Merry mulloway madness
  |  First Published: December 2016

I love and hate December – Christmas is a fiasco and then you have New Year’s Eve. It’s a fantastic month for fishing, but can you find the time? There’s an old saying – quality over quantity. Put in the homework and choose the area – ocean rock, ocean beach or estuary? Estuary just means calmer or enclosed salt or brackish waters, like rivers, bay lakes, or harbour fishing. Specify a type.

Then choose a species. Research what you want to catch and go from that. Pick a practical spot, because this will save time for those that are time strapped. Rather than say, “I’m not going fishing because I don’t have six hours to spare,” you could say, “I’m going for a fish, because I have 3-4 hours to spare including travel time and it’s practical to have a productive outing!”

As a full time guide, I offer the shortcuts to success. The kings are at a lot of locations lately, like the ocean rocks from Barrenjoey Head’s south face point area, North and South Whale headland, North Curl Curl, Bluefish Point and the Hat near the old quarantine wall at Manly. They’re being caught on a vast range of baits and lures. Live yellowtail suspended under a float between 2-6m deep, salted sea gars ganged up, Williamson Popper Pro 180 in the red head and silver/white body or the blue/white body are working well. Try the Zerek Zappelin 57g as well.

The tailor numbers are increasing. They’re even around through the day, but obviously in larger numbers on the calmer nights. It’s safe enough to fish. Ganged pillies on a set of three 3/0s, 40g Knights, and 50g Lazer Jigs from SureCatch.

There’s good pig fishing this month as well. Even though it’s December, they’re still on the chew. The Hat has good numbers of luderick with some good pigs in amongst them. The luderick and rock blackfish are often found in similar spots, but I recommend that you fish for them in different areas. Choose the boulder or ledge areas for better results on the pigs. The clearer areas are better for luderick. Peeled endeavour or banana prawns, white sliced bread and large cabbage weed baits are the run of the mill baits used for pigs.

Try the boulders below the Shelly Headland car park to the ledges further south. Remember the sanctuary is off limits to any fishing, about halfway westward along the car park. North Curl Curl, boulders below the stairs and Warriewood boulders on the NE face are also good areas to try.

Snapper distance casting with 3-5oz sinkers and fishing the frothy white water with light ball sinkers is some of the methods of catching your snapper of late. Whole and half pilchards, large prawns like the endeavour or banana prawn, bottle squid and strips of squid and salted slimey mackerel.

Distance cast around South Avalon rocks from the big gutter, several hundred metres from the swimming pool, Warriewood off the high cliff near the blow hole, and South Curl Curl. These are some areas with snags where snapper have been caught. Take note when distance casting around the snags – don’t move your rig around too much. Wash fishing options like North Whale Rocks, Bangally Head and Bluefish Headland in that deep water zone are all good.

Tailor action along several Sydney beaches has just become better this month. Fish are coming in various sizes, from live bait, or perfect smoker size fish at 30-38cm to some crackers at 1.3kg. The larger fish are being caught well into the evening. Normally, larger fish are a by-catch of the mulloway fishers. Some salmon are being caught as well. A good run of chopper tailor are biting from three quarters of an hour before dark to half an hour after, at least.

Some nights they’ll continue to bite for several hours. If that’s the case, you should find some larger tailor. Beaches to try are Manly, near South Steyne area to Queenscliff, Curl Curl, the pole area at Dee Why, mid to north Narrabeen, Warriewood, and Avalon beaches. Fish for a bream if you're getting a few pecks on your whole ganged pilchard. It should be worth it.

The whiting were a little sporadic for the month of November. There were some beaches that didn’t produce as well as previous years. They’re still there, but in smaller numbers. Other beaches have better or more reliable quantities. Some of the best producers are Narrabeen, mid to north Warriewood, and Avalon. This could change.

Have a contingency plan in place when you fish for whiting. If the beach you're fishing doesn’t produce like it did on a previous outing, pack it in and move to another beach that you’ve checked out. Live beach worms, bloodworms and pink nippers are a good stand by bait as well.

Generally a lot of beach anglers don’t really consider a beach bream fishing outing. It can be very productive for this specie. Fishing near some structure can be a bonus but not necessary the only option. Try the deep gutters as they like deeper water and the shallows as well. In the evenings it is better being a great nocturnal species. Manly beach is a good option lately. Dee Why and Collaroy have been producing good numbers as well. Fish baits like half pilchards, fresh garfish fillets, mullet fillets and tailor fillets.

It’s been a great mulloway month! Where the smaller fish are, mulloway and sharks find this a great option. Manly, Dee Why, North Narrabeen, Bungan, and Palm beaches are my picks. If you get harassed on your cut baits, butterflied baits are great in some ways. They indicate that you’re in an attractive area for these predators.


Sydney Harbour has produced good bream on lures. This one was caught on a Daiwa rolling crank 3.2g in rainbow.


James Kelly is well-versed as an angler. The author got to show him some advanced techniques in challenging conditions with great results.


Chris Hadjisavas with his first ocean rock king. This one was on a ganged salted sea gar.

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