Slimy mackerel the key
  |  First Published: April 2003

The mulloway, although a here-today-gone-tomorrow phenomenon, have been scoffing offerings like butterflied yellowtail, slabs of salted mackerel and large strips of squid instead of the usually more successful free-swimming livies.

Slimy mackerel have been the exception, with jew jumping on these sweetbreads like there is no tomorrow. Places like East Reef, Box Head, the eastern tip of Lion Island, Reggies, Newport Reef, Long Reef and Northerners have all been holding stations for jew.

The water is still not the pure aqua we expect in April as the currents are still playing silly buggers, but that is a day-by-day proposition. A few kilometers from Barrenjoey, Boultons Reef has had jew close to the bottom. Sound the area and look for blotches of bait and the mulloway will not be far behind.

Out wider, on the 100m grounds, the Chinaman leatherjackets have been eating anything that is lowered down. These ravenous fish have been devouring sinkers, swivels, weights, hooks and any bait, so make sure a heavy leader is employed. The pinkies, or long-finned sea perch, are also in numbers and can be caught if the big jackets are a bit slow on the uptake.

The sea is blue, the waves are clear and there is plenty of whitewater over the large, pronounced gutters. But where are the fish? I wish I had a dollar for all the negative reports from died-in-the-wool beach fishos. Once again, the main fish-catcher has been bloodworms with beach worms a poor second. Roughly in the middle of Mona Vale Beach, where there is a small reef, bream are prevalent in the evening. Farther south Colin Harwood took some large whiting close to the Warriewood headland.

The pipis on North Steyne accounted for a feed of whiting and bream, as well as a 1.7kg flathead for Cec Hendricks and brother-in-law Peter Chapman. It’s best to hunt these bivalve molluscs is on a rising tide close to the waterline. Look for dome shapes in dry sand or attune your bare feet to feel a slight ‘give’ in the wet sand. Crack the shells and secure the meat to the hook by the grisly ‘foot’ and fish up to the high tide.

What a season for crabs! Nearly all who have baptised witches’ hats have come up with a take-home feast of blue swimmers. Mud crabs have also been out on the prowl and the stronger traps have welcomed a plethora of these large-clawed beasts close to mangrove plantations.

The kingfish are still around and getting bolder. Lance Jansen jagged some squid off Palm Beach and immediately put them to good use, snaring a 65cm kingfish, followed by a few throwback rats – magic fun on light spin gear.

That stretch of sand on the Pittwater side of Palm Beach is producing quality bream of an evening. Very light tackle with fluorocarbon leader is the trick. Bloodworms or live nippers will get fish on the incoming tide.

The main source of entertainment in Narrabeen Lake has been dusky flathead. Lure-tossers and poddy mullet-soakers have been reaping a haul of these fish all over the lake. Try the weeded area off the walking track past the large car park on the Wakehurst Parkway, as well as the entrance into Jamison Park. The area close to Pelican Walk is another flathead haunt.

Luderick, or blackfish, are in the deeper holes but because stringy weed is practically non-existent, trusty cabbage from the rocks has been scoring fish. Two jewfish were taken at the back of the shops near the Pittwater Bridge recently, with the largest around 4kg.

Rig ’em right

When rigging whole fish such as pilchards, gar, yellowtail or even prawn, it is important they are facing the right way. If you intend to cast and retrieve, the fish should be pinned facing you. With floated baits, ensure they are rigged head down (which is more natural) as they slowly make their way through the vertical water column.

I get a hell of a lot out of fishing. To try and balance the scales and put a bit back into the greatest sport in the world, I conduct audio/visual fishing talks at recognised clubs for free. It would be an absolute pleasure to come to your club and meet the members. Give me a call on 0418 239 952 to discuss.

I will be towing my trusty boat Zulu down to Ulladulla over Easter to chase some of those big Autumn snapper and enjoy the festivities at the Blessing of the Fleet ceremony. On April 20t (Easter Sunday) I will be giving a series of fishing clinics in conjunction with Paul Howe from Burrill Bait and Tackle, close to the main stage around the marina. Bring the kids along for tips on how to get amongst the big ones and be in for some great give-aways.

From June 8 to 14 I will host another fantastic adventure in the Northern Territory on a brand-new 20-metre mother ship. This magnificent boat has double or twin-share cabins, hot and cold running water and a resident chef to cook your daily catch. We will grapple with big barramundi around Bathurst Island as well as queenfish, threadfin, mangrove jack and myriad other fighting fish from 4.3-metre tinnies complete with your own personal guide. For an all-inclusive $3950 (excluding grog & airfares), you enjoy air-conditioned comfort, al fresco style eating, linen/towels/ sunscreen, all meals and soft drinks, the latest Shimano tackle (or bring your own) plus lures. Also provided are Darwin transfers and the opportunity to fish 24 hours a day if you want. There are only eight spots all up (two already taken), so it’s first in, best dressed. Email or phone me on 0418 239 952.



Quality bream have come from the stretch of sand near the seaplane base at Palm beach. Bloodworms work well here.


A baited witch’s hat net is carefully lowered in search of the tasty blue swimmer crabs that have been plentiful in the Hawkesbury River and Pittwater.

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