Change of weather causes May-hem
  |  First Published: May 2016

With the start of May we can now look forward to a change of fishing styles. The inshore reds are a great option for boaties; tailor, salmon and mulloway for the beach brigade; tailor, bream and luderick off the rocks; and the mulloway and bream will be moving about in the deeper parts of our estuaries.

The first requirement of winter fishing is appropriate clothing, and staying warm and dry will make the whole experience a lot better so dress to suit. When fishing the rocks, a spray jacket and life vest are both necessary as even the windspray off a washed ledge will soon chill you to the bone. Let’s take a look at some fishing styles.

Rock fishing

When I’m prospecting, I like to carry a couple of rods that will come in handy. I like to have one for luderick and then a rod that covers a few targets such as tailor, bream and pigs in the washes, and this will give me a few options for a morning session.

Starting the day with a spin for tailor either using metals or ganged pillies can be rewarding. Try and get into it early as a lot of times when the sun comes up the bite stops. Then it’s time to change species, and all that’s needed is some small pea size ball sinkers and 1/0s and you are ready for bream and drummer. Baits like peeled prawns, cunjevoi and some crabs should be enough to let you get into a few fish. Remember, fishing the wash is the preferred area, if its calm and clear then you may find yourself in wirrah heaven.

When fishing for the blackfish, you can usually find green weed or cabbage at your spot but in some places it may pay to take some in just for insurance. If the blackies are on, it should round out a good bag of fish.

Places that will be well worth looking at will be lighthouse, Bonny Hills, Plomer and Point Perp. There is a fair few spots north and south worth investigating, so enjoy and be safe.


This month when we get the mullet cruising, the beaches will be also a good time to soak a slab or a tailor head for a mulloway. My preference is to get to my spot earlier and try to spin up a few tailor, as this way I have a super fresh bait to use. I pre-rig my terminals at home prior to fishing and place them in sandwich bags, making it a simple matter for rigging on the beach.

Again, for this style I will take two outfits. One I use for tailor and also bream when needed. The other is a mulloway rod, which commands my sole attention a couple of hours before the high and the start of the run-out. It’s great to have a mate fish with you, as this gives you more chance of action and also keeps you keen when it is a bit quiet… a thermos of coffee can help as well.

The beaches surrounding Port all fish well, but as usual, it is the formation of gutters and holes that make the difference, so it pays to check out beaches in daylight as this will let you know where you will have more chance of tangling with a few fish.

The lighthouse all the way to Cathie end is worth checking, as is North Beach, but don’t dismiss some of the smaller beaches as they produce some great catches. Remember, formation is important and just because a spot doesn’t get mentioned, it can still produce if conditions are right.


This winter is going to be another season where we get to use a few tactics to catch our fish. Snapper are always a prime target and methods are continually changing and adapting. A plastic worked over an inshore reef has always produced great action and still does, but with vibration blades, octo jigs and the micro-jigging craze, we have more weapons than ever to play with.

Recently, while Jason Isaac and Scott Fleming were giving the Zerek micro-jigs a workout, Scott hooked up to what was thought to be a huge red, but it turned out to be a sweet blue groper, which in 2m of water put up a huge fight. It shows the potential of these lures, with pearlies, kings and flatties also readily taking micro-jigs.

The Hastings River

This is the month to start your deep water fishing for bream. I mainly fish vibration lures and after last season’s leatherjacket invasion, I don’t see that changing! Plastics work a treat along the walls, but take a bucket to throw your destroyed ones in as the jackets love them!

Soft vibration lures like the Samaki Vibelicious were outstanding last season and they accounted for a very big portion of the catch and also proved brilliant on the school mulloway, so make sure you have some of these in your kit. They come into their own on upsize bream.

Astro Vibes and Koolabung X-ray Prawns have been worthy products to get into a few bream, with the metal Astros getting great results in the last few months. A tip with retrieving these lures is to slow down. With little movements it has proven deadly.

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