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Baits for the beaches
  |  First Published: October 2016



Finally it is October! It’s time to have a crack at mulloway off our beaches. With the increasing numbers of whiting and assorted species, there is even more reason for predatory species to hunt. This applies off the ocean rocks and in estuaries like Sydney Harbour and Pittwater. Kings and mulloway will be more prolific as well.

On the ocean beaches, it’s the month for big salmon. Traditionally October sees a run of stud salmon from 2.5-4kg. To catch them on 8-10kg braid or mono is a blast, but if you get the right conditions and hook them on line classes from 6-4kg, you’re going to have a battle royale.

Seeing salmon strip 50m+ of line off your reel and then jump past the first wave break is memorable. On a recent outing, a customer hooked a salmon on 3-4kg braid and it took a big run seaward between some surfers waiting to catch a wave. The hooked salmon jumped from the water near a surfer and he freaked out – hilarious.

The whiting are on at North Narrabeen from the lagoon entrance to past the Pines, Octavia Street. Expect it to be packed on weekends. It’s a popular spot for this species when they’re on. Head further north to Warriewood, Bungan and Avalon beaches, which are also producing. Heading south, Dee Why and the south Steyne area of Manly beach are good. Bream and stud tarwhine can be expected mixed in the whiting bags, as well as salmon from these beaches.

Try ganged pillies on 3/0 to 4/0 hooks, with reflective tape in green, gold or blue. Mix it up for better results. And live beachworms, or even better bloodworms, are great for the whiting. The new season Hawkesbury prawns, peeled or whole, work for tarwhine and bream. Use baitfish for bream, like half pillies, mullet strips and any oily fish bait.

Mulloway is without a doubt worth a go this month. Use live yellowtail, whole or fresh squid strips, or squid heads big enough for a 5/0 to 8/0 Mustad red. Those hooks also suit live yellowtail and whiting. Remember, when using sand whiting for bait, they must be at least 27cm.

Try Mid Palm Beach, Newport, North Narrabeen and Dee Why for good early season mulloway. Choose a gutter on either the new or full moon high tides this month. Anglers frequently ask, is the new moon, or dark of the moon, better than the full moon period? Just fish the correct tides, after dark to mid-night highs, regardless of the moon type.

Kings are also worth a go this time of the year, off ocean rocks and estuaries. These often hungry, new season kings are willing to smash most baits and lures. The Williamson Popper Pro 180, Rapala X-Rap Saltwater and 9” Stilstar Slapstick are a few lures worth having in your pack. Start off with these in a variety of colours. Live yellowtail suspended under a float is a great way of getting you onto a nice king, so add them.

Fresh eastern sea gars are an obvious choice. It’s too early in the season to purchase them from your fresh retail outlets, but they might be available from good tackle shops that have vac packed eastern sea gars available in their freezers. The robust gar works ok, but I prefer local eastern sea gar. Whole squid, squid strips and cuttlefish also work wonders.

Is it practical to have all these lures and baits on a kingfish outing? Hey, of course not. It’s too much organizing for every outing and not affordable to the average angler who fishes once or twice a week for a king. The lures are a good option, allowing you to just get out there whenever you’re ready. If you have the opportunity to get just one of the bait types, that’ll complement the trip for sure.

Note that the lures may not work as well as baits. There’s a lot more baits and lures you can purchase or catch, just keep it simple. Importantly, get out there as often as possible in safe conditions, especially off the ocean rocks. I recommend these locations in the harbour: Manly Point, Middle Head and Chowder Head. Off the rocks, try Bluefish Point, South Curl Curl’s flat rock area, and North and South Whale Headlands.

This month, I like to pursue big pigs available at selected locations – a mix of fish ranging from less than a kilo to stud 4kg+ fish. Big cabbage baits suspended 1-3m under a float are good, and so are large peeled prawns and white sliced bread using this method. Alternatively, fish a running ball sinker to the hook.

Try Little Bluey at Manly, North Curl Curl, North and South Whale Rocks as well. Luderick are in relatively good numbers where the pigs are, except in North Curl Curl. In the harbour, Dobroyd Head, Middle Head, and the Spit are on. Put in the effort to get your hair weed as much as your cabbage weed. Don’t forget sand for the berley. Mix the chopped weed in with the sand.

Port Jackson sharks are a problem distance casting for snapper of late. A mix of species are being caught, like tarwhine and trevally with the snapper – reasonably good plate fish from South Curl Curl, Dee Why, Narrabeen Head, and Mona Vale pool rocks.

1

Carol Borges and her partner Levy Barbosa with just one of several big salmon in an outing from Narrabeen beach – a team building exercise of eight, with the charismatic and fun people from Unique Media.

2

Billy Panagiotopoulas with a nice flathead, as part of a bag of whiting and bream. Mixed bags like this are to be expected in October, with big tarwhine as well. 

3

Mat Sofi is happy with his two 70cm+ kings caught in the harbour. Mix it up! If the ocean rocks are too rough, hit the harbour or Pittwater.

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