Plenty of action around
  |  First Published: November 2004

Lots happens on Sydney’s northern coastline in November.

I’m quite often on the beaches in earnest, especially around Newport and North Narrabeen, trying to get that 20kg-plus jew. The outside snapper fishing also goes up a cog this month.

In Narrabeen and Dee Why lagoons, the prawns start their seaward migration on the darker nights and they become a target for us scoop netters on the outgoing tide.

Thugs of the sea, kingfish, will start their annual prowl round structure up Middle Harbour and Pittwater and I hope those green missiles, frigate mackerel, show up in the same numbers as they did last year.

We start to see a distinct changeover to Summer species now.

Fish like hairtail, drummer, john dory and those schools of tailor that were resident around Barrenjoey and Lion Island have dissipated. In their place come surf bream, estuary jew, kings, frigate mackerel and, off the beaches, whiting.

Plump blackfish become more co-operative and green, stringy weed is easier to procure.

At the moment, small snapper are still gracing catches but trevally have stepped up in size with some 2kg fish coming in from 20 metres off Long Reef. As the water warms, trevally will start to diminish as they head south in search of cooler climes.

Thank God those gnawing pests, Chinaman leatherjackets, have also slipped away and we can now fish without having to re-rig every two minutes.

Toothy pike are also getting bigger and, when filleted, are not bad tucker in the deep fryer.

Deep structure such as Esmeralda Reef and Broken Bay Wide has produced extra large nannygai on double dropper rigs. Muttonbirds are here in their hundreds and they are starving after the long migration from as far away as Siberia.

To add to our misery, those little birds known as ‘marlin birds’ or ‘Mrs Carey’s chickens’ are also out in force this year. A reminder that these feathered creatures are protected and, whatever your feelings are about their visitation, they must be left alone. Recently I had a problem getting baits down as these expert underwater flyers snaffled anything that didn’t have a sink rate of 100mph or quicker.

Another fish that’s giving anglers a lot of fun at present is black drummer. They are to be found off Curl Curl, Dee Why and Long Reef platforms and, according to rock guru Alex Bellissimo, there are a few silvers to be had this year.

Heed my advice and get a supply of fresh pipis to fish the sand because there are some honker surf bream ready to be caught on a rising tide. Fish light (no more than 6kg) and use a fairly long trace in the surf with at least two swivels to stop line twist.

Whiting, too, love a fresh pipi and they have been taken from Reef Beach and South Curl Curl.

In the swirling eddies round Bar Point, soapy jewfish have been chewing on strips of fresh squid wafted down a berley trail. Just pin the strip on once with plenty left to flap around – it’s this flapping that will attract interest.

Another Hawkesbury hot spot at the moment is Milson Island, where flathead have come on the bite.

It’s not Narrabeen Lake that’s been firing but that stretch of water that we all had written off due to a chemical spill – Queenscliff Lagoon. One unnamed angler landed and released two tarpon (ox-eye herring) on small Raider lures and he also fought and lost a monster bream on soft plastic.

Mother Nature never fails to amaze me and it’s great to see this magnificent waterway come good. We must be alert and keep these inland saltwater lagoons in good order so our great grand kids will still enjoy the same quality of fishing we now have.

When coming past the yacht clubs and into the ramps at Bayview, please keep under four knots – Waterways will jump heavily on all those who put up a wake.

A reminder, too: The wharf at Rowland Reserve is for picking up and dropping passengers only. Please don’t tie up and leave your boat there unattended.

Sick and tired of going out and catching nothing? Want to know the hot spots on the Northern Beaches? My Monday evening Summer fishing classes at North Narrabeen cover everything to make you a better angler. Call Mark on 9970 6204 to reserve your place or go to nbtackle.com.au. Ladies are especially welcome.

Monthly tip: Fresh weed, such as cabbage and stringy weed, can be kept for weeks wrapped in damp newspaper and reserved in the crisper department of the fridge.

After a fishing session, just wash the weed in salt water, wrap it up and put it back in the crisper again.


Although they are not protected, those puppy dogs of the sea, Port Jackson sharks, should be carefully released and left to go about their business.


Plenty of salmon are still around but you have to get up early because they mostly go off the feed when the sun hits the water.


When baiting hooks with worm, stick on enough to choke a hippo. Note the red plastic attractor.

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