Seeing red
  |  First Published: February 2003

The outside scene has picked up and this month those big bump-nosed snapper should be back on the agenda.

For those who fish Long Reef, try Jurassic Park, Good Property, October Grounds and Reef Wide. Farther north, Reggies, Boultons, Esmeralda, Broken Bay Wide and The Slaughterhouse will all be holding big fish.

As always, use heaps of berley to get the reds in a dancing mood and then float well-presented baits down a liberal trail. The 20-metre to 45-metre areas off Bungan are still coughing up some huge six-spine and fan-tailed leatherjackets. Fresh Hawkesbury prawns or strips of squid on a super-strong long-shank hook is the recipe for success here.

Les Storwell and wife Dianne have been braining the blackfish off Mona Vale rock pool and at The Basin. They have a special spot where they score their weed but they would not let me in on this information.

Down at Harbord and Curl Curl, the blackfish have also been a feature and keen luderick fisho Alan ‘Scoobie’ Lewis has been having regular success at The Spit.

The southern platforms at The Hole in the Wall at Avalon have produced snapper and a few stud kingfish have been hooked and lost. The fishing off the Barrenjoey Peninsula platforms will only get better in February and March. Drummer have been hard to coax and plenty of berley is needed to get them out of their hidey-holes. Still by far the best bait for these rock-dwelling brutes is abalone gut, closely followed by fresh-cut cunjevoi.

Great to report at least a couple of jewfish captures. One 18kg beast was dragged up South Mona Vale beach after it ate a cut pilchard. Craig Nesbitt landed a smaller fish off North Narrabeen Beach on a bunch of beachworms intended for smaller fry like whiting and bream.

Those bait-stealers, the swallowtail dart, have been making a nuisance of themselves as they attack worm baits dragged in across the shallows on most beaches.

My pick of the days for a fish off the beach for jew are February 21, 22 and 23, as there is a late evening high tide four days after a full moon. Don’t be afraid to use big baits – remember that big baits catch big fish and they get bypassed by annoying little pickers.

Stud bream

It is around this time of year that Pittwater and the lower Hawkesbury really start to fire for stud bream. These fantastic fish venture into shallow water looking for an easy feed as the sun sinks below the hills. With ‘prestige’ baits like live nippers, black crabs or live bloodworms in among a constant trickle of chook pellet berley, an evening/night session will produce some astonishing results. Places to try in Pittwater are just off the seaplane base, 30 metres from the pillbox at West Head, the moorings at Church Point, Long Nose Point and the Western Foreshores.

In the Hawkesbury, places like Bar Point, Dangar Shoals, Milson Island, Petes Bight, The Vines and Wobby Shore are all proven producers of large bream.

The kingfish are getting bigger and I have been upping my line class to give me an even chance in a fight. By the time you read this, lime-green frigate mackerel will have entered Pittwater and will be skimming around wharves and jetties, terrorising the local baitfish population.

Narrabeen Lake has really been very co-operative to the lure-tossers with plenty of reports of bream and flathead falling to hard-bodied lures as well as soft plastics. The spit near the Sports Academy, Jamison Park, Pipe Clay Point, near the cricket practice nets, Woolworths and under the Ocean Street bridge are all worth a try.

My three-night Monday fishing clinics at North Narrabeen start again from February 3. Learn how to catch bigger fish consistently and I’ll disclose the local hot spots that really fire. Plenty of take-home material to study and cost is only $60. Phone Mark at Narrabeen Bait and Tackle on 02 9970 6204 to reserve your place. Ladies are especially welcome.

I am also conducting a one-evening theory class with guide and NSWFM writer Greg Joyes from Calm Water Charters on March 5. Then we’ll go out for a day on his boat. Greg is a specialist in catching big jew and flathead inside Broken Bay. Greg and I will give step-by-step instructions on how to get the big and then put it all into practice aboard his boat. Numbers are limited. All-inclusive cost is $170 – email or me or phone 0418 239 952.

Another ramp

Because the boat ramp at Careel Bay, North Avalon, is now closed, how about we canvass Pittwater Council to build another boat ramp at, say, Governor Phillip Park at Palm Beach?

It should be sponsored by Waterways, which collects our boat licence and rego fees but gives back little in return in our area. It really is a return to the dark ages when there is only one public boat ramp to handle trailer boats for the whole of Broken Bay/Pittwater.

After dark

As the sun slips below the horizon, fish lose their shyness and move out to fossick in very shallow water.

The intertidal zone, where tardy marine life may have not retreated back to cover, is a prime hunting ground for flathead, whiting and bream.

Capitalise on this scenario by using light tackle and unweighted baits in these very shallow areas.



The author with a quality snapper from the inshore reefs off northern Sydney. The bigger fish will come to the fore this month and there should be some regular hauls of nice reds.


Fly-fishing at the entrance to Narrabeen Lake is productive for flathead and whiting.

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