Plenty of opportunities
  |  First Published: April 2009

With Easter and Anzac Day falling this month, there’ll be plenty of time away from the rigors of work to go for a fish.

The water is keeping warm and mahi mahi are at the FADs, kingfish are keen for a tussle, snapper are still being very co-operative, the occasional salmon is starting to show and the beaches are coughing up plenty of jewfish.

All in all, it augurs well for April and now that the weather is a lot cooler, being outdoors all day is no longer as stressful on the body.

In my travels I see a lot of people fishing and I study their skill levels with interest.

There are those who thread huge sinkers on heavy line, hitch on a packet-prawn and hope for the best.

Then there are the true lovers of the sport who employ spiderweb tackle, attach the freshest of baits, fish weightless, introduce berley and practise stealth. It’s this section of the fishing population that usually walks away with a feed at the end of the day.

Fishing is very akin to golf. When players hit the course, most want to play every shot like Tiger Woods. Those who have put in the hard yards, practised and researched the swing will hit the better shots.

It’s exactly the same with fishing. Luck plays but a small part in catching targeted species. Those who consistently put runs on the board have done their apprenticeship and are now gathering the fruits of their labour .

Fishing is not that hard. If you want to be good at it, devote time to learning how and it will pay large dividends.

What a wonderful kingfish season we have had yet again. These magnificent sport fish have been in ever-increasing numbers off the coast, in estuaries and up rivers.

It can be frustrating catching fish a few millimetres under the legal 65cm length but when a better one comes along, sometimes it’s too big and takes the angler for a merry dance before it wins its freedom.

With trembling hands, tackle is hurriedly re-rigged to get back into the action. It’s happened to me more times than I care to remember. Long may the kingie be king!

Let’s look at what’s been happening up here on the northern beaches.


When the sun hits the water, yellowtail go shy and then the predators move away. This was the scenario at Long Reef recently, according to regular fisho Dan Cuthbertson. Launch well before sunup and be in position as the false dawn sends its rosy fingers across the sky, our intrepid Dan tells me.

A late report from reader Ramoun Lazar, who fished Long Reef with fresh pillies, live baits and lures for zero. He then anchored over the various wrecks off Dee Why but was plagued by leatherjackets so decided to call it a day.

Big seas are not the best, making fishing the beaches hard work. Strong sideways sweep and huge rafts of weed make keeping bait on the bottom nigh impossible. But by the time you read this it should be OK to venture back to the sand.

Arran Truesdale sure got his money’s worth off the rocks with fishing guide Alex Bellissimo. Arran landed an 11.7kg groper and was absolutely stoked, as was companion Lance Jansen who also caught a 2.7kg fish.

Thick, brown muddy water, rain and strong wind gusts greeted Sam Chainsford after he launched at Parsley Bay in the Hawkesbury. Finding shelter to wet a line, he was plagued by small catfish and the occasional eel.

Fishing the Heads, Adrian Biasin and a mate hooked into a heap of rat kingfish around 60cm. All were released to be allowed to grow a little bigger.

Wayne Callaghan and a couple of cronies fished a favourite spot in Pittwater for a couple of hours one Saturday night. At the end of the session in the keeper box were flathead, bream, tailor and a solitary jewfish. Berley was a smorgasbord of prawns, squid and pillies sent to the bottom in a constant trail.


If you want to make your living as a fishing guide, boat skipper or deckhand, you must have a qualification. Brookvale TAFE Marine Studies runs courses from general purpose hand (deckie) to certificates which enable you to skipper a Manly ferry. Contact them on 131674 to find out more.

Monthly Tip: When fishing deep with offerings such as pilchards and garfish, cut off their tails. This stops baits spinning and leading to horrific line-twist problems.

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