Chill times for anglers
  |  First Published: May 2017

We’re getting up in the morning and sensing the chill. A large percentage of the fishing fraternity think “it’s getting cold up here so it must be getting cold down there”. Well it isn’t – not yet anyway, and it won’t be for quite a while. It is still the transition of species period, and this month your winter species will be mixed in with the summer species.

May is one of my favourite months, with virtually all the beach species biting like whiting, bream, tailor and salmon. It’s a good time for mulloway as well. The most populated northern suburbs beach is, without a doubt, Manly. However, it has been a cracker of a beach for a feed of late. We’re seeing regular bags of whiting, bream and tailor, and there will be an increasing number of salmon. Anglers can also encounter bronze whaler sharks from around 0.8m up to 1.3m, as well as the odd mulloway. The mulloway are the target species, but anyone who wants to pursue them needs to accept that sharks, salmon and tailor are generally the main species caught whilst mulloway fishing. You have to be very patient to catch that prize fish. Factors that will increase your chances include figuring out where to fish for them during the correct conditions and tides, and using the correct bait, rigs and outfits. If you want to increase your success rates, give me a call or shoot me an email and I can help you to get onto a mulloway and several other species on one of my guiding trips.

Another popular beach for surfers and swimmers is Dee Why. Like Manly, it is a hive of activity but has still been holding a good population of the above species of late.

The kelp can be a problem on this beach though, so you may need to move around. If you’re on the southern side, for example, and it’s full of kelp, jump back in your car and drive to the Long Reef surf club side of the beach and you may find it to be weed-free. This can apply on a lot of the beaches around here.

Mid Narrabeen to North Narrabeen, Bungan and Newport have been producers as well. When you’re out fishing for a whiting, I recommend keeping a spin outfit on standby just in case there is a burst of tailor or salmon. I use a spin outfit with 6kg J-Braid, 15lb Sufix Invisiline leader, 45g Knights with gold/green reflective tape, a Daiwa BG3000 and a Wilson Blue Steel 2-piece light surf 10” rod. It’s a nice spin outfit for rock or beach fishing for small pelagics.

All of the species are being caught on the beaches mentioned. This is important information for the beach angler. Having a variety of ball sinkers from size 0/1 to 4, or swivel bomb sinkers (that is a sinker with the swivel moulded in the sinker) ranging from 1/4 to 2oz is absolutely necessary for your success on the outing. Generally these sinkers are best for whiting and bream and, when the surf is less than moderate, for tailor, salmon and even mulloway and sharks. When the surf is up, sinkers from 3-6oz are the go, but of course they’re only suitable for heavier lines; around 9-15kg braid or mono. The reason why the sinker sizes are so important is because if your sinker is not moving you’re likely to have a bait that looks rigid and isn’t drifting, therefore looking unnatural.

May is an awesome month for the ocean rocks! Just remember that this is a very dangerous sport, and if you’re not experienced feel free to contact me. I would be happy to give you some safety advice. There have been some fairly recent fatalities, and sadly they could have been avoided with the right information.

Snapper to 48cm, trevally to 43cm, kings to 70cm, salmon to 65cm and some cracker bream to 42cm have been caught by anglers fishing the washes. I recommend a mix of squid strips, peeled banana prawns, and half pillies in your bait container. Swap around to see what works best on the day. Fresh tailor fillets cut into slivers about 10-12cm long and presented on a 3/0 hook (I use a Mustad 92554) have also been working well, and can be a cheaper alternative than going through 2kg or more of pillies for berley and bait, plus all the extra baits.

Bluefish eastern front, South Curl Curl, and Mona Vale pool eastern front rocks have been producing some good bags, and some good squid fishing as well. When the water is a little discoloured I have been using pink and orange Emeraldas Nude squid jigs in the 14-19.5g size range. Without a doubt the best times for squid are from the crack of dawn until sun-up, and about half hour before dark. Flat sea conditions with a swell size of less than 75cm are good as well.

The luderick and pigs season is well and truly on. Technically these species can be caught all year round, but late April to the end of October is when anglers seriously target them. The most common baits for pigs are peeled prawns, white sliced bread and crust, and large weed baits. For the luderick, hair weed and cabbage weed are the go. Good spots to try include Little Bluey, South Curl Curl, North Curl Curl off and near the swimming pool, Long Reef, a flat ledge called Snapper Rock on the north face, and of course the Mona Vale pool area, northeast and south faces.

The kings are still on the chew, and this will continue until the end of June, providing the water temps stay above 19°C. This can vary from year to year. Salted sea gars, medium live yellowtail suspended under a torpedo or turnip float between 1-8m, and 9” Silstar SlapStix in the red head or cream colours have all been catching their share. Try Bluefish Point, North Curl Curl and South Whale headland. North Whale southeast point is good as well when you can get a spot there. Normally it is quite crowded.

So get out there in May and enjoy some of the most fun fishing of the year! Fishing is a fantastic pastime, and now is a great time to do it.

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