Worm your way into hot fishing
  |  First Published: February 2017

It’s the last month of summer and the most humid month as well! I’m glad the holidays are finally over for most. This gives anglers some peace and quiet, rather than fishing spots inundated with holidaymakers.

Fishing is not just doing everything right with gear, bait, lures, tides, location, time and technique. It’s also calculating where and when the heavy traffic is going – the boat traffic, swimmers, surfers, jet skis and kite surfers. It hardly seems worth it when I put it that way! I have mentioned this so many times, but I will say it again. Have a plan A, B and C at least. You have to contend with sea and weather conditions as well as all of these other factors.

When things get a bit congested, messy, uncomfortable or unfavourable, pack it in and move to your plan B. The luxury of having a boat is that you can move with ease from one spot to another. A land-based angler may have the long walks in and out of a location, taking the car again and then going to another location.

Sometimes you don’t have the time for a 6-8 hour session, so pick a plan A, B and C option for your 3-4 hour trip with much shorter walks for a much more practical option. Do your research beforehand for those quick go-to spots during shorter fishing trips. Having options won’t deter you from going out. These spots will mean you fish more often, catch more fish, become a better angler and relieve the fishing itch that us fair dinkum fishos get!

Plate snapper from 30-40cm are on several headlands around the northern suburbs of late. Distance casting, wash fishing and float fishing have been effective methods. North Whale about 150-200m from the corner of the beach and South Whale rocks near the swimming pool are worth a throw. You only need to cast 50-70m out for good sand and gravel terrain in relatively deep water.

Mona Vale Pool, North Narrabeen Pool off the ledges, and Dee Why Headland are good areas. Use a variety of baits like bottle or squid strips and slimy mackerel fillets, if you can catch them. Fresh yellowtail fillets, and salted or unsalted striped tuna fillet are good. Baits that are straight and streamlined when presented on the hook will assist you for more distance in your cast.

Kings are available from the harbour and ocean rocks. It’s common sense to fish really early in the morning for your kings. The vast majority of anglers fish the early AM period, but late afternoon to early evening is also a cracker time. I’ve had great sessions in the middle of the day. If the tide is low in the right spots or high in others, the king fishing can be great.

Salted sea gar ganged on a two hook snell rig work a treat, or you can live bait with yellowtail that can be caught on location. Take into account that this can vary from spot to spot. Have your backup poppers, stickbaits, soft plastics and metals just in case the live bait session lets you down. Sea gar can be around at this time of the year and make a sensational live bait.

It’s worth it to use smaller hooks with a sea gar than you would for a live slimy, yakka or mullet. Stick to a 4/0 or 5/0 in the double or triple extra strength hooks. Try the Hat below the Quarintine wall, Bluefish at Manly, South and North Curl Curl, and South and North Whale rocks. In the harbour, Dobroyd Head, Little Manly, in North Harbour, Middle Harbour the Spit Bridge on the north side are still producing a few.

Some big catches of whiting and occasional bag limits of 20 fish are available off the ocean beaches. Some kidney slapper whiting to 43cm are around – a funny old term that is. I never get kidney slapped by whiting or any fish. I hold them with the head pointing upward, so they become belly slappers.

Dusky and sand flathead are around with a good run of tailor as well. Bloodworms, tubeworms, pink nippers and beach worms all work well. For live bloodworms you’ll notice the fish often go off the bite on other baits with the smell of the bloodworm berleying them up into a frenzy. You can move to another gutter when this is happening.

Narrabeen lagoon is a good spot to pump your nippers and bloodworms. Try the mud flats out the back of it with a floating sieve and a yabby pump. Be prepared to work for them. They’re worth it.

Up north, Bungan, Bilgolah, Avalon and Whale beaches are producing. Whiting anglers fish the run in to the high tide for best results. It’s also worth a go on the low tide. Wade out to the end of the sand flat where the back bank drops off on to the first wave break. Along that edge, whiting can be found with a variety of other species. I like to do this on flat days, when the swell is below 0.8m.

Take your carry bag with all the accessories you require. A bait container around your waist can become inundated with water and you could potentially lose your bait. Have your bait in your carry bag and above waist height. Be prepared to get wet. The results can be really good.

• For rock and beach guided fishing or tuition in the northern Sydney region, visit www.bellissimocharters.com.au, email --e-mail address hidden-- or call Alex Bellissimo on 0408 283 616.
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