Go light for more fight
  |  First Published: December 2008

I always reflect on the start of a new year what I achieved and what I would like to achieve in the 12 months ahead.

I seem to be fishing lighter and lighter, mainly because of two reasons.

Firstly, I enjoy the sport itself and using spider web tackle hones up my rod skills. Secondly, I find I get a lot more fish inquiries on the lighter stuff.

Sure, I get blown to smithereens more than a few times but it gets the adrenalin coursing through the veins and keeps the ticker exercised.

When downsizing tackle, I pay special attention to knots, drags, rod guides and line because there are no beg-your-pardons when a large fish is hooked on the delicate stuff.

It really annoys me when I get tackle failure because that’s totally my fault and, being honest, it’s something that can be controlled. However, in the ensuing fight, trying to pacify big fish on very light tackle is an event in which I have little input and when bust-offs happen, so be it. Re-rig and just get back into it.

Big flathead are a prime example. Most fish can be subdued on 2kg to 3kg gear. However, every so often a big lizard finds your lure/bait attractive and these shovel-headed monsters pull very hard over short distances.

Getting these brutes to the boat or shore to remove hooks for release puts tremendous strain on frail gear and often the fish wins the day.

When floatlining for snapper I employ 8kg fluorocarbon which handles most of Sydney’s offshore fish. However, every so often we strike a patch of snapper on steroids and that’s when the fun begins.

Having a very smooth, yielding drag will get most fish to the boat but occasionally I’m just a passenger. The fish burrows deep, the lines throbs like there’s 500 volts running through it, then twang, and it’s all over.

DPI Fisheries, God bless their little cotton socks, have cleaned and re-installed the Broken Bay FAD and there are mahi mahi there right now. Check out the Fisheries website for the exact GPS marks for the FAD.

There are moves afoot to try to get the taps at Bayview boat ramp on for longer. At the moment they are open from 8am to 5pm. Our local Anglers Action Group is requesting that the taps be available for use from sunup to sundown during Summer.


Good to see that enigma, the teraglin, back at Boultons Reef. West Reef also saw trag while out wider, large nannygai were boated at Esmeralda and Broken Bay Wide. Most offshore anglers I speak to are still cursing the jackets but hopefully the cycle is nearly over and we will be rid of this scourge that’s been with us for four years now.

White Rock at Long Reef has produced undersize kingfish smashing small plastic lures jigged up from the bottom. Yellowtail are everywhere and can be caught on site. Bigger kings are at The Slaughterhouse and near the Queenie Bommie.

As the water temperature heats up, the mahi mahi are becoming thicker. Broken Bay FAD is like a parking station at weekends but the good news is that there are fish for all. If you can get baits past the primary school fish, the Year 12s are deeper.

Thick, sudsy whitewater has meant tailor have come in range off the beaches. Queenscliff’s Danny Wright watched as two anglers nailed fish every other cast recently. Raider lures work well and a session should prove productive.

Deeper beaches such as Avalon, Warriewood, Dee Why and Freshwater would be good places to start. Pick a rising tide and fish it to the top.

Mashing up a pilchard or two and letting it the mush filter into the surf will keep the fish in the zone longer.

Where the rain does help is the Hawkesbury River. Gerry Hemsley found a patch of dusky flathead near Spectacle Island that devoured his strips of slimy mackerel. One very big dusky was lost after its second run.


Don’t you just love it when the women out fish the men? Bob Herring took his wife and daughter for a session off Lion Island in their new bow rider. Wife Wendy boated four tailor and a silver trevally while daughter Peta landed a flathead, two flounder and a wrasse. Bob’s contribution was two throwback flatties and a huge tangle that took over 20 minutes to undo.

Close to the entrance of Narrabeen Lagoon in the late evening, sand whiting head out to sea on an outgoing tide. Unweighted beach or blood worms have taken these delicacies but light tackle is a must, otherwise fish get spooked and avoid your bait.

Collaroy resident Damian Lovett likes nothing better than his beloved fishing. He had a modicum of success when he nailed two bream and a flathead on a pumpkinseed shad near the Environment Centre recently.

• Monthly Tip: In salt water, rust is our constant enemy. Coat all metal items such as knives, scalers, gaffs, etc, with a wipe of vegetable oil which is long lasting and non-polluting.

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