Water is bottle green
  |  First Published: May 2003

With a slow change to cooler conditions, May still has good fishing if the weather will allow us out. The Rain Gods have not been on our side, with days of sogginess, wind and then calm – usually during the week!

As I write this, the current is raging to the south and the water has gone bottle-green. Silver trevally have been taken from West Reef and a few more have come from the Mona Vale grounds. Out past the continental shelf, striped marlin have been keen to hunt down big splashy lures and around the 70-fathom mark, striped tuna are on hand to give the sport enthusiast some fun on light string.

Nick Clark tagged and released a striped marlin in 150 metres of water off Narrabeen. The fish took a Pakula Cockroach fished on 15kg stand-up tackle. However, close in is where the bottom fishing action is, with snapper coming in from the 15-metre grounds off Long Reef and also just off the tip of Barrenjoey Headland. Another place where a 4.5kg red was taken on a squid head was just off the front of Bangally Head, by an angler who was after kingfish on 24kg gear.

We managed some snapper and a couple of rubber-lipped morwong in 20 metres off Bungan on floated yellowtail fillets recently, when the weather was just beautiful. Coming home, off Newport Reef, popper-induced kingfish gave the spin stick a major work-out with more bust-offs than landings.

Most reports indicate the sand whiting are getting bigger although they are still sporadic. Bait that has been scoring well on these fish is tubeworms, or case worms as they are sometimes referred to. Unfortunately, these shoelaces are not available at every tackle outlet, but are worth hunting down.

The council has, at long last, bulldozed open the entrance to Narrabeen Lake and the whiting have gone berserk on the eastern side of the Ocean Street bridge. The flush of salt water has ensured the lure-tossers have been getting more than their share of fish. Bream are there between the weed clumps off the scout hall and near Cromer Golf Course.

There is good blackfish weed to be gathered close to Wakehurst Parkway and it can be frozen for later use. Just off Pittwater Road, a live poddy mullet thrown out in the main channel will get a good look by a predatory flathead. Big eels are a bit of a problem but they give great sport on spider-web gear.

With the opening of Narrabeen Lake there have been some multiple jew captures from North Narrabeen beach, especially after sunset. A double-figure jew was slid up Mona Vale Beach by an unknown angler using large salted slimy mackerel fillets and two 15kg jew were reported from Queenscliff.

Bream are in numbers in the middle of Manly Beach and Curl Curl has produced a few chrome sided fish as well. When the seas are fishable, places like Flat Rock at Curly, Mushroom Rock at Palm Beach and the ledges at Warriewood and Avalon will turn on some bumper drummer fishing. At the time of writing, there is plenty of cabbage bait on the rocks there .

After that lovely rain, predators are standing guard at the entrances to the rivers and creeks awaiting the flush of baitfish on the outgoing tide. On May 17 and 18 there are huge tides which make the river nearly unfishable. With plenty of run in the river, it would be best to target the smaller tides in the morning.

Glenn Vade scored some keeper bream, a nice dusky flathead and a few tailor from the mouth of the Hawkesbury on fresh squid baits. Using squid and fresh prawns, Rob King bagged snapper, tarwhine and a few flathead off the front of Lion Island. He then drifted off Patonga for some more flathead before a school of tailor broke close to the boat.

Lubricated lures

Rob chucked metal lures and boated a few toothy specimens. He said that spraying the lure with WD-40 produced more hits. It’s not the first time I have heard the theory about WD40 attracting fish. It is rumoured that shark oil is a constituent in this aerosol lubricant. Anyone got any ideas on this?

Since the rain, Matt McHugh has been sinking his hooks into a few estuary perch up the Hawkesbury. Where and with what bait or lures he did not indicate in his email.

I have a few presentations coming up, to which all are very welcome:

There will be an evening's theory on May 14 at North Narrabeen, then a day out with well known big flathead and jew expert Greg Joyes from Calm Water Charters. These classes with Greg have been a raging success and will teach you how to get big fish.

On May 21 there will be an evening of theory at North Narrabeen, then a day out on the close northern reefs with Steve Brooks from Careel Bay Fishing Charters on his 12-metre cruiser. We did this a few months ago and all came home with plenty of fish for the freezer. Discover how to catch snapper, flathead and kingfish and learn from an offshore expert.

The evening's theory, plus a day out with one of these professionals, is $170 per person. To book, email me or call on 0418 239 952.

On May 30 at 7pm at the Monster Fishing Clinic at the Como Hotel charter operator Scott Lyons and I will talk about hot spots and techniques in Botany Bay and the Georges and Hacking rivers for $10 with free nibblies and drinks at bar prices. Call 9521 5223 to book.

On June 27 I’ll be guest speaker at the Sea Bees Boating and Fishing Club at Carlingford, phone Ron Abdilla on 0408 285 156. On July 12 I’ll be guest speaker at the Bar Point Fishing Club at Peat Island on the Hawkesbury, phone Peter Kohlmayer on 0429 307 771.

If you would like me to come to your club and give an audiovisual presentation, email me or phone 0418 239 952.

Two-hook rig

For large baits, use a two-hook rig to make sure there will definitely be a connection when striking. Whole tailor, mullet, slimy mackerel and the like will benefit from a hook through the mouth and one pinned on top towards the tail. Remember, folks – big baits catch big fish.



Steve Brooks from Careel Bay Fishing Charters displays a magnificent leatherjacket, taken off Bungan.


Plenty of fish for the barbecue after a sortie off the bommie on the northern side of Barrenjoey.

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