Homework is the Answer
  |  First Published: June 2008

Even though June is in the middle of winter, it would have to one of my favourite times to fish. This is because there are lots of different species of fish you can catch, plus there are also fewer anglers on the water.

Yellowfin bream, silver trevally, luderick, drummer, groper, blue nosed whiting, leatherjackets and snapper are all on offer during the month of June. It is just a matter of making up your mind as to what species you would like to target and where to go. I chase them all, be it from a boat or off the shore, in the estuaries and bays in Sydney or from the rocks and beaches in Sydney’s south.

To get it right most of the time you will need to do a fair bit of homework before you set off. During the fishing classes that I conduct at various tackle shops I inform the students on the first night that they have to bring in some homework for me on the second night. You should hear the whinging that goes on. “What, homework. I never did it at school. Why should I start doing it now?” or “What do you mean homework, I don’t have time to do that.”

Well I am afraid if you don’t do some homework you won’t become a better angler.

All I ask them to do is pick a fish species that they would like to target and where they would like to fish for that particular fish species. For example, they may say leatherjackets at North Manly and out of a boat. What I do is come back with a combination of times, tides, baits, rigs and techniques that I would suggest that they try. For this scenario, I would recommend using a 1 hook paternoster rig, an 8-12 long shanked hook, and use either a very small piece of prawn or squid. Just enough to fill the bend of the hook. The length of the line that the hook is to be attached to should be no more than 10cm long. Use a medium to fast tapered 1.8-2.1m rod and a thread line reel spooled with 6kg line. The sinker weight should be just enough to put a slight bend in the rod when under load.

For techniques, watch for the slight bite of the leatherjacket on the rod tip, not feel the bite. Anchor where the edge of the drop-off and the weed meet and use chopped up prawn shells for berley. After you have hooked the leatherjacket, just wind the handle of the reel without lifting the rod. Fish this area on a run-out tide during any part of the day.

These times and techniques could also be carried out if you were fishing for leatherjackets from a wharf or a break wall.

Now if someone picked yellowfin bream at the Sow and Pigs Reef from a boat, my answer would be as follows:

Fish with two medium to fast tapered 1.8-2.1m rods with bait runner thread line reels spooled with 6kg line. The first outfit would have a number 2 bean sinker, a small swivel, 1-2m long leader and the hook could be either a number 1 or 1/0 bait keeper Penetrator Mustad hook.

The second outfit would be the same, except the sinker (size to suit the current) would be free running directly down onto the bait. The hook size would be the same as before.

The anchor would be positioned so that the back of the boat would be about 20m from the edge of the reef. A steady stream of berley (bread, chicken pellets and chopped up pilchards) would need to slowly trickle out of the berley pot.

Outfit 1 would be cast out the back of the boat, so that it is about 10m from the back of the boat and then positioned in a rod holder. The bait runner/feeder system would need to be engaged. When a fish takes the bait and swims off don’t lift the rod out of the rod holder, just flip the lever back to engage the fighting drag. Once the fish is hooked then lift the rod out of the rod holder and fight the fish to the net.

Outfit 2 would be held in your hand so that you could slowly feed out the bait with the flow or the current and the berley. Once the fish picks up the bait, just wind to engage the fighting drag, slowly bringing the bream to the net.

Try using peeled prawns, strips of bonito or stripped tuna, strips of chicken in parmesan cheese, pilly tail strips of squid and pink nippers during the month of June. Fish either the run-out or run-in tide, just as long as your berley is going back over the reef.

Early morning, late afternoon or overcast days seem to get the best results. Fish 3-5 days either side of a full or new moon. Once again these times and techniques could also be carried out if you were fishing for yellowfin bream from the shore.

Okay, there are other ways of fishing both these areas, but these times, outfits and techniques have worked for me over the years. So why don’t you sit down and do your homework. You may be surprised what results you get.

Now if you would like to know more about my fishing classes you can either contact me on mobile 0422 994207 or just go to my web site at www.garybrownfishing.com.au

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