Targeting what’s there
  |  First Published: August 2005

There’s been only sporadic action around here over the past four weeks and I guess all this near-Summer weather in mid-Winter is confusing many migratory species.

The water is too warm for good Winter fishing and not hot enough for many Summer species, adding up to some pretty sketchy fishing results.

Despite the patchiness there are a few fish around – it’s all a matter of keeping your fingers crossed and targeting the most prevalent species.

At the moment the most success has come from flicking nearly unweighted baits around the local headlands for bream.

Many anglers are ‘rock-slopping’ – fishing back to the stones from a well-positioned boat. The idea is simple enough: Move into a safe and comfortable casting position off the rocks, flick out pilchards or flesh bait on a single 2/0 hook and set the hooks when the local bream steam of with it.

Despite being covered by a carpet of sudsy water, these headland-dwelling bream can still be quite cagey.

To give you an example, last season I was flicking cubes of pilchard into the wash with a mate. We had identical baits, hooks and small sinkers. He used 9 lb mono and I opted for 12 lb line.

Before I had time to complain, he’d nailed seven good bream and I never got a touch. I soon wised up and tied a short length of his 9lb line onto my 12lb and scored fish instantly. Even in the roughhouse world of rock fishing, it still pays to use a little finesse.

If bream around the stones isn’t your thing, it may be worth dropping a few baits down at Fish Rock. There’s been a reasonable run of kingfish there, though most are just around the legal 60cm.

Big baits down deeper may produce a better class of fish but, as it stands, most anglers seem pretty happy to at least have some kingfish taking a bait, even if they aren’t monsters.

If you’re heading south, Black Rock is always worth a shot. It’s really only a hop, skip and a jump from Fish Rock and some days it fishes a whole lot better.

The beauty of Black Rock is you can legally anchor there and fish bait (unlike Fish Rock and Green Island, where anchoring restrictions apply).

With some judicious berleying you can draw in some quality reds, kings and possibly a few cobia. Like everywhere, Black Rock can shut down big-time with virtually nothing caught there for weeks but it can fire and is well worth a visit if you’re down Fish Rock way.

Anglers heading north have been greeted by some very patchy snapper fishing. As I mentioned earlier, the water is fairly warm (around 21°) and the resident snapper, more accustomed to cooler water at this time of year, are being a little finicky.

There’s a fair chance you’ll find a few if you berley well and move around if you haven’t raised a few in an hour or so. But don’t expect to bag out, it’s just been a slow start to the season.

Prime time is usually late July and August so there’s still hope for a decent run yet.


Those fishing the Macleay River have been pinning a few luderick at the White Rocks on the north side of the river and the Jew Bite, on the southern side near the river mouth.

It may also be worth checking out The Wire Fence, half-way between the river bar and the main boat ramp, particularly at the very last of the run-out tide and half the run in.

The blackfish seem to move around a fair bit in the Macleay so keep your eyes and ears open for where they’re biting on any given day.

Bream anglers are scoring a few good fish into the night along the North and South walls. Lightly-weighted pilchards and fish flesh, fished around a tidal change, are a good way to find a few fish. If you don’t mind the cold, tidal changes after dark are well worth fishing for a better class of fish.

Jewfish anglers have had little to smile about with scarcely a few fish caught in the past four to five weeks.

I’m not sure why the fishing has been so painfully slow but chasing jewfish at the moment is even tougher than it usually is. I haven’t pinned one in seven trips spanning nearly six weeks, which is the longest jewfish drought I’ve had in 11 years.

This certainly hasn’t been the most uplifting of SWR reports. The fishing is pretty bloody tough around here so hopefully the water will cool significantly to fire up a few traditional Winter species.

Just pick a nice day and drift around in the sunshine and work on the ‘fish is a bonus’ theory and you’ll be right.

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