Salmon and tailor are hungry
  |  First Published: July 2008

We were spoiled last year when we had warm water and even warmer weather right through Winter but we should enjoy this cool period because the long-range weather gurus are predicting a very hot Summer, starting off with a heatwave in October.

Haven’t the salmon and tailor been co-operative? These fish are in numbers and boats are enjoying great sport when they come across a heaving mass of these fish. Chrome slices, flies, poppers, fizzers are all taking these aerial fighters.

Who said the beaches don’t produce in Winter? I had a session recently when I landed a feed of beautiful whiting and a solitary flathead, all on live beachworms.

During the day in Winter there are very few people on the beaches and you usually have the best gutters to yourself.

Offshore, we caught a long tom on a deep-jigged fly. It was a quiet day and my mate was just blind casting when this toothy fish thought the fly might just do for morning tea.

Don’t forget the john dory. They are aggregating at The Basin, Mackerel Beach, Taylors Point, Coasters Retreat and Church Point, in fact anywhere where there are bait schools. They are so simple to catch, just suspend a live yellowtail under a bobby cork.

Big, bad drummer seem to come to the fore in Winter.

These rock dwellers sure take some muscle to dislodge and can weigh up to 10kg. We had a ball on these fish off Whale Beach rocks using frozen cunjevoi, now that abalone gut has been banned.

Just slide a small pea sinker down to an extra-strong 1/0 hook and let it waft in the whitewater. When you do get a take, hang on for dear life and don’t give an inch – bloody great fun.


Damn those chinaman jackets! Why are they in such plague proportions?

I would’ve thought they would die out as they compete for food but it seems all grounds have these fish at all levels and trying to get bait through for more refined table species is nigh impossible.

Winter, Summer, Autumn and Spring, they never leave us alone. Mind you, they are very tasty table fish if you decide to target them.

Off Lion Island, trevally are right on the line where rock meets sand. The northern tip is the place to anchor and don’t forget the berley.

Trevors will stay all day provided they are supplied with something to eat. These are my favourite fish for the barbecue because they are oily and when cooked have a rich flavour.

Tailor are getting bigger with a 4kg monster taken from Long Reef Beach. We’ve seen tailor up around 6kg occasionally and you can imagine how hard they would pull!

Using the limited cabbage from surrounding rocks, two blokes had a ball on the blackfish just south of Curl Curl Beach, landing more than 20 fish, swapping fish in the keeper net to retain four of the biggest. No names can be mentioned as they both were having ‘sickies’ and their boss, a keen fisho himself, reads fishing columns each week.

Donny Leversham launches his 3.9m tinny with its ancient Johnno 6hp at Bayview and potters to a secret location at the back of Scotland Island or the mouth of McCarrs Creek, where he float-fishes for his favourite luderick and bags some beauties. Donny harvests his weed from somewhere near Church Point and mostly scores blackfish around a kilo.

Evan Williams took his family out for a fish at Flint and Steel. Dusky flathead, silver trevally, tailor and small throwback snapper were the results for the day.

The kids were over the moon and all fish were taken on old squid and prawns Evan found deep down in his bait fridge.

There are plenty of slimy mackerel, tailor and small trevally at the naval base in the Harbour. Kingfish are still roaming the moorings round The Spit bridge, according to my kayaking reporter.


Those red-nose garfish are back in numbers and are very keen to take bread in Narrabeen Lake. Start the search off Wimbledon Avenue or at Pipe Clay Point, use a small hook and make sure you berley well.

In Winter, mullet are more receptive to berley although small bream will zoom in and prevent the larger fish a look. Ducks, too, can be annoying as they gather and suck up the bread floating on the surface.

Every Thursday at 6.35am on Radio 2SM (1269 on the AM band) I give a round-up of what’s biting where in Sydney from south to north. Let me know what’s happening and I will report it on the program

If you are diving about 100m out from Balmoral Beach, look out for a small Canon digital camera lying on the bottom. It fell off a boat drifting the sand flats and was only two weeks old.

Monthly tip: When tying hooks to hold live baits, employ a loop knot instead of the regular blood hitch. This way the bait is not tightly tethered and can wiggle, twitch and turn, attracting the predators.

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