Hard work in close
  |  First Published: September 2003

SEPTEMBER IS usually windy, according to my diary. Crystal-clear water brought on by a persistent westerly airstream makes conditions in close difficult to extract a feed.

Edward Ingram tried both Reggies and Trawleys reefs before he struck paydirt at Boultons, where a good supply of pan-sized snapper around 35cm to 40cm were boated on cut pilchards. Those who are fishing the wider grounds, such as Esmeralda and Broken Bay Wide, have been scoring mulloway, morwong, snapper and the occasional kingfish.

Nannygai have been jumping on hooks as well, but don’t knock them. When skinned, their pure white flesh is delicious. Long Reef has been coughing up some decent snapper recently. Peter Ryan reports fish to 5kg taken off the 35-metre marks as well as morwong and trevally. Mulloway have been scarce, with only a few school fish taken on live bait or strips of tuna.

Large leatherjackets are ensconced on the Wrecks off Dee Why and are falling to fresh green prawns. Use extra-strong hooks as these fish have incredibly strong jaws and will make mincemeat out of standard-issue tackle.

I hope by the time you read this we are getting plenty of swell. As I pen the column, flat seas kept indoors most who love a throw off the beaches. The only report to date has been of an unknown angler scoring surf bream where the rocks and sand meet off the northern end of Avalon Beach.

The stones have been the place to be, with the lower ledges being very accessible and relatively safe due to the small swell. Now is the time to get down and try gathering a bit of cunjevoi for future sorties. These sea squirts take well to freezing and are excellent bait for drummer and groper.

Drummer, AKA rock blackfish, have been staying under cover due to water clarity but if you seek out areas with a bit of whitewater and berley judiciously, these fish will leave their hidey-holes and come out in search for food.


In the estuaries, drifting has produced more fish than anchoring. Species such as flathead, bream and small trevally have been taken in the lower end of Broken Bay near Challenger Head. Tailor schools have been domiciled near Lion Island, with the occasional salmon taking anglers by surprise with their aerial antics.

Off Mackerel Beach in Pittwater, a drift can come up with some strange things. Max Bernard felt a few tugs on the line and when he began reeling in, a huge ray woke up from its slumber and headed south. Max had the drag on full lock and dived to the back of the boat; arms outstretched before trying to start the motor and follow the fish. All over Red Rover in about 20 seconds.

In deep water close to the eastern wharf at Scotland Island, Reg Dunfield scored three good yellowfin bream on nippers pumped from Church Point. Reg and fishing mate Steve both live at Liverpool but spend most of their fishing time in Pittwater and reckon the long trip is well worth it.

John dory are still in numbers. Try the deep water on the northern side of Careel Bay and around the moorings at the lower end of Pittwater at the start of McCarrs Creek.

Off Pipe Clay Point on the southern side of Narrabeen Lake, Sean Wakiro scored a couple of bream on small Rapala lures. Wading in among the clumps of weed, Sean also found a couple of small flathead. A few chopper tailor took a liking to the deep-diving lure but were more of an annoyance than anything else. Lucky he wasn’t using soft plastics or they would have been a real pest.

The sandy area on the eastern side of the Ocean Street Bridge has again performed, with whiting homing in on fresh bloodworms. I know it’s still cold in the evenings but this is the best time to target these fish, on an outgoing tide. Blackfish are near the bridge but have been very fussy of late with only the freshest of weed being taken by these nuggety fighters.


I took a stroll around Winjijimmi Bay at Bayview recently and a bouquet goes to Pittwater Council for the new walkway and bridge. The footpath comes out near the boat ramps in Roland Reserve and then joins the path to Church Point. Brickbats to all the dog owners who walk their dogs home unleashed after exercising them in the park where unleashed dogs are permitted. I witnessed a few confrontations with dogs and small children which could lead to tragic outcomes. I ask all dog owners to take responsibility for their pets and restrain them around the boat ramp and on the new walkway. That’s the law.

If you have any information for this column, or maybe fishing clubs have an upcoming event they want publicised, email at the address above or call me on 0418 239 952. It’s your magazine; I am just the pen behind the words.


In Pittwater and the Hawkesbury, all you need is a maximum of 4kg line and preferably no sinker, or maybe just a small amount to negate current.

By fishing this light, bite-shyness in fish is allayed and the end result will be more inquiries. Sure, every so often you’ll get blown away by something big but, in the main, catch rates will escalate due to this softly-softly approach.

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