A big improvement
  |  First Published: December 2006

Warm days and the first trickle of warm water have certainly made a big improvement and it really doesn’t matter whether you’re fishing offshore, on the rocks or beaches or in the river, there are fish around and you should bring home a feed.

I’m probably the last person in Australia to start chasing snapper on soft plastics but after a few successful sessions I’m well and truly hooked. Being a super-fussy (spoilt) bugger, I have to say the lack of finesse needed for results is a tad disappointing but the average size of the fish taken makes up for the apparent ease of capture.

My last trip few trips have been good with the most recent producing seven snapper. Certainly that’s not many fish but with four snapper over 3.5kg and the rest around 5kg, it was very enjoyable indeed.

I can fully understand the appeal flicking plastics around for reds. No messy pilchards, berley or anchoring, just early starts, some jig heads and your favourite shads or stickbaits.

Those fishing with bait have also found some nice reds, with reefs from 35m to 45m off Grassy Head and Middle Head the most reliable.

Again, early starts seem to be the go. Pick a likely pinnacle, set the anchor and start a steady berley trail. If there are fish around you should have some action within 20 minutes. Some days it may take longer.

I used to give each spot around 40 minutes to produce a fish – no action in that period and it was time to move. Overall it’s been a pretty good year for snapper with most days producing fish.

Heading south has also been very rewarding with some terrific kingfish action around Fish Rock and Black Rock. Large schools of sauries have moved in and local and some travelling kingfish have been having a field day on them.

Most of the kings have been 5kg to 7kg but there are certainly some bigger ones around. I’ve had some brutal fights with kings up to 20kg lately with some wins but plenty of losses. Surface lures wound fast across the surface seem to be the go although we did have some success with sizable bloopers chugged steadily back to the boat. Whatever you try, just mix up the retrieve and see what happens.

Those fishing livebaits and fresh quid have also fared quite well. Since you’re not allowed to anchor and baitfish around these location anymore, most anglers have been drifting or slow trolling.

The current has been running very hard lately, making slow trolling livies pretty demanding. It’s probably best to drift past, pull the baits in and motor back up-current and start again.

There also have been some nice snapper down deep at both locations and some 4kg to 6kg yellowfin tuna at Fish Rock. All in all, it’s well worth heading south for a little action.


Rock fishos are still enjoying some tailor action around dawn and dusk and there have been some good jewfish caught once the sun goes down. Tailor heads seem to be doing the damage – cast out as soon the tailor stop biting.

In the mighty Macleay things have picked up also. Some big lizards got the show started with fish up to 6Kg falling to baits and lures. The run-in tide has been the go with the flathead enjoying the marginally warmer tidal push.

Jewfish have also became active, taking lures and livebaits in the lower reaches. Those fishing after dark are also getting some quality fish. Most of the jewfish have been 7kg to 10kg with a few 12kg to 16kg fish poking around. There’s always a chance of finding bigger fish, it’s all about putting in time on the water.

Those heading into the freshwater reaches have been rewarded with good numbers of quality bass. We normally don’t get too many small bass around here with most fish 30cm and up and this season has been pretty good for the bigger fish. I haven’t heard of too many monsters caught but there seems to be a steady trickle of 40cm-plus fish caught.

It’s been a good month for fishing around South West Rocks and with some even warmer water due to arrive shortly, it’s a pretty fair to say things will only get better.

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