Time to hit the reds
  |  First Published: April 2004

I JUST love April – this is when the really big snapper come to the fore. The weather should be a lot more predictable and this month I will spend time at Boultons, Reggies, Esmerelda and Newport reefs, floating down baits in search of these aqua-spotted beauties.

There have been some calm days outside where it’s been possible to water-ski to New Zealand. That little bit of current which made fish peckish occasionally drops to zero and the fish stop biting. While there is a trickle of current, snapper have come in from Long Reef, Newport Reef, Northerners and Boultons. A magnificent 4.7kg fish was pulled from The Whale on a salted strip of slimy mackerel.

Marlin are still being sighted and hooked from the 70-metre grounds outwards. One boat skipper saw what he thought were logs in the water. On closer inspection it was two or three marlin stretched out, enjoying the sun.

Early this month there are small tides when the Hawkesbury is at its friendliest, allowing a larger window to fish before the current makes getting light gear to the bottom nearly impossible. The bream tend to get a little larger, with places like The Vines, Wobby Shore, Pumpkin Point, Marlo and The Icicles good spots to soak bait.

Small tides keep the berley in close, getting fish to the zone, not distributing it 100 metres downstream. A full moon on the 5th, coupled with an 8.30pm high makes the beach sound very attractive for tailor and maybe even a jew.


The Hawkesbury is still alive with jewfish. Three mulloway over 18kg have been reported with at least a dozen fish under 10kg coming from Juno Point, Dangar Shoals, the Railway Bridge and from Kangaroo Point. A mate lost a fish at the boat estimated close to 20kg off Gunyah Beach (he is still wearing a black armband!). He was drifting large fillets of mullet down a berley trail.

That magic spot under the expressway road bridge has accounted for at least 10% of all fish caught. Fresh squid or butterflied yellowtail are the winning baits.

For those who love flicking light plastics, try the oyster leases in Mooney Mooney Creek. Small greeny-brown grub tails are working well fished on 1/16 oz. jig heads.

It was not a successful day for Josh Shein and Bernie Kelly as they trolled deep-diving lures around Careel Bay in search of kings. After a stop at Barrenjoey Bommie, then a drift in Broken Bay, a couple of flounder and a leatherjacket were the only evidence that they had been fishing.

Enterprise Marine’s chief mechanic, Alex Anderson, picked up a nice feed of flathead doing a lazy drift up Pittwater recently. Not big fish, but enough to get a nice bag of fleshy fillets.

Most beaches are still home to sand whiting. I don’t know how long this will continue but here’s hoping for at least a few weeks more. A rising tide, beach or bloodworms and around 4kg line will get you into a feed of these dogged surf dwellers. As the tide reaches its highest mark, tailor have been coming within casting distance and can be taken on chrome lures as well as gang-hooked garfish or pilchards.


Working in between the clumps of weed off Deep Creek in Narrabeen Lake, Tony Hitachi caught and released three flathead on soft plastic double tails. I threw a hard-bodied lure off the sand spit near the fitness centre for a heap of throwback flatties and a solitary bream. Water quality in the lake improves year by year, despite all the urban development going on around the foreshores. This is due to better control of the stormwater run-of by the local councils and positive action from the EPA.

Brent Faraday waved his fly rod round Manly Lagoon for a catch of four bream, two tailor and two flathead. Walking the grassed area of the lagoon, he had most success on a Baited Breath fly.

Once again I will be spending Easter at the Blessing of the Fleet in Ulladulla, conducting fishing clinics on the Saturday and Sunday in the main wharf arena. There’s great entertainment in the evening with The Other Three Tenors and ‘The King’ in concert. Dave Cazalet is one of the best Elvis impersonators you will ever see and a mad-keen fisho. If you are down there, please come by and say hi.

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