Full of resolve
  |  First Published: December 2002

Full of resolve

I made three New Year resolutions. Number one is to try to keep the resolution until at least mid-January. Two is to break the resolution only by a majority rule of one and Three is not to make any more resolutions.

A couple of weighable reds have been taken from Long Reef as the weather starts to really warm up but, in the main, the big snapper have proved hard to find over the past month. Chinaman jackets are still going berserk on the deeper reefs with some huge fish coming in on dropper rigs.

Pike have been a nuisance, stealing baits on the close reefs such as Trawleys and The Wrecks off Narrabeen. The seal is back at East Reef, diving down and trying to remove fish from the hook as well as draping itself over the gunwales of small boats with those bleary eyes pleading for a fresh piece of bait.

Trolling lures close to structure has produced some decent bonito. Shallow divers are the best attractors, fished in a pattern to resemble baitfish.

The southern end of Mona Vale, close to the rocks, was the place to score a 17kg (cleaned) mulloway for Jim Hattersley. The fish picked up a squid bait and ran out to sea before Jim knocked the reel into gear, leaned back and set the hook.

Prime time to get down on the beach after that elusive mulloway is four days before and four days after the full moon. That means around January 14 and 22. This timing will increase your chances dramatically.

Whiting have given Dee Why Beach a lift. Worms are the best bait by far. Plenty of soapy jew around both the rail and road bridges on the Hawkesbury. A jew around 20kg was lost at Juno Point.

Dusky flathead are taking hard-bodied and soft plastic lures down the row of starboard marks at the entrance of the Hawkesbury. We had a barrel of fun chucking Slider grubs at the entrance. Then, as the tide was on the make, we headed to Mullet Creek where, once again, plenty of small flathead gave us entertainment for hours.

We did try the leases for bream but strong winds made precise anchoring difficult and casting was a nightmare. After sacrificing a number of lures to the Rack Gods, we gave it away and went back to the lizards.

The port marker off Palm Beach wharf has small kingfish patrolling this well-known bait ground. Salmon were spotted in the deeper water on the northern side of Careel Bay.

I gave Narrabeen Lake a few hits recently as I was testing some new soft plastics. The flathead, although small, were keen to play and in one session I knocked over around 10 fish close to the Sports Academy.

The very next day, fishing the same area, I could manage only three little lizards. Such is fishing.

Chris Lee also chucked hardware around the eastern side of the lake for a very nice sand flathead. Changing to bait, Chris managed a few whiting but none measured up and were returned to grow another few centimetres

Hopefully by the time you read this, the National Recreational Fishing Survey conducted by the Federal Government will have been released. Some very interesting findings here that I'm sure will impact on licenses and monies allocated to fisheries management.

It was thought around 2.5 million people fish in NSW. In fact, it is closer to 990,000. The survey showed that in major population centres the participation rate is only between 12% and 17%. The Northern Territory had the largest participation rate of 33%.

The survey, one of the most thorough and sophisticated ever conducted, did not just rely on telephone canvass and boat ramp samplings. Selected groups from over 44,000 people were given logbooks to complete over 12 months. One interesting observation was that of the sample group that said they fished at least once a year, one-third turned out not to have fished at all.

The survey also showed that 90% of all fish caught still come from 10% of the angling population. How much anglers spend on tackle, fuel, boats and all the ancillaries will make very interesting reading. Can't wait until the full survey is available for general release.

The state Palm Beach wharf is left in most mornings after anglers' overnight fishing escapades is nothing short of deplorable. Bait, cardboard, beer bottles, hooks, line, food containers, paper and general rubbish are left scattered all over the wharf. Bait is cut up and fish scaled on the seats and the residue is left to dry.

The ferry staff are fed up with having to clean up and hose down this area nearly every morning. If this trend continues, the wharf will be made off-limits to the fishing public, just like they did at Palm Beach pool due to the mess left there by mindless idiots.

For those who get up early during the week, every Thursday mornings around 6.35am I give a fishing report on Radio 2SM. I cover from the National Park down south, up to the Harbour, then to the northern beaches. Tune to 1269 on the AM band.

Rules for the rocks.

* Wear proper footwear such as metal cleats for adhesion on slippery rocks

* Never fish the rocks alone

* Always tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back.

* Never take the sea for granted; always be aware of the swell

* No fish is worth your life

* Check exit points in case you do get washed in

* If washed in, swim clear of the rocks, then proceed to a chosen exit point

* Always keep within your comfort zone

* There are old rock fishermen and there are bold rock fishermen. There are no old, bold rock fishermen.

So endeth the sermon.



Coming up hard on the first red of the day. Hopefully the size of the local snapper should improve this month.


Just messing about in boats. As Ratty said in wind in the Willows, there’s nothing quite like it.

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