Get it while you can
  |  First Published: April 2009

There’s quite a chill in the morning air and not so many hours of daylight left to play around with.

Although the fishing in May is normally very good, it’s time to get stuck into it now because the good times aren’t going to last for much longer.

Beach fishing can be first rate in May with bream, tailor and jewfish being very active and willing to take a range of baits or lures.

If you’re keen on pinning a jewie I hope you have gone out and caught a few squid by now, but if you’re not a squid person then get ready to cut up a few fresh tailor at the beach and use them after dark.

Don’t throw away the head because that’s actually the best bait to attract a decent jewie. And it will last longer in the surf if bream move in and start smashing at your baits.

Fresh mullet heads are another top, picker-resistant bait that have resulted in many good jewies over the years.


Rock fishing is also great at this time of year.

Bream and blackfish should be in full force, but as the water cools down they will be joined by black drummer to make up our three main Winter rockhopping targets.

I thoroughly enjoy fishing for all three, although I must admit to the blackfish being my favourites.

A rising tide with a small but washy swell early in the morning or later in the afternoon is prime time to fish for this lot.

If you want to have a good chance of catching all three species during the same session then by far the best bait is white bread. The occasional silver drummer, mullet and trevally will also smash a bread bait if in the vicinity.

Sadly, it’s been a very slack season for bonito but a few striped tuna and mid-sized longtails have been spun up off the stones, mainly around Terrigal and Avoca.

It’s been many years since local rock fishos have had a chance to tangle with these speedsters with any sort of regularity, so that’s been great.

By now, though, these fish may have moved on, but that doesn’t mean there’s no point having a spin this month.

In the past I’ve had some good times spinning up small kings, tailor, salmon, frigate mackerel and a few bonito in May. As long as the water isn’t too cold and the baitfish are still around, you’re in with a chance.


Offshore anglers have also encountered striped and longtail tuna. In fact, there have been a few larger patches of stripies showing up, much like the good old days.

They are great fun to catch as they’ll pull a bonito backwards and they make excellent cut baits for snapper.

Small rat kingfish have still been around, mainly close in around shallow reefs and headlands, but May is the time when we should start to see these smaller fish replaced by a few bigger kings.

Jigging out wide is one way of scoring a better class of fish but we shouldn’t neglect heading right in close and slow-trolling a live squid, pike or tailor around bommies or headlands.

Back in the calmer water, Tuggerah Lakes and Brisbane Water can be quite good in May.

Recently a few more jewfish and bream have been active at The Rip bridge and other spots around Brisbane Water.

I haven’t heard of any big jewies – most fish are between 2kg and 6kg, which is about the average size of fish within this system anyway.

There is, however, still a reasonable chance of larger fish up to 15kg or better and the best way to make contact with this class of fish is simply to use bigger baits like live pike, mullet or tailor.


By this stage of the year a lot of people start forgetting about flathead, but in reality May can be quite a good month in Brisbane Water or the lakes.

Last May there was an exceptional run of flatties in the lakes and they were widespread from the top of Lake Munmorah down to The Entrance and Long Jetty.

I rate flathead as one of our best table fish, so a good feed can be obtained by using soft plastics, live prawns or thin strips of fish flesh like mullet or tailor.

I’ve been having a great time catching plenty of bream in some of the area’s more secluded spots. While I’ve been paddling the kayak around the shallow lake waters, I’ve seen more blackfish moving in as each week passes.

So as the weather and water cool, these fish should become more active and by the end of the month and into June, the blackies could be in full swing.

Regardless of which type of fish you prefer to catch, I strongly suggest getting out there as much as possible this month. Remember that by mid-Winter we’ll be starting to struggle and that’s not far away now.

May can be a top month for drummer along local rock platforms and headlands.

The Entrance run out is one of the area’s main blackfish spots at this time of year. Although it can get crowded at times, the fishing can be very good.

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