Jackets browse the shore
  |  First Published: April 2006

This month should see plenty of leatherjackets feeding along the rocky shores of Port Hacking, while dusky flathead will be still trying to sun themselves on many of the sandbanks in Port Hacking and Botany Bay.

You could also target flatties up in the shallow areas of the Georges and Woronora rivers.

There will be plenty of silver trevally in the deeper parts of Botany Bay, around Osborne Shoals and Jibbon Bombora. Areas like The Sticks, Brighton-le-Sands and Dolls Point should hold numbers of whiting and flounder.

Drummer and bream will build up in the washes off the rocks, while the beach around Cronulla at dusk would be a good to chase a few tailor and mulloway.


This is a good time around southern Sydney to stock up on slimy mackerel, mullet, yellowtail, squid, garfish, tailor and frigate mackerel in the bays of Port Hacking and the wider areas of Bate Bay and Botany Bays for bait for the Winter ahead.

You also pump pink nippers, pull beach worms and collect cunje from the rocks. All will be great bait if you prepare them correctly before freezing them. You will also need to make sure that you don’t go over your bag limits or harvest these in no-take zones.

To help you have better bait during the Winter, here are a few tips on preparation and storage.

Cunjevoi: Cut the cunjevoi in half with a knife. Use the top half for bait but take out the rest of the flesh and the guts from the bottom half for berley. Layer the meat into a plastic container, lightly sprinkling pool salt over each layer, then label and date the container and put it in the freezer.

Squid: Fresh is definitely best when fishing for mulloway and kings but if you get a few extra squid you can store them in snap-seal plastic bags, ensuring you squeeze out the bulk of the air before sealing it. Date the bags and lay them out flat so that the squid don’t bunch at the bottom on the bag.

Baitfish: You can freeze whole yellowtail, slimy mackerel or frigate mackerel but they tend to go a bit mushy when thawed. I prefer fillet each fish and lightly sprinkle pool salt over the meat side and store in snap-seal freezer bags or a plastic container. Shake up the container a bit so that the salt will spread over the entire fillet.

Garfish, mullet: Whole fish or fillets, salted or unsalted, can be frozen in plastic containers or bags.

Beach worms: To use in a day or so roll the worms in dry sand and pack in newspaper and store them on the lowest shelf in the fridge. To freeze, dip the live worms in a mix of one part methylated sprits to two parts sea water for one minute to kill them, sprinkle lightly with sale and store in small snap-lock bags.

Pink nippers: Scotty Lyons showed me the best way to keep them. Tip them out onto a paper towel and dry the water off them, then place about 20 into a Chinese food container and freeze. You will amazed at how well they freeze and how good a bait they are when they have thawed.

Don’t forget, the DVD A Day on the Bay, by Scotty and me, covers plenty of bait-handling and storage methods as well as everything else you need to know about fishing this area.



The author with a couple of quality leatherjackets caught in Port Hacking.

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