Longtails, luderick and bream
  |  First Published: April 2009

The run of longtail tuna from the rocks has been pretty good lately.

The patches of fish running prior to Easter are set to continue for a while, with the schools of sea gar hugging the coast and attracting the big pelagics close to the rocks.

Along with the longtail come a few cobia and the menacing whaler and hammerhead sharks that take great delight in taxing your catch occasionally.

A few guys fishing Booti Booti had no such trouble a while back, with longtails to 12kg and a few cobia hook-ups.

The quality of the fishing will depend on a wind that helps push the gar closer to the coast, where they school in areas like the front of Shelley Beach down at Charlotte Point.

It’s not only the longtails that are hunting the rafts of baitfish, but tailor, too.

Beach fishing has been OK for choppers up to a kilo and reports of big schools from Old Bar to Seal Rocks have been keeping beach fishos more than happy.

Some school jew also are finding baits and one fish that was reported from Diamond beach was around 12kg.

The beaches are also fishing well for the Winter-run bream that are starting to move up the coast, along with the blackfish.

Strips of mullet or pieces of pilchard and garfish are enough for the bream and should you find a hole or decent gutter formation, a little berley wouldn’t hurt your efforts.


On of my favourite things at this time of year is to pump some yabbies and go potholing after dark for the migrating blackfish.

After dark, the fish seem to lose their inhibitions and swarm the broken water areas along the rocks and suitable gutters and holes fill with grazing luderick.

At times a yabby with a No 1 Mustad 540 hook and a rod length of line is all you need to Kelly-pole the fish from the water as the waves surge into the gutter or hole.

The secret to a bag limit (20, if you even need that many fish) is to have several headlands in mind before you start fishing.

One spot may be devoid of life while others will fire, so be prepared to ‘spot-hop’ until you find the fish.

Remember, too, that rock fishing is a very dangerous sport and the dark of a new moon only adds to the risk, so you have to pick your rising tide and the swell conditions very carefully.

I believe the ocean-run blackfish are far better eating than their lake counterparts and are well worth the effort to catch.

When looking for a spot to fish, you need to do some observations prior to darkness.

Look for areas on the rocks that have had the red and green weed grazed short. This is a good indication that the fish have been about.

Don’t be surprised if you hook a big drummer while fishing for blackfish. In spite of being considered daylight feeders, the rock blackfish (pigs) depend on the stage of the tide and some of my best pig sessions have been in the dark.


Given the amount of pressure the lake gets, it still fishes well for flathead and bream.

If you like eating leatherjackets, as I do, there are some big models haunting the weed beds throughout the lake. Recent trips to the Coomba Park area and the rocky shoreline of Yahoo Island, facing Coomba, I’ve seen some huge fan-belly jackets that are only too willing to take a bait.

Small long-shanked hooks and peeled prawns or squid baits will tempt them and a trickle of berley will gather the fish behind the boat, right where you want them.

While you are soaking a bait, it’s not too late to set a few witches’ hats around the edge of the weed fringes, because the blue swimmer crabs are still around looking for a feed.

As the bream move out of the estuary they tend to hold up on the oyster leases and if you find the right lease, there is plenty of lure and bait fishing to be had.

Some spots you will lose a few lures but the size and numbers of fish can be overwhelming.

It’s not too late to tempt the fish to the surface, either. A variety of topwater lures like the Luckycraft Sammy 65, Bassday Sugar Pen and other, perhaps, less expensive and expendable surface lures are all worthwhile.

Be warned, however, that bream are tough customers and the secret to extracting the fish from a surface bite is to have a very heavy drag set and to wind like crazy once they are hooked.

Keeping the bream’s head up, and even out of the water if you can, is key to extracting fish from two racks back in the lease.

The breakwall should be fishing well for jew in the new moon cycle. Divers have been reporting schools of 10kg jewfish as well as bream and blackfish along the wall, particularly at the ends. Large soft plastics or live bait are obvious choices for anglers.

All in all, May is a terrific month for just about everything and is worth taking advantage of before the seasonal change catches up and cools the water. But then we move into Winter proper and that will bring with it a range of promising fishing for a variety of species.

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