Extra effort needed
  |  First Published: July 2005

I have to admit the next couple of months are probably when you have to put in a bit of extra effort to get the rewards.

No use waiting for it to happen, you have to go out there and make it happen. Plenty of berley, fresh, live baits and plenty of patience are needed as fish go lethargic in the colder water.

Specifically targeting a species is another way of making sure you come home with a catch. Salmon, drummer, tailor, john dory, hairtail and big blue-nose bream, just to name a few, should be in your sights.

Read up about them, learn what they like and don’t like, find out where they hang around and what they like to eat then go out with a target species in mind instead of a broad shotgun approach. Over the long haul this usually delivers more fish.

Trevally are there to be taken on close reefs such as Boultons, West and East reefs as well as close in to washes. Most fish are round 500g but will get bigger as it gets colder. Newport Reef has fish and those floating baits at Long Reef are finding the trevors, too.

Lance Jansen and Kent Webber drifted for squid and then soaked baits for a few sand flathead, a just-legal snapper and some yellowtail off the ’Joey. To get out of the weather, Peter York fished close in at Collaroy and was compensated with snapper to 2kg and topped up the box with tailor and trevally.

Working large strip baits, Ivan and Maria Milosovich drifted from Palm Beach in Pittwater to the tip of Barrenjoey on the outgoing tide. Three keeper flathead and two flounder made the fish box before the couple moored at Palm Beach for a hot feed of fish and chips.

Around the moorings in The Basin there are plenty of john dory in residence that will hunt down a live yellowtail. Try bobby-corking different depths, starting at just off the bottom, until you find fish. I know they fight like wet paper bags but the joy is in the eating.

It’s great to report, at long last, that a few bream are being taken in the surf on worm baits. On the incoming tide, work the deeper gutters with a longish trace and a moving sinker.


Drummer are once again in the sights of most rock fishermen and there have been big fish reported at Warriewood and the Dee Why ledges. Abalone gut, followed by peeled prawn, seem to be the preferred bait but don’t forget the humble blob of bread dough.

Bream are coming in from the racks up the Hawkesbury, especially around Mooney Mooney and Mullet Creek. Small soft plastics, either Slider Grubs or minnows in a brown colour, are working well. Shallow-running crankbaits have also been taking fish when tweaked across the top of the racks on the full tide.

Not much precipitation, I know, but little showers of rain have got fish out from cover and on the look-out for some food in Narrabeen and Queenscliff lagoons. Flathead are there, too, and while mostly throw-backs they keep the interest levels high. Still no sign of mullet although they have been spotted doing high jumps around the Pittwater Bridge.

I had the pleasure of going out recently with soft plastic and oyster rack specialist Matt Clark-Bruce from TopSpin Charters. We had a great day losing more fish to the racks than we landed but I connected to some real bruisers up the Hawkesbury near Marlo.

Every Friday on Fox’s Weather Channel I give a round-up of what’s happening on the fishing scene around Australia. Shown four times a day, the segment gives tips, techniques and hot spots in a lifestyle-type show.

Watch out, too, for a new fishing show, Fishnet TV, coming up on Channel 10 on Sundays at 1.30pm from July 31. I have been busy filming segments for the shows. The first run will be over nine weeks.

Monthly Tip: Buy polarised sunglasses. You will see a heap more of what’s happening under the water with these glare-filtering lenses.


It's small plastic grubs like this that are getting fish among the oyster racks.


The author with a bream taken in Broken Bay


Fresh squid is one of the best baits for inshore and offshore – first catch your squid.

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