It’s only a few months before we start to feel the warming rays of the sun on our backs again. Mind you, I’ve been down to my shirt when the sun is overhead on many an occasions this Winter so let’s hope it lasts.
Instead of heading out wide and donating to OPEC’s coffers, I’ve been concentrating on the close grounds and have been rewarded with snapper, tailor, trevally and leatherjackets.
Because water is so much clearer in Winter, stealth comes into play with a far more gentle approach such as ultra-light tackle, heaps of berley and keeping noise and movement down to a minimum.
Trolling has seen striped tuna out wide and there has been a showing of bonito close in to the washes. Albacore showed up past Broken Bay Wide but were hard to entice. No sign of yellowfin yet – maybe in the next few weeks. Remember, sharp hooks will up the catch rate on trolled lures as fish hit hard and then retreat.
When that westerly wind blows, it kills the surf so things usually get a little quiet on the beach scene. However, just to show that mulloway are not just a Summer species, the jewfest continues with fish taken from that favourite possie, North Narrabeen. James Onagishu landed two jew to 9kg and dropped another one on large tailor fillets fished close to shore.
Chris Lesley has been getting amongst the drummer off the rocks using abalone gut and peeled prawn. With the calmer weather, it is possible to harvest cunjevoi baits off the rocks, a bait that takes well to the freezer. Drummer and groper love this squishy attractor and it often proves to be the gun bait when all else fails.
When we do get those wild storms and the seas kick up, target the sheltered areas because this is where fish tend to aggregate. Beach fishing can get very productive in rough water and as a bonus you usually have the place to yourself.
There have been reports of john dory at Mackerel Beach haunting the bait schools right on the deep drop-off. Live yellowtail is prime bait for dory, which are in numbers where bait gathers.
Hairtail are in The Cowan system but once again are sporadic. No moon and no wind seems the best time to get this toothy bumper bar because light on the water seems to spook fish. Late report of blue swimmer crabs in Mooney Mooney and also around Milson Island. There are a few jennies (females) that have to be returned but there are enough solid bucks (males) to fill a large cooking pot.
Although a virus has savaged the oysters in the Hawkesbury, bream have not been put off and can be taken close in to the leases. A rising tide offers better fishing with at least half a metre of water covering the top of the racks. Fish the shaded side of the lease with bait or lures for those big winter bream the Hawkesbury is famous for.
Huge evening tides from the 20th of this month will mean surging water and fish will go into retreat. Early morning neap tides at the beginning of the month are prime times to go search for that fat bream and flathead.
Using fresh Hawkesbury prawns round the Woolworths area of Narrabeen Lake, Jason Dwight, Ian Hollows and Ruby Leavens scored a heap of bream and two flathead recently. Their secret was using little or no weight.
Working shallow diving minnows near the big rock on the Wakehurst Parkway, Steve Brewer managed three flathead and a couple of throwback bream working near the weed clumps. He was surprised at the number of flathead that darted away from under his feet as he waded the lake.
Working a Baited Breath fly, Ian Barnard pulled two fat bream from Queenscliff Lagoon. He also hooked (he thinks) one of those hard-running tarpon that quickly snapped his 3kg leader.
Monthly Tip: Joining a fishing club will shorten that learning curve very quickly. There are many on the Northern Beaches that cater for men, women and their families. All clubs have a very social atmosphere and you can team up with someone who has a boat or just compete in the beach and rock division.Reads: 709