Rain keeps the bite going
  |  First Published: August 2008

We have certainly had a fair share of rain this Winter. It hasn’t come in dribs and drabs but for a week or so at a time which is not the norm.

What all this rain has done is focus fishing efforts on the rivers, especially around the mouths and estuaries where predators lie in wait as food is delivered right to their mouths.

There have been good catches of jew, salmon and tailor in Broken Bay and I don’t see this trend ending anytime soon.

Let’s not forget the entrances to the many lagoons on the Northern Beaches – Narrabeen, Dee Why, Curl Curl and Queenscliff.

Beach anglers who target jewfish have been having a great time as these predators queue up to feed on the continual outpourings of prawns and baitfish from the various lakes.

Usually in Winter Pittwater becomes gin-clear and fish go into retreat. With all the run-off, it has had colour and daytime catches have been well above average.

Bream especially have hit centre stage with some honker specimens taken from West Head, Palm Beach and around the moorings down the southern end.

Those who berley and pump for nippers have had the best results, with spider-web tackle and stealth other important ingredients for success.

Winter is a time when I venture onto the rocks, when conditions allow, and arm-wrestle with big drummer.

Black drummer are very common but the past few years I have seen quite a few silver drummer in the catch.

My favourite bait is cunjevoi, which I cut and freeze when the westerlies blow, giving pancake flat seas. Now they have banned abalone gut, it leaves only cunje, crabs, peeled prawns and bread as main attack baits on these brutish fish.

Areas like Warriewood, Dee Why, Curl Curl and Freshwater are all prime hunting grounds for drummer.

It’s usually round about August when we get those strong westerlies that kill the fishing and produces clear water but it’ll be interesting to see what this month throws up after such a topsy-turvy weather.


Heading out with mate Keith Kneebone, Guy Innes took a few snapper home from close in at Long Reef. Guy reports they were also pestered by sharks that also took a liking to the fresh squid.

Guy asks, why is it that some snapper have big bumps on their heads while others don’t? Is it a male/female thing or just different feeding patterns, or some genetic mutation?

I don’t mind when the weather turns nasty. Big seas usually mean an upsurge in beach fishing activity. If you can find sheltered but turbid water, you’ll get species like tailor and salmon that seem to relish the inclement weather.

Fishing guide Alex Bellissimo has been finding large sand whiting for his clients in the Dee Why Beach gutters. After teaching them how to catch beachworms, Alex then puts the wrigglers to good use on these tasty surf dwellers.

Gun beach angler Lorraine Fraser took a haul of chrome surf bream off a local beach. I know Lorraine favours worm baits but that was all the info I could extract from this super-keen Narrabeen RSL fishing club member.

In Winter, most of the fishing effort goes in Pittwater, the Hawkesbury and Brisbane Water. I’m glad to report that Pittwater is still producing the goods with chopper tailor showing all down the western foreshores.

Towlers Bay and Woody Point are worth exploring as they usually have fish early in the morning.

Working soft plastics off Ettalong Beach, Bernie Hall found a half a dozen whiting enjoying the outgoing tide. Bernie released all fish except one, which he gave to a spectator.

Narrabeen Lake angler Rupert has been trying Queenscliff Lagoon for a change, where he saw a chap pull out a couple of large bully mullet using bread under a small quill float.

We are so reliant on the weather. Now there’s a feast of information available to us anglers on the internet. Surf cams on most beaches show conditions in real time from the comfort of home.

Start at the Bureau of Meteorology at www.bom.gov.au. Also check out The Weather Channel website at www.weatherchannel.com.au.

Have you tried on a pair of ladies nylon stockings under the trousers to keep warm in Winter? I know it’s a bit pansy but I tell you what…it does keep the legs warm. Probably a good idea to tell the wife first before you try it out!

Monthly Tip: When using pumped nippers as bait, don’t pull off the large, single claw. Firstly, it’s not natural and secondly, the nipper clicks this claw when in distress and fish will have an ear out, ready to home in on it.

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