Focus on rocks, beaches
  |  First Published: June 2005

The weather leading up to this months report has been unseasonably warm in and out of the water but as you read this, those days should be behind us.

A woollen jumper, beanie and fingerless gloves will remain permanent inclusions in the tackle bag for the next few months.

Rock and beach fishing will be a focal point for many this month with a wide choice of targets.

Bream, in particular, should be biting well off washy beach corners and adjacent rocks. Fishing around sunrise and sunset, especially coinciding with a tide change, is a good starting point. Beachworms, oily flesh baits like slimy mackerel and small black crabs are baits worth using.

It’s also a time to break out the long honeycomb rod in search of big red. Cuttlefish should be around in numbers by now and the big snapper are never far away. There have been a few 7kg fish caught already as well as plenty half that size.

Rex Medbury scored yet another 2.5kg Tassie trumpeter off the rocks while fishing for pigs. Together with his mate Carl these lads, more commonly known as the Drummer Twins‚ have caught quite a few of these southern ring-ins while chasing pigs over the years, particularly on big fresh prawns.

Drummer fishing has been pretty good, too, and they should continue to fish well for the next few months.

A recent jewie sortie with Murray Cooper and his son, Jake, proved downright frustrating. The gutter on the beach that had been so productive with 10kg and 12kg jewfish the previous new moon had filled in so we decided to fish off the rocks and cast behind the waves.

About an hour before dark Jake and I witnessed a jewfish around 10kg prowling the beach corner in 30cm of water, presumably in search of poddy mullet and the like. The fish refused a fresh slab of bonito, which then was quickly consumed by a huge stingray. After a quick bust-off I re-rigged with a fresh luderick slab.

Jake was busily extracting a few nice bream from the suds when we noticed another jew, closer to 15kg, hovering so close to the rocks in less than a metre of water that I could have free-gaffed it.

The same stingray snapped up the luderick fillet and this time realised it was hooked and began to spool the big BaitRunner – bust-off No 2. Four hours fishing into the dark produced seven bronze whalers (released), as many bite-offs, a few banjos, three bream and a lone salmon. The jewies just weren’t interested.

Two nights later, the same beach produced two gummy sharks of around 12kg and 18kg, the larger lost in the shore dump when the hook pulled. James Gale lost a good snapper to a distant patch of reef on a fresh squid leg cast wide of the beach. Again, no jew – very frustrating when you know the fish are in the area.

Big gummies do a pretty good impersonation of a jew with savage headshakes and long runs. The only difference is the first run lacks a little in the speed department. The second run is of the same speed and 10 minutes into the fight without being bitten off has you believing you might actually have a jewie until you see that dorsal fin break the surface in the moonlight.

Still, they are a pretty good consolation prize compared with the usual less desirable by-catch. Quite a few big gummies have been captured around the Bay of late and I reckon over the next few months the trend will continue. We have caught them on slimy mackerel, salmon, tailor, and bonito but they are particularly fond of fresh squid and sand crabs.

Gummies are without doubt the finest-eating sharks in the sea; the meat freezes well and lends itself to most cooking methods.


Estuary fishing is still worth a shot despite the onset of Winter. Flathead don’t leave the system, they just slow down their metabolism and feed less frequently and with less aggression. Fish deeper areas with slower presentations.

Heaps of XOS whiting are still about in a select few spots for those in the know, who are very tight-lipped.

Most of the yellowfin bream would have run to the ocean by now but a few always seem to hang around all Winter. Black bream in the upper reaches have been hard to locate but once found have easily succumbed to stickbaits rigged with super-light jig heads or the new hidden-weight hook available from TT lures. Simply twitch the lure on the spot among the timber and the fish can’t resist.

Estuary perch and salty bass have been encountered in good numbers also but a little bit of luck needs to prevail in finding these fish.

Wade Eaton jigged up another 6kg jewie in the deep water in the Clyde on a 4” Gulp Worm, then released it, much to the disbelief of several nearby bait-soakers. He captured the whole fight on video, which made for good viewing especially when the fish was boatside, Wade was without a net and had to coax it in to grab by hand.

Ben Roberts and Wade have been taking their softies to the inshore reefs and catching snapper to 3kg mixed with heaps of bottom-dwelling red ooglies, spiced up with a few kingfish shreddings. Ben still can’t boat his first jewie on software but managed to get spooled three times in as many casts a little way offshore. I am sure he’ll be back with upsized tackle – watch this space for developments.

The warm water should be long gone by now but it would not surprise me if the odd straggling northern blue shows up on its sprint back up the coast. I have seen them in June on two occasions in past years.

Not too long back I hooked one on a popper but unfortunately last year’s rusty split rings disintegrated when the fish hit the afterburners. I thought I pulled the hook but when I went to sharpen them, there was nothing left!

Sue Voysey from the Soldiers Fishing Club hooked one on a ganged pilchard fishing in close in the boat for snapper but the 20kg leader gave in.

Consistent runs of yellowfin tuna have been coming from the shelf with many 30kg to 40kg fish being tagged or boated and I did hear a report of a 78kg fish on a lure.

There’s plenty of good fishing still on offer for the hardy soul who’s not afraid of a little chill – get off the couch and have a go!

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