Plenty worth chasing
  |  First Published: April 2006

The Easter break usually has calm weather so trips can be planned without getting shot to pieces by inclement conditions.

I always think of big snapper over Easter. I usually take a trip down the South Coast chasing these big bump-headed nose bruisers but this year I’ll stay close to home.

Big morwong also come on the chew around this time and a two-hook dropper or paternoster rig should get you attached to a fish. My favourite bait for mowies has always been fresh green prawn, put on whole , head and all.

Another delicacy worth chasing is squid. These rubbery baits are in numbers in the clear water and all you have to do is find kelp beds and the tasty cephalopods won’t be too far away. A quick cooking tip: For crispier calamari rings, use cornflake crumbs instead of breadcrumbs.

The ocean and the air have cooled down a bit and the warmer water is now quite a way offshore. However ,those delightfully coloured mahi mahi are still hanging around anything that floats in the ocean and they’re still ready for a tussle on light tackle.

At long last Emiel Temmerman has nailed his first marlin, a beautiful stripie that took a trolled lure off Lake Macquarie. Estimated at 65kg, the streamlined fish was gently released to tell his mates of the adventure. Two hours later Emiel hooked and lost a black that just laughed at his 24kg line as it tore off to the horizon.

Close in to Dee Why, there have been small schools of striped tuna on the move. These fish work fast into the wind so stay put and wait for the pelagics to come to you or set up an intercept course.

Most of the Peninsula beaches are producing whiting, Dee Why and the middle of Narrabeen especially.

These little bottom Hoovers are most prolific just before high tide. A diet of pipis and worms is what they are looking for and if you employ these as bait you will get a feed of their sweet flesh.

Just one report of a rock blackfish taken at North Narrabeen on frozen cunje bait. Down at The Spit the blackfish have been very shy with only the occasional fish taken during long sessions. One angler who lives in Mosman travels to Pittwater to collect his weed. All I know is that the secret spot is near the BYRA clubhouse at Church Point.

Pittwater has fired up with early-morning kingfish action at Mackerel Beach. These marauders come in looking for a fight and if you have a live yellowtail or a strip of fresh squid in the water, they will pick on you.

Surface lures such as poppers and fizzers can generate strikes and I have had success with bibless minnows, too.


At the time of writing, Narrabeen Lagoon is closed again. Levels are still high and any rain we get will not dilute this enclosed pool of stationary water. In the stagnant mix, silky, clingy weed grows like wildfire and fouls lures, while Pelican Itch will infect all who dip their toes in the murk.

Long-term plans from our town burghers should include demolishing the sand spit north of the surf club and making the small, constrictive Ocean Street bridge over 150m wide, from the cafe south to the surf club.

This will resemble what the mouth looked like before humans decided to mix it with Mother Nature. Dredging sand from the lake and dumping it on Collaroy Beach to replenish the wash-away is a futile waste of Pittwater and Warringah council monies; time has proved it again and again.

On a more positive note, Joseph Vassallo had a nice day out, capturing a 72cm flathead, bream to 26cm, a couple of leatherjackets and a silver trevally.

I have just spent a few days down the South Coast at Burrill Lake, just south of Ulladulla. We filmed a segment on how to catch sand whiting off the beach. All initially went well, the beach worming, the tackle segment and the rigs. Fact is couldn’t find a single whiting! We caught flathead, bream, salmon and then on the last day nailed two whiting which were photographed more than Heath Ledger.

Monthly tip: Baitfish like frog-mouth pilchards, whitebait and the like pilchards sit better on a set of small ganged hooks. This way the bait doesn’t slump, look unnatural or present a distorted profile. It also copes with the trauma of violent casts and is fairly picker-resistant.

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