Hunting the rocky washes
  |  First Published: July 2003

At this time of year the westerly winds start to kick in around Sydney, giving you a good chance of getting down to the rocks to fish for bream, drummer, luderick, squid and silver trevally.

You can venture out onto the rocks and fish off deep ledges or into foamy washes, or you can fish back into them from a boat. I find it very hard to make a decision either way.

If you are going to have a go from a boat you will need to make sure that every thing is in order with your boat –just off the rocks is not a place to have something go wrong. Not that long ago I was fishing with Mick Fletoridis in his boat and we ended up having only forward gear, whichever gear we tried to select – not good when you are fighting one of those rampaging drummer with a 3.6-metre Pacific Composites 7120 blank with 20kg line. We decided to pack up and head for home to get the cables fixed.

I prefer to use this length rod from a boat because it allows me to cast lightly-weighted baits like abalone gut, cunjevoi and peeled blue-tail prawns up against those rock ledges and washes, while being able to stay a fair distance from the shore. If I was fishing from the rocks I would most probably come down to a Pacific Composites 5120 or a Snyder Glas Mag Bream and my preferred reel would be an Alvey 500 or 600A5 series.

On the southern side of the Hacking River entrance there is a place called The Balconies. From here that you can fish from the high ledges or from a boat quite safely when the westerly winds are blowing. A little bit farther north, on the Kurnell Peninsula, you can fish a place called the Possie. On the northern side of the entrance to Botany Bay, you could try the second bay east of Henrys Head. All of three places will fish quite well when the seas are slight, but you need to take plenty of bread for berley with you.

Farther north you could always try Middle Head, just inside the entrance to Sydney Harbour, or Sow and Pigs. Both places are very good for luderick, bream, silver trevally and squid during Winter. Ben Buckler Point, north of Bondi, is another very good spot to target bream, silver trevally and drummer.

I have found that this type of fishing requires your full attention. Keep your rigs as simple as possible – all you need is a ball sinker right down on the hook, a weighted bobby cork with a free-running line or a stemmed float for the luderick. If you can use the westerly wind to your advantage and allow it to take your cast out farther from the rocks, you could also try some lightly-weighted soft plastics.

For bait try peeled blue-tailed prawns, cunjevoi, bread and pink nippers for the bream, drummer and trevally. Luderick like cabbage, green weed and bread. The bread and pilchard berley that I use will also attract those tasty squid, so make sure that you have a few squid jigs on hand.

More spots

Here are a few more spots to try around Sydney.

Land-based: As you travel north past Brighton-le-Sands, you will cross the entrance to the Cooks River. Here that you can fish for flathead, bream, sand whiting and silver trevally with plastics. Places worth a try include the bottoms of the bridge pylons, along the river side of the breakwall and off the beach on the southern wall. Work your plastics from out wide of the breakwall right back into where the sand meets the bottom of the wall for flathead and whiting. Bream and silver trevally can be caught among the rocks of the breakwall.

Boat-based: At the entrance to Rose Bay you will find a series of timber pylons. Try casting soft plastic stickbaits right next to the timberwork on the pylons and then use either a fast, skipping retrieve or just work the lure slowly back to the boat. Yellowtail kingfish love to hang around these structures.

You could also cast weighted plastics at these pylons and allow them to sink beside them. Once they have reached the bottom, either jig them or wind them slowly back to the surface. There are not as many kings as in Summer but the ones you tangle with are in the upper size bracket, so increase your line class accordingly.

I have been fishing in Sydney for many years now and it wasn’t until a few months ago that I heard of anglers being told that that they had to move from various spots throughout Botany Bay and Port Hacking because of restricted waters. Next month I will list where you cannot fish in these areas and why.



On this day the author could get his boat very close to the structure and see the kingfish swimming around.


Plastic stickbaits work a treat around structure in the Winter for kingfish.

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