Bait makes the difference
  |  First Published: September 2005

September can be a real bitch of a time to be fishing the southern regions of Sydney but this should not stop you from getting out there when the weather is good.

Just recently I had a look over my diaries for the past three years and found that in past Septembers I had caught blackfish, bream, drummer, trevally and groper off the rocks, while the estuaries produced very good catches of leatherjackets, blackfish and silver trevally with a few flathead and bream thrown in.

Bait anglers should take the time to go a get the freshest bait they can get their hands on. Here is a list of the appropriate baits for the species available from the rocks and in the estuaries.

Off the rocks use these baits for the appropriate species.

• Bream: Peeled king prawns, pink nippers, squid, cunjevoi, striped tuna, bonito, red crabs, bread and slimy mackerel.

• Silver trevally: Peeled harbour or Hawkesbury River prawns, bread, beach worms and skinned yellowtail strips.

• Luderick: Brown or green cabbage, blood worms, pink nippers, bread, green river weed.

• Groper: Red, green or brown crabs, sea urchins, abalone gut and cunje.

• Drummer: Red, green or brown crabs, bread, sea urchins, abalone gut and cunje.

In the estuaries, try the following baits.

• Bream: Live nippers, poddy mullet, hardyheads, peeled prawns, chicken breast in parmesan cheese, chicken gut, tube and blood worms, mussels, tuna, bonito and mullet.

• Leatherjackets: Peeled prawns and squid.

• Luderick: Brown or green cabbage, blood worms, pink nippers, bread, green river weed.

• Silver trevally: Peeled prawns as above, bread, blood and tube worms and skinned yellowtail strips.

• Flathead: Live poddy mullet, yellowtail and hardyheads, soft plastics and chicken in parmesan cheese.

Where do you find these baits?

To locate beach worms you will need to look for a flat sand spit rather than a steeply shelving part of the beach. Time your worming during the bottom half of the tide on these flat areas to give you enough time to locate the worms as they pop their heads up looking for any small morsel that passes their way.

Blood worms are usually dug up out of mud and other sediments and sieved out.

Cunje can be found between the low and high tide marks on the edges of low reefs, sloping rocks, boulders, channel markers and buoys and in rock pools.

Green or brown cabbage is found between the low and high tide marks in similar rocky locations. The green weed found in the estuaries is usually fine and very long and thread-like. This seaweed bait can be found on submerged estuarine rocks, breakwalls, wharves, bridge pylons, submerged logs and also over shallow flats that have been left dry for extended periods.

Mullet are in most estuary systems throughout Australia. They love to hang around near the shore, feeding in and around the mangroves, rock bars, sand flats, wharves, pylons, stormwater drains and weirs.

Pink nippers can be found in most estuary systems. Look for their holes on the surface of the sand or mud.

Yellowtail hang around places where there is a combination of rocks or boulders, kelp and sand. They can also be found around wharves, pylons, swing moorings, inshore and offshore reefs or just about anywhere there is a structure of some kind.


Places worth a look off the rocks include any of the washes on the Kurnell Peninsula, the northern and southern ends of Garie Beach, Wattamolla, South Era Point and off the rock pool at the northern end of Coalcliff Point.

If the seas are up a bit, you could try The Alley at Cronulla, just inside Cronulla Point, Boat Harbour and the inside reef on the southern side of the point at Kurnell.

For luderick, drummer and groper try off the rock pool at Shelly Beach, Bare Island, Blackwoods Beach, inside Jibbon Point and the reef off the beach at Coalcliff.

In the estuaries have a look around Bare Island, Captain Cook Bridge, Como Bridge, the end of Old Illawarra Road, the beach at the end of River Road at Revesby, Picnic Point, Cattle Duffers, Chipping Norton, the south-eastern side of the Woronora Bridge, the boat ramp in the Cooks River, Gunnamatta baths, the Ballast Heap, Bonna Point, and South Arm and North West Arm.

To learn more about how to fish for these species call me on 0422 994 207 or email me.

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