Simply fishing
  |  First Published: September 2016

Fishing is about putting things into perspective. To have a meaningful relationship with this pastime you need to acknowledge and appreciate the significance of what you learn. Then you can take the next level. Advanced anglers lose track of how much they know and don’t know where beginners sit.

I had an adult client on his very first fishing experience. It’s easy to take experience for granted, to perceive things as obvious or logic. Talking basics can be difficult for a raw beginner to grasp. Hearing fishing jargon for the first time is often difficult to recollect, let alone the vital basic steps. Don’t become perplexed with all the information you take from forums, videos, books and from anglers discussing complex techniques. Keep it simple, soak up the information and journey slowly. Just enjoy fishing. Fish as often as you can. Reputation’s important.

This month will see more big pigs (black drummer) available for the rock angler. Fish ranging up to 4kg will be in the bag. Reduce your line class from the commonly used 9-12kg class to a 5-6kg. The run of fish may appear to be small, but they don’t become complacent with this pugnacious fish. The next one you hook could be a stud rock blackfish, of well over 2kg, and bury you under a ledge then sever your line. It’s good to have a backup heavy line, just in case.

Bait has been the usual peeled endeavour or banana prawn. Sliced white bread with a bread berley trail is paramount for success. Use a combination of two rigs – one with the variable size ball sinkers sliding straight to the hook, and the other should have a small foam float with your swivel and 30-40cm of similar line. With the float rig, your hook and sinker should be above the swivel and your small float, with the desired depth you want to fish. Use a float stopper to vary your depth.

The first to second square ledges at Little Bluey Manly, Freshwater swimming pool boulders, the high ledge at Warriewood near the iconic blow hole, and South Avalon rocks have been productive locations recently. Groper are on as well. Fish at least 6kg are fairly prolific. The best bait is fresh crabs, which you can take from legal bait harvesting areas. Either whole crab or segments are great.

For more advanced anglers, using 15kg line or less is okay, but generally 24kg is preferable. It allows you more freedom to fish spots that are friendly to your gear, and areas less forgiving. Try Dee Why, Long Reef and Warriewood headlands. You may have to harvest crabs at a legal location then move to a better spot for fishing.

Luderick are reliable, available lately at a range of locations. Green weed can be taken off the ocean rocks, the frilly type known as cabbage weed, or the stringy type known as hair weed or silkweed. Have both, as often fish can be picky about what they choose to eat. The Hat main ledge at Manly, up near North Head, has some good catches. Flat Rock at south Curl Curl, Long Reef in the shallows and the flat ledge on the northeast face, approximately 300-400m past the old cleaning tables, are all producing. North Narrabeen gutters, around 300m north of Narrabeen lagoon entrance, has had some good bags as well.

The trevally and some plate-size snapper, with the odd bream thrown in, are available on the deeper ledges. Blue Fish Point is a good spot, but there’s a climb involved. It’s an open area with waves larger than some of the other headlands. South and north Curl Curl are great trevally ledges. Mona Vale pool ledge is a reliable spot as well. Half pillies, peeled prawns and bread or pilly mush berley is necessary for trevally.


Lachlan Swinburne and James Tasovic are talented anglers in the boat. They tried their hands at rock fishing with some great success on the groper. They had enough snapper fillets from a previous outing, so these fish were released.


Off the beaches there are many species – big salmon, tailor and bream in this bag. Father-son team, Russell and Oscar Jacobson went out for an evening fish.


This is David Phan's very first fishing trip and what a way to open it – a 55cm rock blackfish on an Alvey!

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