Bread and butter on the rocks
  |  First Published: September 2003

The last couple of weeks of July finally added some cool air to the coast, delivered like Mr Freeze's ray gun in a Batman comic strip. The next few weeks should see the worst of a winter's nightmare out of the way with some spring warmth just around the corner.

Fishing has been not too bad, with all venues yielding some sort of bounty.

Around the stones the action has been typical of this time of year. Bread-and-butter species are still well and truly on the chew, with good bags of fish coming from most rock ledges. Bream, tailor and blackfish remain fairly prevalent. The northern headlands seem to be the most productive, with Point Plomer, Big Hill and Crescent Head producing the goods.

Drummer have been slightly disappointing, with action a little patchy. The signs are there that this will change and by the time you read this, Old Porky will well and truly have the nosebag on. North Beach has been coughing up some fish, with school jew biting well in gutters north of the breakwater. All the fish aren't big, but some solid fish between 6kg and 10kg have hit the beach.

The moon phase is incredibly important when chasing different quarries, with various lunar positions affecting fish activity. Studying the tide and moon charts properly can certainly enhance fishing results.


In the Hastings river, anglers are still enjoying some good fishing in the lower estuaries. Fishermen have been having little trouble rolling a few blackfish, although the odd day has seen these vegetarians being a little unco-operative. All the normal haunts have been productive, with north and south walls being the pick for some rather nice bronzies. I would expect that the action should remain for some weeks yet.

The odd jew has been cruising about the estuary with a few good fish boated. Jewie fishing requires dedication and attention to detail, with tide, moon phase and bait all contributing to the success rate of the angler. A good jacket at this time of year would also be a winner, with that Winter chill certainly taking the edge off the keenness.

A few flatties have been on the prowl, with a sprinkling of good fish through the lower estuary. Robert Taylor was road-testing jewies on his Taylor Made lures the other day and encountered some good fish that eagerly devoured them. Robert said he enjoyed a good session, catching and releasing some solid fish. If artificials are not your go, a good old bag of whitebait should see you tangling with a few fish.


It has certainly been breezy and that has been the Achilles heel for boaties, with nagging offshore breezes hampering fishing anywhere but in very close. That aside, some good fish have been on offer, with most reefs producing desired results.

The shallow reefs have been coughing up some great reds – not huge numbers, but enough to keep you coming back. The thump and run of a good red will certainly make the heart skip a beat or two.

Bottom fishos have been faring well with pearlies, snapper, mowies and some good flathead. Leatherjackets have been thick, to say the least, with some reefs totally infested with the dreaded leatheries.

This can be a pain when targeting other species with bait and a constant barrage of bite-offs is enough to try anyone’s patience. Sometimes it’s better to ‘go with the flow’ and break out the long-shanked hooks and even a bit of light wire such as Shipton’s Knottable wire and convert these pests into a tasty feed.

But there's no denying that some hoodlum-size kings have been hopping about, too, sucking in lures and dragging them into the depths. Jew and trag have been welcome by-catch for those targeting kings, as they greedily chomp on baits meant for the kingies. The next few months should see good fishing as long as the weather prevails.

Dave Pick with a lovely drummer – get out there now for more of the same.

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