Crab-eaters venture out
  |  First Published: June 2004

A CRAB, either whole or in pieces, makes one of the best baits this month.

Groper, drummer, bream, trevally and morwong all love crabs, which are one of their main food sources, especially off the rocks.

June can be a funny month. Crystal-clear water with no wind seems one of the worst situations to fish but as I found a few years ago, it isn’t always so. Groper love calm days and often lurk over patches of kelp and rocky foreshores looking to pick off crabs.

At times you can even see them swim past. Places with vertical drops into the washes are good spots to drop a whole crab on a 4/0 to 6/0 hook. Your gear has to be robust and strong enough to hold these hard-pulling tanks but with a little patience and endurance you will succeed.

If Mother Nature helps and adds a little swell and a small wash forms around a headland or rocky outcrop, the fishing can become really great.

Drummer, groper, morwong and bream all love fresh crab and will never pass it up, especially if it’s wafting under a whitewater wash. Make sure you match the hook size to what you are chasing.

The rougher the sea, usually, the better the fishing, especially for drummer and bream. Be careful to place yourself somewhere safe away from where the whitewater is lapping over the rocks, though, as no fish is worth an accident or your life.

Some bread as berley with cut-up cunjevoi, crab legs, and a little sand mixed in all you need. The numbers of fish that will come to you is amazing when berleying around the washes.

A six- or eight-wrap beach rod is heavy when matched with a large threadline or Alvey but this is what most rockhoppers prefer. Drop your hook baited fresh crabs, whole or in pieces, into the back of the wash and then get ready to strike.

This sort of fishing isn’t at all hard but when the bait is grabbed you must strike hard and lift the fish away from the edge of the rocks fast. Drummer and groper pull very hard and any slack you give will usually see them get away.

Good spots where you will bump into the rock species around Newcastle are fairly limited but with a little effort you will find them.

Probably the best of them would be the rocks from Newcastle ocean baths right down to the Merewether baths. Some great fish have been taken there in the past. I rarely mention these spots throughout Summer as they both are very packed and a lot of snorkellers and surfers are about, but as Winter is upon us, the water is a bit cooler and you will have a lot more room.

I know collecting crabs around here isn’t the greatest but you will, with a little effort, get enough to fish for a few hours.

It’s not only the rocks that fish well throughout June. Winter is snapper time and the reefs north and south of Newcastle produce a lot of squire and snapper. The salmon are in near-plague proportions on some of the reefs at times but among them can be tailor of good size as well as large bream.

The Hunter river still gives up good-sized jewfish for the live-baiters and it’s probably the last of their run, so getting out there now may pay off.

This can be a funny month and predicting what will happen around here is hard, but if we had it all figured out, the fun of fishing just wouldn’t be there.

No 1,

Former NSWFMEditor Peter Horrobin with a nice drummer taken around rocky washes of the Hunter Coast.

No 2,

A washy gutter with tidal flow is a great spot to drop crab baits, bream, drummer and groper all love these sorts of area’s.

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