Snapper stir offshore
  |  First Published: September 2004

SEPTEMBER means snapper and my diary shows good catches of this delightful table fish at Boultons, Esmeralda, Newport and Broken Bay Wide for this month.

For those at Long Reef, some humongous fish have come in from Good Property, October Grounds, Jurassic Park and Reef Wide in September – just ask locals like Peter Ryan, Nick Clarke and ‘Squizzy’ Taylor.

These spots at Long Reef are all around 20 to 40 metres deep and current plays a big part in whether fish are co-operative. A gentle trickle to the south is what’s wanted so berley is well distributed through the water column.

Next month we get those rotten short-tailed shearwaters – muttonbirds – that won’t let a pilchard or gar sink without diving down and shredding it. Last year they were in plague proportions and so hungry they were eating bait off the cutting table.

Steve Brooks from Careel Bay Fishing Charters has been braining the smaller snapper and morwong on dropper rigs off Avalon and Newport. Steve reports trevally getting bigger month by month with some kilo-plus models hitting the deck.

There’s been a chronic lack of surface activity and I hope all this changes when the sea warms up a degree or two so sport anglers can enjoy some pelagic action.

Fishing close in to the rocks at Challenger Head, regular NSWFM reader Ron Spearman hooked what he thought was the jew of a lifetime. With shaking hands he fought the fish on 10kg line as it tore off, stopped and, just as it nearly hove into view, peeled more line off the reel and disappeared back into the inky depths.

After what seemed like an eternity, a big blue groper came to the surface and Ron slid the net underneath the dazed fish. Although disappointed it wasn’t a prized mulloway, Ron was more than chuffed at his catch, estimated around 6kg. Cradling the big baby in his cupped hands, Ron let the fish revive before watching it swim slowly away, no doubt to tell its relatives about what happened.

Chilly water has made flathead catches almost non-existent in the Hawkesbury and there are still few reports of john dory catches from Pittwater and surrounds. I think this is due to a chronic lack of bait because of the gin-clear water.

Deeper water, such as at Mackerel and the southern side of Scotland Island, has small trevally which can be coaxed into action with chook-pellet berley with one or two drops of tuna oil.

Cold weather has put most of our coastal lagoons to sleep and we’ll have to wait until the water warms. Bream will still hit a lure but it’s driven more by aggression than hunger. Hook-ups are difficult when fish are like this and bumps on the line indicate when bream are in this mood.

Narrabeen Bait and Tackle at North Narrabeen has a revamped website with fishing reports, tackle specials, competitions and a booking sheet for my fishing clinics (which start this month), along with weather updates. Check it all out at [url=http://www.nbtackle.com.au/].

By the time you read this there should be a positive decision from Pittwater Council about the construction of a boat ramp at Careel Bay. Most of the requirements have been met. Now comes the question of funding and ownership.

Keep tuned and give your support whenever possible – a concrete boat ramp is sadly lacking for the northern end of Pittwater. For more information call Kim Nelson, Secretary, Careel Bay Trailer Boat Club on 02 9918 2255

Remember, folks, this is your column to report on what you are doing. I am but the pen that pulls it all together every month. If you have information from a fishing club, a group or an individual, email or fax me on 02 9918 2049. I need your failures as well as successes to give the column balance. Slides, prints and high-resolution digital images are welcome.

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