Goodbye to a well-seasoned angler
  |  First Published: May 2017

For those of you that don’t know, Gabe Quercigrossi passed away on Friday 17 March and will be sorely missed by all those who knew him through his shop at Milperra in the early years, then at Narellan, and his column on Botany Bay.

His wealth of fishing knowledge will be missed by all those seasoned and up-and-coming anglers who took delight in looking at the photos in his column and reading about where and when to go in Botany Bay and its surrounds. I never got to fish with Gabe, but I heard of his exploits over the years and there are not too many anglers who would come near the expertise that he had when fishing.

From this month onwards, I’ll do my best to report on Botany Bay and its surrounding areas in the detail that Gabe did.

A few reports of bream, silver trevally and whiting have been coming in from anglers fishing from Frenchmans Beach, which is located on the northern side of Yarra Bay. Ray Longward from Maroubra landed two bream, one trevally and three whiting while using bloodworms. Paul Lockwood pumped a few nippers off the sand bar at Dolls Point and also fished off the groyne in Frenchmans Bay for one bream and five trevally. All were caught using a paternoster rig.

If you are after a couple of squid, you could try the reef that is tucked in the corner where the retaining wall is in Yarra Bay. The best colours have been orange, pink and purple. If you are fishing from a boat you will need to locate the kelp and cast your jigs out onto the sand.

Anglers chasing squid in this area from the shore could try suspending a whole pilchard or a squid jig underneath a bobby cork and allow it to float out from the shore.

Scotty Lyons from Southern Sydney Fishing Tours reports that his clients have been getting trevally and the odd bream or two while anchored up at Trevally Alley. The best rig by far has been a small running ball sinker down onto either a peeled prawn or a piece of pilly with a No.1 circle hook in it. Be sure to berley. If you don’t have a berley bucket you could put a couple of loaves of white bread in a keeper bag and dangle it over the side. It will only need a couple of shakes every now and then to get the fish coming up the back of your boat.

Trevally and bream have come in from the drums. Remember that you are not allowed to drift through or anchor inside the drums. The water depth around these drums is very deep here so I would keep my leader to about 60cm in length. If you are drifting use a No. 4-6 ball or bean sinker down onto the swivel.

The oil wharf has been a bit slow lately with only a couple of trevally caught throughout the day. Undersize snapper have been here in great numbers. Fishing at night has been much better and I suggest you stick to the run-out tide.

Watts Reef is best fished at night for bream, snapper and trevally. Anchor up on the sand and cast very lightly weighted baits back to the reef itself. Squid, peeled prawns, half pilchards, pink nipper and 4cm pieces of chicken in Parmesan cheese would be the pick of the baits.

Either anchor or drift near the Sticks on the Kurnell side of the bay for bream, flounder, whiting, trevally and dusky flathead. Small snapper and big porcupine fish can be a pest here at times, especially when the tide slows down.

Towra Wide is worth a shot for dusky flathead using soft plastics and blades in 3-5m. I use the ZMan 4” DieZel MinnowZ or SwimmerZ on a 1/4-3/8oz jighead, or Berkley Gulp 4” Nemesis lures.

The ends of the first and third runways have been fishing well for bream, whiting, trevally and the odd mulloway. The best times have been at night, but don’t forget that going through the daytime will produce fish as well. You could try drifting here, but I prefer to anchor up and berley.

On the northwestern corner of the third runway you will see a cardinal marker. Anchor near here for the best results. The large port markers that mark the channel that leads to Port Botany has been producing plenty of six-spined and fan belly leatherjackets on small pieces of squid or peeled prawns.

If you don’t have a boat you can always try fishing off the beach that runs from Dolls Point to Brighton-Le-Sands. The best baits have been pink nippers and bloodworms. Why don’t you take the kids down there for a fish? If they get bored of fishing, they can always play in the sand.

Carss Park Pool is another place for shore anglers to try out their skills chasing mullet, garfish and luderick while fishing with a float or a small bobby cork. This is a good place to take the family for a picnic and to have a fish. When the kids tire of fishing they can play at the nearby playground.

Further upstream the Captain Cook and Tom Uglys bridges have been producing mullet and the odd bream or two while fishing pudding baits under small bobby corks. Luderick can be caught on the northern and southern ends of the Captain Cook Bridge as well during May.

Small tailor and snapper are in plague proportions at Bald Face and Oatley points. Try using live poddy mullet and yellowtail for dusky flathead and mulloway. The best rig has been the paternoster.

At this time of the year the Woronora River can be a bit hard to fish. The main fish species would be whiting and bream with a couple of duskies thrown in. Live poddy mullet would be the best bait by far, even for the whiting. Remember when using a poddy mullet trap in NSW the trap must have a tag attached to a part of the trap which is at or above water level, with dimensions not less than 80mmx45mm, with BT, initial and surname, year of birth and postcode of the person who sets, uses or lifts the trap. All letters are to be a minimum of 15mm and in a colour contrasting to the tag.

You can only use or have in possession one trap at any one time and the maximum dimensions of a bait trap are 450mm (length) by 350mm (diameter) with an entrance funnel no larger than 60mm in diameter.

When I set mine I make sure that my ID float is a couple of metres away from the trap, as it could otherwise turn the poddy mullet from going in.

Before using a poddy mullet trap I would suggest that you check where you can legally set one. Check out the DPI website for more information.

The sand flats just downstream of Bonnet Bay are producing whiting and bream on the rising tide. You could also try the western side of the old Woronora River Bridge for bream and luderick on the eastern side of the bridge. Just remember to watch the slippery rocks on the eastern side.

A few bass and estuary perch are still being caught further upstream of Prince Edward Park. The odd bream, whiting and dusky flathead are coming in as well.

Further upstream in the Georges River the Moons, Lugarno, Picnic Point and Kelso have been producing good catches of luderick on green weed. Bream have been taking chicken breast, bloodworms, pink nippers and strip of mullet and tuna for those anglers fishing off the shore at Cattle Duffers. The Milperra Bridge is also worth a shot for bream, mullet and the odd mulloway or two.

When you can get offshore the reports that have been coming in have been a bit patchy. Morwong, snapper, pigfish, sweep and trevally have been the mainstay of the catches. May should be a great month for anglers targeting snapper on the close inshore reefs. Try the Wedding Cake (33.55.544 151.15.900) and the Kurnell Car Park (34.01.320 151.14.300).

Bondi, Maroubra and Coogee beaches should start to produce good catches of whiting. Beach and bloodworms would be the go. You could also try using pink nippers.

The point at Tamarama Beach is worth a shot for luderick on a falling tide.

If you have any photos of fish that you have caught recently, you can email them to me at --e-mail address hidden-- with a short description and I will endeavour to get it into my next report.

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