John dory prime targets
  |  First Published: August 2005

At this time of year we are usually hiding out of the cold winds and sipping on a warm beverages while waiting for the set lines to be hit.

The targets vary from charter to charter but most of the time john dory are the prime targets. These prehistoric-looking fish are easy to target and while fishing for them with set lines you can also fish baits or soft plastics for bream, trevally or salmon.

Over recent weeks the water has plummeted as low as 13°, slowing down the fishing quite considerably, so patience is vital. It is important to fish with light tackle, berley and fresh bait.

Live bait, as always, is best. Bait such as nippers, bloodworms or small whitebait will usually produce better quality fish.

Natural presentation is also important. It is great to have live bait but it must be hooked so it move freely to attract the predators.

Careel Bay, Mackeral Beach and The Basin have seen salmon on the odd day but all of these areas have produced john dory, which have been eating the small yellowtail caught at West Head. They are also eating sweep or mado so don’t throw these back while hunting bait.

Bream have also been caught in the same area while drifting baits down a berley trail. Small trevally have taken a liking to the nippers.

Winter whiting should come onto the bite in Towlers Bay over the next month. The better fish are normally caught in deeper water to 10 metres. Again, fish light tackle and use a luminous bead as an attractor.

Drift fishing this bay can also result in bream, flounder and flathead. There are usually a lot of red bream caught in this area so be careful with your bait selection.

In Lovett Bay the odd bream, john dory and school jewfish should be captured. Jewfish are a chance in this area if we get the rain we need to flush the system.

Baits for jewfish are squid heads, pike or yellowtail. The jewfish at this time of year are normally schoolies so small baits work best. This bay on the run-out tide can be very productive one day but leave you fishless the next.

The Supermarket has leatherjackets and trevally eating small squid bits fished on small hooks on a paternoster rig. Berley has been important to attract the trevally.

The marinas around Newport have been the places to fish with soft plastics.


The effects of cold water are very evident while sight fishing for bream. Fishing the moorings along Newport on many occasions we have seen fish, placed perfect casts and these wary fish just ignored everything that was thrown at them.

After two hours casting to a school of 15 to 20 bream, we finally got a chase and then on the next cast, we were on. The fish are in water around four metres near structure.

McCarrs Creek has been very quiet with very few fish coming in. Maybe it’s the locals who feed the fish each day, filling their bellies before we have a chance to target them.

The deeper channel usually holds john dory while the shallower areas normally have bream and whiting. The best bait for bream is usually bread in a bread berley trail.

Around Scotland Island all the above species cruise past at some stage with areas such as Tennis Wharf or Eastern seeing most of the action.

Salmon and tailor have been somewhat absent this year but hopefully we will have a good run of fish before the end of the month.

We have been chasing those that have shown up with flies soft plastics and metal slugs with all forms catching good numbers of fish. The best fly has been Felty’s Eyes in white. Any brand of soft-plastic fish profile in white or clear around 3” has worked well fished down deep under the school.

The most productive metal lures have been 7g white River 2 Sea metal slugs. Cast and allow the lure to sink for about five seconds before retrieving. Quite often the lure is taken on the drop.

For visiting Eskimos or insomniacs, this month can see hairtail around the deeper water such as Portuguese Beach and Soldiers Point. Pilchards or live yellowtail are usually the best baits.

Remember when fishing for these fish to use wire traces and ganged hooks. These fish can attack their prey only from underneath because of the way they are built, so stagger the depths of the set baits.

Take as much hot beverage as the boat can hold because temperatures drop below 6° if there is a breeze from the west. We have bargain weekday specials so call us on 9999 2574.

This salmon ate a trolled yellowtail. There should be a few more around this month.

Reads: 1975

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