Brisk mornings, bright fishing
  |  First Published: May 2004

THERE’S a chill in the air and that means it is time to break out the beanie again.

The cold weather doesn’t bother me too much these days as the brisk morning and evening sessions bring back fond memories of past Winter fishing. I have always found May to be a very productive time to chase a fish or two in a number of environs.

Rock fishing is always a big drawcard at the beginning of Winter with a mix of straggling pelagic fish and traditional cold-water targets temporarily sharing the same water. May can be the best month of all to snare a stud kingfish off the stones and this is one aspect of my fishing that will receiving close scrutiny this month, especially around the full-moon and new-moon tides.

This season has seen good numbers of frigates, squid and pike spending time under my torpedo float but the big kings so far have not shown themselves. I am still confident of a big tussle as water temps peaked unseasonably late this year which will hopefully turn on some late action.

If you have followed my ramblings over the years then you will be well aware that the land-based run of big snapper will be in full swing by the time you read this. The next three months are prime snapper time so get into ’em.

Drummer or rock blackfish should be a reliable option worth pursuing and, according to divers, some real hogs have been cruising the washes. Pigs of 4kg-plus are a mean feat on any tackle but if a feed is what you seek, stick to the fish below 2kg and let the big girls go free to keep breeding stocks up.


The beach scene is on fire as I type and should be no different for weeks to come. The size of salmon about lately is the best I have seen for years with 2kg to 3kg fish simply run-of-the-mill.

I recently pulled the hooks on a sambo that looked every bit of 10 old-fashioned pounds. The fish was so obese that it struggled to jump clear of the water, like an oversized barra. It still managed to throw the lure but I got a good visual of the fish and I reckon it was as thick as my upper leg. Lucky salmon indeed as I was already visualising it hanging from my wall as a fibreglass piece of art.

Bream are also present in good numbers in most beach gutters in early Winter and are usually of a decent size, easily falling foul to gang-hooked pillies.

Late-night jew sorties have been producing big tailor on slab baits and the action will continue to improve with each moon. The mulloway bite has been slow to start this season but a few have been hitting the sand.

Curiously, low-tide gutters on quarter moons have been the go of late with a 27kg beast and a 19kg fish the best I have heard of. The normally more productive northern beaches have been quiet lately but weed could be the reason for this.

Beaches to the south have been the better bet, which makes for a refreshing change. Unfortunately the warmer water has kept the bronzed hook thieves active, but hopefully the sharks thin out soon and I can more confidently delve into my scant frozen frigate mackerel supply.


The Clyde river has been fishing woefully for quite a while now, so much so that I have not even bothered to get the Polycraft wet for some time. Undeterred, Murray Cooper and Steve Wright fished Nelligen recently and had a fantastic day. The boys scored plenty of quality bream as well as some big estuary perch.

A large percentage of the action came from surface lures in the form of Storm rattling cricket poppers and Smak Skywalkers. Murray reckons some of the EPs sighted under the surface lures were 2kg-plus. But like most fish in the upper size range, they simply turned their noses up at the offerings. Frustrating stuff. The Clyde is the most fickle system I have fished but it certainly isn’t a write-off, as most people tend to think.

A lucky angler released a 104cm monster lizard caught on soft plastic a while back. My next-door neighbour also released an 84cm flatty on a camping trip one arvo, then caught and released the same fish the next morning in the same spot! Sure makes good sense to let ’em go, doesn’t it? This month is probably the last chance at a good lizard session on the Clyde before it goes into Winter shut-down mode.

Offshore fishos have been struggling to find the kings but they should turn on some line-snapping action again before the frigid water sets in. While the kings have been scarce, some good inshore yellowfin to 40kg have showed up on trolled slimies relatively close Burrie Point. Now if only one of those schools could pass a little closer and scoff my live yakka or slimy mackerel off the rocks…

I have not seen a school of inshore ’fin for five or six years so this news is rather exciting in my book. One can only hope – or dream!

Whether you catch ’em off the sand or two at a time off the stones, the reds will be on the chew now that Winter is at our doorstep.

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