An array of choices
  |  First Published: November 2005

I always find it difficult to make up my mind where I should concentrate most of my fishing effort this month.

Should I start targeting the early run of kingfish in Botany Bay or Port Hacking, or maybe chase the salmon and tailor schools that have been gorging themselves on the baitfish?

On the other hand, I could venture out to one of the FADs and live-bait or spin for mahi mahi or I could even chase the last of the blackfish or drummer off the rocks. And if all that doesn’t wet your whistle, you could always chase a few whiting and bream off the beach.

If the thrill of tangling with a kingfish has taken your fancy you will need to secure a supply of live yellowtail or squid. Places worth looking for your live bait include the north-east corner of Yarra Bay, the mooring drums, Watts Reef, the oil wharf and the hot-water outlet. All these are also good places to start targeting kingfish.

Salmon and tailor will work together in schools chasing down baitfish. If you are going to use metal lures you should you keep the size down to between 2cm and 10cm. Sure, the larger metals will catch fish but not as many as the smaller ones.

Soft plastics should not be any bigger than 15cm.

Places are worth a shot for salmon and tailor include the northern side of the Third Runway, the end of the old runway, about 50 metres or so off the northern and southern sides of the entrance to Botany Bay, Osborne Shoals, Merries Reef and in Port Hacking, Jibbon Bombora.

When I use a metal lure for tailor, salmon, kingfish or any other pelagics and the fish have sounded (gone deep), I will keep the reel’s bail arm open and allow the lure to sink. If you hold onto the line it will arc back towards you and you may miss where the fish are. I have had many fish species take the lure as it is sinking.

Last year I had the chance to finally go out to one of the FADs just north of the entrance to Botany Bay and chase my first mahi mahi. We managed to catch 20 between four of us over two hours.

We drove up slowly and cast live yellowtail or squid at the FAD and allowed them to slowly sink as we drifted away. You could also try using a fillet of fresh slimy mackerel or yellowtail.

We had only drifted a few metres away from the FAD and the baits were taken by hungry mahi mahi and at one stage all four of us were hooked up at the same time.


Whether you are working the rocks off La Perouse, Kurnell, Wattamolla, Garie, South, North Era, Stanwell Park or Coalcliff, you will always be in with a chance of taking home a couple of drummer or luderick. It is just a matter of being switched onto when the buggers are going to chew.

I have found that a couple of days after the wind has stirred up the ocean is a good time to head down to the rocks for drummer and luderick.

For the luderick you could try cabbage gathered straight off the rocks, green or black weed from Kelso Park or blood or beach worms.

Drummer will take abalone gut, peeled prawns, pink nippers and cunje.

While fishing off the rocks make sure that you always watch the sea – it can stand up and take you in a blink of an eye.

If the above is not to your liking you may like to fish the beach early in the morning for whiting and bream. Try Maroubra, Bondi and Malabar beaches north of Botany Bay and further south, the beaches from Greenhills to South Cronulla, Garie, Stanwell Park and Coalcliff.

Best baits are beach and blood worms, pink nippers, half pilchards and strips of slimy mackerel or mullet presented on a paternoster rig with a star or snapper sinker. You don’t get any line twist and there are fewer tangles.

I always say anglers who don’t use berley are not right in the head. Tricks to successful berleying include having the correct combination of ingredients, ensuring the berley is released at a little at a time (you want to attract the fish, not feed them) and using the current to bring the fish to you. It’s also important to time when the berley is released and how often.

It doesn’t matter whether you are working a rocky gutter, a sand spit or a bay rip, berley will attract fish to your baits. Some ingredients could include bread, chicken layer pellets, dried dog or cat food (larger pellets), pilchards, prawn heads and shells, fish frames, wheat, breadcrumbs, tuna oil and bran.

I hope these suggestions will help you this November. If you would like to learn more call me on 0422 994 207 or email me and book into one on my fishing classes.



Gary Brown caught this mahi mahi while working a FAD just off the entrance to Botany Bay.

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