So many options, so few days
  |  First Published: February 2006

There are just so many options open for great fishing this month and only so many hours in the day.

Head to the beaches for some good fun with the family, or if you are a diehard, some serious fishing. Big jewies have been picked up along many of the beaches of late but only those putting in the time to target big fish are taking them.

It is a late finish when it doesn’t get dark until 9pm. This is when you start putting in the hours in search of big jewies. Remember, too, stick to your target and don’t be fooled into down sizing and chasing the salmon, tailor and bream that tend to be pickers during the evening. If you do, you can be guaranteed a big jewie will take your bait and you will be ill-equipped to handle the big fish.

There are more than enough school jew around to keep you interested between whoppers but keep plenty of spare hooks and traces in the tackle box because the whaler sharks are everywhere lately, knocking off baits and hooks after dark.

Which beach doesn’t seem to matter as there have been fish taken on most local beaches over the past few weeks.

We have extra options again after they have been missing for the past few years – the northern beaches of Coalcliff and Stanwell Park are now available without a round trip over the mountain, thanks to the new Sea Cliff Bridge. These beaches have always been great producers of quality fish of all species and the view over the ocean on the drive up isn’t bad, either.

During the daylight hours whiting, flathead and dart are cruising most beaches, hence the presence of the jewies. Beach worms have been the pick of the baits.


The rockhoppers are having a good time, too, with just about all species on the chew.

If you want some pelagic spinning action try Bass Point, Blowhole Point, Honeycomb, Windang Island and even Wollongong Harbour breakwall. And now the coast road is back open you can try Coalcliff for bonito, salmon, frigate mackerel, tailor, mackerel tuna and kingfish.

If you want to soak live slimy mackerel, yellowtail or frigate mackerel, add Bombo and Marsdens to the list because this is the month for marlin, large kings and the odd longtail tuna. Try live squid for the kings if you can get them.

There are a few nice bream in many of the washes if you use lightly weighted royal red prawns or pilchard pieces. Five or six fish up to a kilo is the norm.

Poking around the washes are plenty of salmon and tailor ready to grab a pillie piece early in the morning, while the royal reds could even flush out the odd nice drummer.

Towards the end of the month the blackfish will get a move on and the small schools in the harbours and around the headlands will grow to present viable targets over the next few months.

Lake Illawarra and the Minnamurra are now at their peak with heaps of flathead taking all those plastics, live prawns and poddy mullet. Bream are under the bridges during the evenings and there are some quality blackfish taking weed or squirt worms along the edges of the weed beds.

In the lake there are heaps of chopper tailor around the drop-off and in the channel and garfish around the caravan parks at Windang. Up in the feeder streams there are flathead, bream and heaps of mullet if you use a bread berley.

Some of the deeper holes even hold the odd estuary perch, if you are lucky.

The prawns have been going great guns over the past few darks with scoopers getting a few kilos of large prawns on good nights so this month should be another good dark.


Offshore action is just bubbling along with good currents and plenty of fish of every variety, particularly for the bottom-bouncers. Drop a bait down to most of the reefs and you won’t know what you will pull out – trag, small samson fish, kingfish, trevally, tailor, leatherjackets and quite a few nice snapper up to 2kg with the odd larger fish thrown in.

Over the sand it’s flathead time with most of the recognised places from Stanwell Park south to Kiama producing bag limits most days with the larger fish being taken along the edges of the sand and reef.

For the sport fishos the next few months are heaven with all the warm-water species coming out to play. Make sure you have a good supply of live slimy mackerel or yellowtail each time you venture out because it is marlin time on the close reefs and beyond.

Bandit, Wollongong Reef, the Trap Reef and the South East Grounds are all good spots to try for marlin. Little blacks to 80kg-plus are about so you can either anchor and wait or slowly troll your live baits.

Further offshore there have been striped marlin from the Trap Reef to the continental shelf and on the Kiama Canyons, while over the shelf there have been reports of the odd big blue coming up for a look.

The FAD, wave recorder and trap markers are holding plenty of mahi mahi from tiddlers to fish of 8kg with a few bigger ones hanging wide of the schools of smaller fish. Again, live baits are scoring consistently, even when the place is crowded.

If you like trolling there are the marlin and dollies along with wahoo, jellybean yellowfin and striped tuna out wide so you can have a good mix on the right day.

In closer there are plenty of kings in all the usual spots around the islands and Bass Point, along with some rainbow runners and even a stray cobia.

If you like tossing lures there are small kings around the Port Kembla breakwalls and most of the deeper headlands, along with salmon, frigates, mackerel tuna, bonito and tailor – just look for the birds.

If you put the pick down and throw over some berley there are nice snapper over the reefs along with trag, kings, samson fish and trevally. Just remember there are just as many hammerheads and whalers attracted to the berley, particularly during the evenings.

So get out there because this is one of the best months of the year and remember, fish light for more fun and take only what you need for a feed.


It’s flathead time in the lake and believe it or not with all the soft plastics available these days the good old double tail green twister still works a treat.


You can have great fun around the FADs this 8-kilo dolly fell to a small live yellow tail fished on 2-kilo tackle and put up a great fight.


There are a few nice little snapper over the reefs if you get up early and use a bit of berley.

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