The golden stretch goes on
  |  First Published: December 2006

Through Winter, Spring and now into Summer, water temperatures have hardly dropped and it’s been the best stretch of fishing I have witnessed for many a moon.

Usually it’s about now that we are shaking out of a very lethargic season, with bleary-eyed fish coming out of hibernation. But, no, we have had some tremendous fishing on the Northern Beaches with salmon, tailor and now kingfish ripping line from drags.

Outside, snapper came on early and are still scoffing floating baits in ample berley trails. As a very welcome by-catch, blue morwong have been more common than usual and they taste great pan fried.

Reports of land based jew are as common as bills in the mailbox with beaches like Whale, Mona Vale, Newport, Dee Why and Freshwater consistently producing.

At the mouth of the Hawkesbury at least two jewfish over 30kg have been taken. If you want to target these big mothers, you have to learn how to catch your own squid. Big jew didn’t get big by being stupid and falling for frozen service-station bait.

The only bad apple in the barrel has been Narrabeen Lagoon. Being closed (with only the occasional breaching when flooding of low-lying houses was imminent), the backwaters are starting to go septic. Clingy weed is impeding lures and there’s been little action at places that used to be alive with juvenile flathead and bream.

On the other hand, Queenscliff Lagoon has been firing well with mangrove jack, bream and tarpon falling to hard and soft lures. Doug Grant tells me that there are also queenfish in this tropical Jurassic Park. Kinda gives an extra thrill every time you make a cast on this stretch of water.

Let’s have a squiz at what’s been happening over the past month.


Scott Hopewell, Bill Martin and Bob Lemon from Harbord Bowling Fishing Club had the fright of their life when a 160kg blue marlin scoffed a trolled lure from their 6m Haines Mudcrab 2. It eventually came to the boat, a tag was inserted and the fish was released.

Pike on the drop-offs have been taking snapper baits, especially around West Reef and East Reef. The muttonbird invasion is here with a vengeance as hundreds of these birds patrol out to sea. They always coincide with the run of snapper, dammit!

Big seas have regularly hit the beaches but it didn’t stop Pete Thornicraft from chucking a strip of fresh tailor in the suds to see if he could attract any takers. Two salmon found the bait and gave a great account of themselves before being let go.

Casting small soft plastic grubs under moored boats at Clareville, one angler nailed four fat bream. His tip is to look for the oldest boat with the most growth below the waterline. Peninsular locals Steve Brooks, Col and Jimmy Dalgliesh and a few others spent a weekend at Glenbawn Dam where they took a couple of respectable bass.

Reports have been hard to come by this month from Narrabeen Lake. Although still fairly low, there has been a serious lack of fishing in this usually productive stretch of water.

I spent some more time at Bayview Boat ramp recently and watched as a couple of boat owners selfishly held up the ramp as they fiddled with gear, bungs, tie-down straps, trailer lights and the rest. They held up others trying to launch or retrieve their own boats.

Hate to repeat myself but the ramp is for putting the boat in or taking it out. Do all you have to do like load gear, take off/put on straps, erect /take down canopies away from the ramp. If you are on the ramp itself for longer than five minutes, you are doing something wrong.

• Monthly tip: If you are into catch-and-release, bend down the barbs of your hooks with a pair of pliers. Fish will stay connected in a fight if you keep a taut line and by negating the barbs, the whole process leaves little or no oral damage when the fish is finally released.

My thanks to all those who email and fax me so I can pen this column each month and I wish them and all our readers a great Christmas.

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