Dory, tailor worth chasing
  |  First Published: July 2004

DON’T know about you, but this seems to be very long, cold Winter already.

I’ll be glad to feel the warm rays of the sun again on these cracking bones and a rise in water temperature won’t go amiss, either. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and not as resilient any more.

So far, Winter species like john dory have been very co-operative, as have the tailor with some fish going well over 3kg.

Not many anglers target beach jewfish in Winter but they are still there, patrolling most northern beaches, although their diet changes from mullet to squid in the colder months. My pick of the tides for a jew sortie would be July 17, 18 and 19, with late evening highs and moderate water levels.

Current has been a problem on the wide grounds with a persistent run to the north-west. Adding to the current woes, toadfish have been gnawing through mono line, proving we have changed seasons and colder water is well and truly ensconced.

Had one report of the dreaded barracouta, known colloquially as pick-axe handles, taking cut pilchards at Trawleys Reef.

Huge Chinaman leatherjackets can be found on the edges of reefs, eating bait, swivels and sinkers. A dropper rig will get two at a time.

Lance Jansen scored some big trevally off the tip of Barrenjoey. The bad news is that his anchor stuck fast and he had to leave it there.

Yellowfin tuna to 50kg have been milling around Browns Mountain, according to a pro who witnessed the surface activity. In my humble opinion, cubing the area will get larger fish and trolling skirted lures will attract the smaller yellowfin.

Fishing gang-hooked pilchards off Narrabeen Beach, John Kontopos landed two Australian salmon after spectacular aerial fights. One was bled for close attention by the chef and the other was released.

Now the rock ledges are fishable after the persistent westerlies, drummer have made a welcome comeback and the proven bait has been abalone gut. Peeled, cooked prawn has also taken fish, as has kneaded dough.

Bread berley will get fish interested and don’t forget to keep up the berley trail even when the bite gets hot, otherwise fish will go back to cover if they are not served appetisers.

Another fish to target in Winter is the blackfish. Fishing known haunts like the rock pool at Mona Vale, the Hole in the Wall at Avalon and Flat Rock at Curl Curl will get action for those who weight their floats properly so the tip is just visible.

Fresh stringy green weed can be taken from Pittwater and Narrabeen Lake but the local cabbage weed growing on the rock platforms will also score fish. Weed mixed in with sand is needed to get and keep fish interested and should be dispensed little and often.

Bream have come from Split Rock near Kangaroo Point, the leases in Mooney Mooney and Dangar Shoals on fresh Hawkesbury prawns.

Soft plastics are also taking fish but casts have to be made within a whisker of structure to get attention. Working the poles around the leases can often produce results.

There has been a smattering of small jewfish taken from Iron Pot, at the base of Eleanor Bluff, with strips of skinned squid strips floated almost weightless accounting for fish on the run-out tide.

As I write, Pittwater is gin-clear and it’s hard to find fish during the day. However, at night it’s a different story and there have been some honker bream taken at Mackerel Beach, The Basin, West Head and Barrenjoey.

Home-made pudding bait works well in these still waters – email me for the recipe. Elvina and Towlers bays would also be worth a night sortie for these silver fighters.

Structure such as wharves, the Royal Yacht Club pontoons, jetties, etc, are home to john dory. Wherever there is bait, john dory will not be far away.

Suspend live bait under a cork and use chook pellets to attract the bait schools. Then wait for the slow take of the dory.

While walking at Bayview boat ramp, Gordon Tracy saw Ken Alexander an cleaning his catch. Ken said he caught the two jewfish at West Head on whole squid baits. The largest went 26kg and the smaller pulled the scales down to 18kg.

Narrabeen and Manly lagoons have gone quiet with just a few throwback bream reported. However, with a good dose of sunny weather I hope to have better and more positive reports next month. The ducks are hungry so they might be worth throwing a bit of bread, too!


When using braid or gelspun line, always employ a mono leader. This more stretchy material absorbs sudden pulls and takes abrasion much better than these new cyber threads.

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