Reach for a beach
  |  First Published: December 2003

WELL, here we are in a New Year: First job is to get rid of the flab accumulated over Christmas and what better way than to walk the beach in search of fish?

With a full moon on January 8 with a high tide around 9.30pm, I’ll be down at a local beach in search of jewfish. Hopefully it will be a balmy, still evening when you can sometimes smell when fish are about.

Four days before and four days after the moon also augur well in the quest for a beach mulloway. I know if I put in the hours I will strike paydirt. If you see me down there – come and say hello. I always welcome company.

Large leatherjackets have been domiciled at The Wrecks off Narrabeen and are responding well to whole green prawns fished on a dropper rig.

Snapper should be getting bigger and will be coming in close to get a feed off the rocks. Late January sees the 6kg-plus models caught from Broken Bay Wide, Esmeralda, Long Reef Wide and off Newport Reef. Close grounds like Trawleys, The Mud Hole and Good Property will also fire if the weather is warm. Plenty of berley of mashed fish, wheat, corn, chook pellets and a dash of tuna/pilchard oil is needed to get these beautiful fish in a playful mood.

There have been plenty of whiting from the beaches. Sure, some haven’t quite made the legal limit of 27cm, but in the main most have been take-home size. In previous Januaries , my dairy shows The Pines at Narrabeen, Mona Vale South and Dee Why have produced fish. Snapper are already coming in from Mushroom Rock at Palm Beach, as well as Long Reef and Curl Curl platforms.

There have been squid taken from these rock platforms, with some used as fresh bait while some are destined for the deep fryer. Cunjevoi was the attractor for a 4.2kg groper from the rocks at Harbord. Glenn Hughes and Pete Marif had a tough time to get this fish out from its habitat, but after a weigh-in and a couple of happy snaps, the fish was gently rolled back into the water.

Just to the south of the stormwater outlet at Newport, bream and whiting are keen to bite right to the top of the tide. Fresh worms are required and don’t be afraid to walk south until you find fish.

Live nippers produced a bag of bream for Neil Hartford fishing close to the rocks at Flint and Steel. These stud fish came on at the top of the tide and kept on the bite for over an hour. Small jew have been around the road and rail bridges, with some fish over 3kg. A cut pilchard fished down deep on a making tide will get fish.

Bigger fish are up Smith Creek and Coal and Candle Creek and a live yellowtail will not go astray. Fish the top or bottom of the tide, but give the big tides around the 20th of the month a miss, as there is too much water between fish. Keep an eye out for river traffic because it gets very busy here at this time of the year.

Wading out from the new works close to the War Vets Home, Bernie Harrigan had his first taste of success on lures in the lake. Using small deep-divers, Bernie nailed two flathead and an errant tailor.

The prawns are still running on the dark in Narrabeen Lake. A couple of bream taken by local spin guru Edward Ingram had their stomachs full of prawns. Trolling small deep divers around the lake, Edward caught 10 sizeable bream in an hour in his canoe. Robert Marich contacted me to recount the good old days when his dad used to cycle to the lake from Manly and many was the time he would return with countless whiting to feed the family.


Make sure you have a ruler and a NSW Fisheries book showing size and bag limits of the fish you’re likely to catch. There are a lot more Fisheries compliance officers around now and it would be an act of injustice if you were caught being ignorant of the rules.

If in doubt, put it back. No fish is worth a fine and your hard-earned reputation tainted.

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