THE shortest day of the year occurs this month – then we might start heading back to those warmer mornings where the water doesn’t freeze the feet or numb the fingers.
Yeah, I know it’s hard to get motivated in Winter but the fishing is usually very predictable and so are the conditions.
John dory are great targets during the colder months and are showing up in numbers around the yacht clubs, Mackerel Beach and West Head. Live bait is a prerequisite to get a feed of these and 1kg line is fine – there is no fight whatsoever from these big-mouthed predators. I set live baits at different depths under bobby corks and berleying up to attract bait. Where there is bait, the ghostly dory won’t be too far behind , picking off the stragglers. The only drawback to the 1kg line is when a mulloway, kingfish or even a large bream snaffles the live bait!
The drift off Narrabeen is producing chunky tiger flathead with the occasional red-spot whiting to add to the creel. West and East reefs are still holding kingfish and all you have to do is look for bait schools on the sounder. The kings won’t be far away.
Small snapper have come from Boultons, The Whale, Trawleys and close in to North Head. Bigger fish are at Long Reef, with Arnie Giseldo scoring three fish to 4kg from 15 metres of water just to the north of the reef. The snapper wolfed down slimy mackerel heads and Arnie reports that he is sure there are bigger fish that need tempting with bigger baits.
The bommie at Queenscliff is alive with yellowtail and small rat kingfish. Fly anglers have had a ball on the rat kings using sinking Deceiver flies.
Pushing up to the perch grounds off Budgewoi, Steve Brooks from Careel Bay Fishing Charters scored a bag of long-finned sea perch, dory, big trevally and, he thinks, some unstoppable kingfish. A few sharks were also taken and quickly released.
Steve also reports toadfish being a nuisance at Broken Bay Wide and Esmeralda, with these gnawing pests scything through line.
Rock anglers are enjoying a good run of blackfish at the moment. These hard-fighting fish are eating the plentiful cabbage weed that can be found on most ledges, with enough to kick in for berley.
Due to water clarity and small surf, late-season whiting have been reluctant to come out and play. Most fish are being taken when the sun is off the water, usually going on dusk. However, big blue-nose Winter bream are there, taking fresh worm baits as the tide comes up to full.
If the fishing is slow off the beach, move to the corners where sand meets rock. Often this will turn things around and make it start to happen.
A flurry of crab activity had anglers reaching for their witch’s-hat traps but this could all be over by now. It is a fallacy that crabs are present only for the Summer months. However, during Winter, their appearance is more sporadic.
Young Jesse Gusavac nailed his very first jew in Pittwater recently. Mum Lisa tells me that Jesse is now addicted to the sport and can’t wait to get out there and wet a line.
Small bream seem to be everywhere in Narrabeen Lake at present. To overcome these pickers, use larger hooks and larger baits so at least the bigger fish will have a chance at the prize.
A sumptuous feed of river garfish was the result for young angler Graham Lester. Using a bubble float and bread dough, he took home enough fish to feed Mum, Dad, sister and the cat.
Before a beach session, get down at low tide and bury some berley at the waterline. Then come back and fish the same spot on the incoming tide.
This way you will be fishing right over a rich food source. I suggest that you berley up a couple of gutters, just in case someone beats you to the punch and comes away with a full creel, not really knowing why.
If you have any information for this column, whether it is from a club, a success story or just about a trip where nothing went right, email me at --e-mail address hidden-- or fax 02 9918 2049.
The author with a quality snapper which gulped down a floated pilchard bait.Reads: 541