Grab a groper this July
  |  First Published: July 2016

One thing that I can’t predict is the weather, and I have to rely on the local weather forecast or a number of websites. Do they always get it correct? No, but at most times it does help for me to organise my fishing trips. One of the main things that I look at is which direction the wind is coming from, and at what strength it will be.

From previous experience, I would expect to be able to get yellowfin bream, silver trevally, luderick, drummer, groper, john dory, squid and leatherjackets throughout July.

To help you out I will give you a place to try, a technique to use, a time of the tide and what bait to try for each of the above species. The rest will be up to you!

Yellowfin bream will be moving about the deep water sections of the bays, the beaches and off the rocks. Try locating a deep gutter that is running parallel to a rocky headland and coincide your fishing time to when the sun is just coming over the horizon and the tide reaching high about an hour after sunrise.

Or if you prefer, you could start your fishing about two hours before sunset and where the high tide is about an hour before the sun sets. This way you will only need to fish for three to four hours and then you can go home.

A running sinker rig is preferred for bream fishing in this way. Try using peeled blue tailed prawns, strips of tuna or mullet. Make sure that you have a small, but steady stream of bread berley.

If you are after silver trevally you could try fishing the end of the Cooks River wall on the run-out tide. I tend to use running sinker down onto the swivel with a leader of about a metre long. Pink nippers or bloodworms would be good for bait. At times, it can get a bit crowed on the Cooks River wall, so it doesn’t matter whether you fish on the northern or southern side.

Luderick will have come into the estuaries by now and would have been feeding along many of the rock walls or over the weed beds. Soily Point in the Georges River, just up from the Moons will be producing fish on all tides. You can fish either from the shore or out of a boat.

The tricky part with luderick will be finding the weed that they like. A good place to start getting your weed would be near a storm water outlet or off the ocean rocks.

If you can’t get any weed yourself, you could always give Macs Bait Bar at Blakehurst call on 9546 1341 to see if they have any in supply. On the other hand, you could always substitute the fresh green weed for a green fly, which are readily available.

One of my favourite fish species during winter to target is the drummer. Not only are they great fighters, they are great on the plate. One of the places to try would be off the rocks at Long Bay. You don’t need much tackle, just some 1/0-2/0 hooks, a ball sinker between 000-No 3, a 3.6m 6 wrap rod with either a threadline reel or Alvey side cast spooled with at least 15lb line. I like to carry a bag full or bread for berley.

As for drummer baits, try using prawns, nippers, cunjevoi and bread. Any time of the tide seems to work for drummer, it will just depend on the depth of water you are fishing in.

If you are going to target groper, you will need to remember that you are only allowed two per person per day and that you will have to have plenty of patience when targeting them.

The best groper baits by far are red crabs, but you can also try the green and black ones off the rocks. Gather your bait at low tide and fish the rising tide for your groper.

If you are fishing over a snaggy area or where there are big boulders, you could use a paternoster rig, consisting of one hook only, as you don’t want to be fighting two groper at the same time! If that happened, I think the groper will win most of the time.

I haven’t caught a john dory for a while, so this July I am going to get myself a few small yellowtail and target them in the deep water off Trevally Alley, the drums and at the end of the third runway. The only problem you may have is that a mulloway or kingfish may take a liking to your bite-sized yellowtail. If you can’t get yellowtail, you could also try using poddy mullet, small sweep or mados.

Squid can be caught all year round in numbers in Botany Bay and the Port Hacking River. At this time of the year the squid can also be found on the close offshore reefs and milling around rocky headlands. It doesn’t seem to matter with the tide, as long as there is some movement in the water. What does seem to matter is that they don’t seem to like the water too dirty.

Long casts of the squid jig, then allowing it to slowly sink to just above the bottom is the best way to connect with a squid. Once it gets to the required depth, you can slowly lift the rod tip to give the jig a hopping motion. Allow the jig to slowly sink, and then repeat the process.

Leatherjackets are another favourite of mine, as they are fairly easy to catch while using a paternoster rig with small pieces of peeled prawn or squid as bait. Whether you are fishing out of a boat or off the shore, you need to have enough weight so that there is a slight bend in the tip of the rod when you have the sinker just off the bottom.

I would not have the length of the line where the hook is attached too much longer than 12cm and the hook size would be between a no. 8-12 long shank when fishing in the estuaries or bays. Time of the tide or day doesn’t seem to matter, just as long as there is some water movement, as this will keep the rig tight.

Well, there you have it, a list of different species that you can target during July. Don’t forget that if you have any reports and photos of fish that you have caught, just send them into me with some details of where and how you caught it and you could find yourself in the magazine. Email me at --e-mail address hidden--

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