With Winter well and truly set in, it’s no surprise that there are some impressive catches of bream, blackfish and pigs from the rocks.
Large tailor are a little hard to find but they are being reported in sufficient numbers to keep the hopes high. Schools of chopper tailor around 30cm are pretty easy to come by from the ocean rock washes and beach gutters and a pilchard or mullet strip bait on ganged hooks is a welcomed offering.
Bream up to 45cm are also candidates for a big bait though are more readily taken on cubes of fish flesh and cooked prawns.
Spearos I talk to tell me there are masses of blackfish and bream along most of the headlands with Bennetts Head holding really good numbers of fish from the Tanks to the point.
The schooling blackfish have been a little hard to catch during the day but as night falls, along with the temperature, they move in to graze on the weed growth along the rocks.
It’s this time of year that I like to target the big bronzies with yabbies after dark and bags of kilo-plus fish are easily caught once you find a pocket of water or pothole that the fish have moved into.
A small ball sinker running down to a No 1 hook is all you need and if you find the right spot you need only Kelly pole the fish from the water.
Early-morning spinning with Raider lures will attract the bream and the last of the bonito with the odd salmon. The salmon don’t seem to be as thick this year or perhaps they are just a bit slow off the mark and will make a surprising recovery to plague the beach anglers again later in the season.
Janies Corner has produced good bags of tailor and bream and at high tide during the night the blackfish can be found along the outlet pipe – but you do have to watch the sea conditions.
Haydens Reef, off Middle Head, has been producing some squid, as has much of the broken reef area around the headland. The squid are a bonus to a mixed bag and even if you don’t like to eat them, they are great bait.
The shallow areas of broken rock and reef around Blackhead have produced the odd pinky snapper and while at the ramp cleaning table, I noticed a few good-sized trag and flathead.
Latitude Rock is worth a drift or a soft plastic for mixed reef species and snapper.
The lake is still holding some big bream and at the time of writing, there were some big bream around the cockle weed and flats at Coomba Park area so I’m sure there will be still scattered fish in the vicinity.
The bream in the lower part of the lake are a mix of hungry sea-run fish and wary residents.
The bream you catch with the yellowy dots over their scales tend to be spent fish that have moved in from the coast. The gnarly big-headed grey fish with blue lips and attitude are the Forster locals.
Blackfish, too, have started to trickle in from the coast and will soon be taking up station around the lease poles and weed fringes.
Tailor to a kilo or more have been terrorising the baitfish in the lake in areas like Hells Gate and the front of Wallis Island. These fish have been responsible for taking more than a few expensive bream lures, so be warned.
The Forster Fishing Carnival started under difficult weather conditions but finished strongly and is a credit to all the people involved with the organisation and direction that kept it on track for the week. I’m sure it will be even bigger and better next year.Reads: 711