MARCH and April are times when you can plan a fishing trip with some degree of certainty about the weather.
The water is still warm and there aren’t the strong changes that usually start and end with unfishable wind. Close reefs will be host to bigger snapper, morwong and leatherjackets. My evening sorties for jew, both off the beach and outside, will now be more comfortable due to the stable weather. Prime areas that fire in March are the Hawkesbury River, the lower end of Pittwater and close reefs like Boultons, Trawleys, Reggies and Northerners. Fresh bait and a consistent berley trail are still needed to catch fish regularly.
Steve Brooks from Careel Bay Fishing Charters has been braining the kingfish on East Reef and off Bungan. All on board had their arms stretched as these hard-fighting fish tested rods, reels and the anglers’ stamina. Steve reckons at least four or five fish have been following up a hooked kingie every time.
Flathead, both tiger and sand, are on the regular drifts and there is a mile of big slimy mackerel out there. Slimies make excellent stand-by bait when filleted, rubbed with butcher’s or flossy salt and packed in zip-lock bags and frozen or used fresh.
A couple of decent mulloway have come from Long Reef with one fish going 18kg cleaned. It was taken on a butterflied yellowtail and the jew were ignoring live baits that evening. Black Road has bait (as long as the out-of-town pros don’t run a net around the whole lot), while there are reports of big snapper coming in from Long Reef Wide, Jurassic Park and Good Property. It seems the northern areas of the reef are the more productive grounds at the moment and should stay that way for March and April.
The whiting fest continues with Narrabeen, Dee Why, Curl Curl and the middle of Palm Beach all producing the goods. Beach worms and bloodworms are the gun baits, fished on a half-metre of trace. Small swallow tail dart are a menace as they jump on worm baits when anglers reel in through the shallows. Using hooks in a baitholder pattern (small barbs on the shank holding up the bait) will stop worms from slumping unnaturally to the bend of the hook. Use just enough weight to allow the rig to catch in the sand then move again.
As the tide waxes and wanes, the size of the ball sinker needs to be changed to allow this catch/move scenario to happen using the least amount of lead possible.
Best times for a beach fish this month are from the 17th onwards with the later tides. However, with a full moon on the 7th, I will be down at Narrabeen or Newport Beach giving it a go for tailor with pilchards or garfish on a set of 5/0 or 6/0 ganged hooks
A 1.9kg bream was plucked from Walker Point in Broken Bay on a fresh Hawkesbury prawn. This giant is just one of several large bream reported lately.
Using hard-bodied, deep-diving minnows in bright colours in Mooney Mooney Creek, Scott Devlin secured three bream up to a kilo. Ian and Sue Whatson landed four bream on unweighted, peeled prawns off Kangaroo Point late one evening on the slack tide. Scaled and gutted, a local restaurant kindly cooked them up into a sumptuous feed for the holidaying couple.
Large eels have dominated catches in Narrabeen Lake recently, with one monster reported as ‘thick as my leg’ by a frustrated angler using live poddy mullet as bait. Whiting are all over the lake, with the flats producing fish for the stealthy right through the day. The big tailor reported last month are still there in the deeper parts of the lake and can be taken with a flesh bait or lure. Small flathead, hiding on the drop-off, have been taking live nippers and whitebait near the Ocean Street entrance on the outgoing tide.
I conduct fishing clinics throughout the year to help people get into fish consistently. However, getting kids into fishing is high on my priority list. Please let me know if you would like me to do a kids’ clinic, maybe one Saturday afternoon or a day during school holidays. If I can get the numbers, I will let you know the date and time via NSWFM. Email me if you are interested.
• Don’t forget the Fishing and 4x4 Show at Darling Harbour from March 18 to 21. There will be plenty of things to see and do for all the family. I will be on the Fishing Monthly stand from Friday onwards. Please drop by and say hello.
• Monthly tip: I have often been asked about bait scents. These pungent perfumes are now widely available in most tackle shops, the blurb on the packet bleating how they will dramatically increase your catch rate. Yes, I have tried them and, yes, I have had success. However, I have used them only on lures to add the sense of smell to an otherwise odourless inducement.Reads: 744