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A fresh flush of fun species
  |  First Published: April 2017



The diversity of species at the moment is great! A client was spinning with a 25g Sure Catch saltwater Lazer Jig in a pink colour and managed six species in the space of an hour – kings, tailor, salmon, frigate mackerel and bonito. All off the ocean rocks. You couldn’t see any surface action so it was pretty much blind casting to these fish. Funnily enough you could see surface boils and at times several fish following the metal, but no baitfish spraying on the surface.

Most of the kings caught on the small metals have been in that undersize 60-64cm class, but the occasional fish to 70cm has really been testing the light 6-8kg spin gear, and of course testing the angler! For those people who have not been introduced to the wrath of a king, I can tell you they’re one of the most exhilarating and challenging species on the east coast. They are a structure species, using cover, stealth and sudden bursts of speed to catch their favourite food. Unfortunately, they also use structure to damage or cut your braid or mono/fluorocarbon line, dragging it over sharp structures like submerged ledges, boulders, and more. Catching this species off the land is a much bigger achievement than catching them off a boat.

For now, let’s look at where the kings have been caught of late, along with the smaller pelagics which are also one of their food sources.

The ledges at the front of South Head near the harbour entrance and Bluefish Point (there is a vertical cliff climb there) are good places to start. South Curl Curl (a small vertical cliff climb) is another great location. It does get really crowded at this ledge but there is a fair bit of room providing it’s under 0.8m around the high tide period. Try the point of South Curl Curl/Freshwater below the ramp (providing it is below 0.8m), and North Whale headland point. North Whale’s SE Point is fairly small and can generally only fit four to five anglers comfortably, so have a plan B ready. Having a plan B is a good idea at any of these spots really, as you might arrive to find they’re too crowded or too rough.

Good numbers of luderick are being caught, as well as quite a few bream. Snapper distance casting from these spots has also been successful. If you’re after luderick, the best bait is hair or cabbage weed. For the bream I recommend pink nippers, half pillies or Hawkesbury prawns. The kings are being taken on Silstar 9” Slapstix in the cream colour or clear silver speckle with a red head, and of course salted sea gar on gang hooks.

When it comes to pelagics, anglers have been getting into salmon, bonito, tailor, frigate mackerel and a showing of mac tuna. Small metals are the go for all of these fish. You should keep your metals under 50g and even as small as 15g, especially for the fussy frigates.

Mulloway will be on the prowl this month off our diverse and beautiful beaches of Sydney – Manly, Curl Curl, Collaroy and Newport. There have been reports of fish to 13.5kg from a few locals. Fishing during a downpour when the drains, lagoons and estuaries are flushing out brown water can be very productive. The flush attracts a lot of the smaller species, and they in turn attract predators like mulloway and sharks. Not only that, the freshwater pushes the mullet, whiting, small bream, tarwhine and more to the ocean from the estuaries and lagoons for waiting predators. When that opportunity happens, be prepared and fish the gutters, which will essentially turn into a bait supermarket for the predators. You can expect the tailor and salmon to be there as well.

WHITING AND BREAM

The whiting and bream are continuing to increase in numbers for their annual migration. I have been putting in a few sessions just before the crack of dawn into the early morning, and again before dark into the evening. Most fishos who target these species only fish for them during the day, and pack up when it gets dark. This is a shame, as some of the best results come well into the night – providing that it is not too rough, as this can make it quite difficult to fish. On those more calm nights, especially when it is relatively flat, it can go gangbusters after dark. Manly/Queenscliff Beach is a good night spot because it has plenty of light and is close to the car. Dee Why Corner near the drain pipe to the surf club is similar to Manly, and has been producing good results for the evening angler of late. Other beaches producing are Collaroy, Narrabeen, Avalon, and the Whale.

You should scope out the gutters that you intend to fish before dark, and then move from gutter to gutter when you’re fishing. Fish light so you won’t be weighed down carrying your gear from gutter to gutter.

RIVER AND ESTUARY

Fishing the stiller waters of the closest estuaries to my local Sydney Harbour, Narrabeen Lagoon and Pittwater has been an on-and-off proposition. The fish have been on one day and off the other. Barometric pressure seems to have an influence on fish activity. A sharp drop can put the fish into a feeding frenzy, and then you can get a shut-down period when it has plummeted and is on a slow increase.

The tranquil waters of McCarrs Creek near Scotland Island in Pittwater have a few nice whiting, bream and flathead available. Fishing with topwater lures like the Silver Wolf Slippery Dog 65F in sushi prawn has produced a couple of nice whiting. It’s a lot of fun to get a nice whiting on a lure, and a few bream have been smashing topwater lures as well. If you really want some fish for the plate though, it might be necessary to have some bloodworms as a back-up, just in case.

Narrabeen Lagoon from the entrance on the top of the tide to about half out has been producing whiting, bream and some nice dusky flathead. Bloodworms, pink nippers and live poddy mullet around that 10-12cm size are the best baits, rigged with a light ball sinker to a swivel, 12-15lb fluorocarbon leader and a 1/0 red long shank hook. Just cast out and slowly wind back to catch yourself a flathead. Up past the Ocean St bridge further west, you can wade out on the sand bank and use the same technique.

All up, it looks like we have a good month ahead of us. The pelagics are going to be in better numbers off the beaches and ocean rocks, along with bream, flathead and whiting in the estuaries. Just remember to prep before you go, so you can end up fishing quality time rather than quantity time, for more consistent catch rates.

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