May is a time to chase bream, drummer and luderick in the estuaries and off the rocks and to gather slimy mackerel, striped tuna and bonito for bait for the cooler months ahead.
Good places to try for the bream, drummer and luderick off the rocks this month include Tumbledown near Rosa Gully, Ben Buckler at Bondi, McKenzies Point, Mahon Pool at Maroubra Beach, Little Beach behind the old Prince Henry Hospital, Bare Island in Botany Bay, Big Yena off the Kurnell Peninsula, Boat Harbour and Shelly Beach pool. Use baits of sea cabbage, green weed, cunjevoi or abalone gut.
For luderick in the estuaries or off the rocks you will need green weed or cabbage. Use a berley composed of dry sand and chopped weed or cabbage. Each time you drift your float, drop a small ball (half the size of a tennis ball) of berley next to your float.
Remember to bleed your luderick as you catch them to make them better for the table. At this time of year the Georges River will start to have concentrations of luderick along the shore from the Como bridge up to the ramp at the end of River Road at Revesby.
You could also try for luderick in the Woronora River from the entrance up to the entrance of Bonnet Bay. Flathead and bream can also be caught along these stretches. Try strips of salted slimy mackerel, striped tuna and bonito for bait. Other baits you could also try are mullet fillets, chicken and mullet gut and chicken in parmesan cheese.
The frames of these baitfish will also make great bream berley so freeze them for use later or you can freeze them whole for berley. Other fish that love these baits and berley include kingfish, mulloway, silver trevally and flathead.
I have found it best not to bleed slimies, striped tuna and bonito after capture. I take them home and fillet them, put a layer of fillets in a container skin side down, then lightly sprinkle pool salt over the flesh, then add another layer and more salt. Stored this way in the freezer, you will be able to take out what you need because the fillets won’t freeze together. I have had fillets prepared like this in my freezer for up to nine months.
For strip baits for bream and silver trevally the striped tuna and bonito fillets will be too thick. Reduce the thickness by filleting the fillet. The part without the skin is cut up into small pieces for berley while the part with the skin is for bait, allowing your hook point and barb to protrude from the fillet.
Boat anglers who like chasing silver trevally should try the southern side of the Bare Island bombora, Henry Head on a run-out tide, Sutherland Point on any running tide, the western side of the oil wharf on a run-out tide, Molineaux Point on a run-out tide and the Third Runway. In Port Hacking try the sand flats at Lilli Pilli on a rising tide, Deer Park, South West Arm and Bundeena.
You will need to berley at all of these places and fish as light as the conditions will allow. It would also be worth taking a few peeled prawns, pink nippers and beach worms along with the baitfish fillets.
Those who would like to try soft plastics for flathead should go down to the park at the end of River Road at Revesby in the Georges River, the sand flats in Gunnamatta Bay in Port Hacking or the small park in Bonnet Bay. Here you will find plenty of sand and very few snags – great places to learn how to use soft plastics for flathead.
Other fish that will be around this month include tailor, salmon, frigate mackerel, cowanyoung and garfish, all of which will make great baits for later in the year. The salmon and tailor can be caught off the northern end of Maroubra Beach, the southern end of Coogee Beach and the gutter about 300 metres from the clubhouse at Wanda Beach. The Alley at Cronulla is also worth a look just as the shadows start to form over the water.
Ryan Butler from Engadine caught this striped tuna while trolling a green skirted lure off Botany Bay.Reads: 2004