillets for bait while fishing on the bottom. Both anglers landed good fish over a metre in length while fishing in the slow northerly heading current.

There was more success for the Bonnici clan lately with Mike and Hayley teaming up with Peter Norris to land some great mulloway. Once again, it was the butterflied yakkas doing the damage, this time in 40m of water.

Staff member Zane Levett and Jackson Coffey headed out chasing the hard-fighting kingfish recently and certainly weren’t disappointed. The guys hooked into some great fish in 30m of water while downrigging squid strips off Manly. Only one fish was kept for the table with the rest being tagged and released.

The harbour has been providing good numbers of kingfish as well as mac tuna, tailor and frigate mackerel. Most of the drop offs are working well on the flathead too, with numerous anglers having tremendous success on plastic vibes.

Whiting are still on the chew around Clontarf with king worms being a great bait. Further south over at Balmoral, schools of bait have been bailed up in the moorings. The predators are usually tailor and mac tuna. Small metal lures cast around will work to entice these fish to bite. Some good-sized schools of these fish have been sighted as far west as Bantry Bay in Middle Harbour, but usually at this time of year these pelagics are schooling bait and small metal lures are a terrific option for casting in their direction. Some great trevally are also being encountered right through the harbour with various soft plastic and vibe lures working a treat in the deeper holes and on the drop-offs.

Further north, Pittwater is holding patches of Watson’s leaping bonito at the moment, with quite a few anglers reporting captures. Rob Haslam and Bruce Newling landed a few of these speedsters using soft plastics and metal lures. This species often frequents sand flats and drop-offs while herding baitfish up in the shallows. As simple as small metal lures can be, they are a favourite choice for casting at these schools once located, with fly fishing being another successful option.

The beaches have calmed a little since last month’s wild weather and are getting back to normal quite quickly. Narrabeen, Curl Curl and Manly have been holding schools of bream and whiting with plenty of dart taking king worm baits intended for the big elbow slappers.

Dee Why Lagoon has recently opened up, as have Curl Curl and Queenscliff. When these lagoons open themselves to the sea (generally after a big rain), be sure to head down and get a few casts in near the opening. Bigger fish are often waiting over the back for all sorts of yummy baits exiting the lagoons, and these include school prawns, mullet, herring and white bait.

Preferred times are around sunrise and sunset, and whether you cast lures or set a bait, you just never know what will be over the back. Favourite casting lures for most anglers are vibes and big shallow divers for the bottom feeders, while big metals are working on the surface species.

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