It’s good to be fishing in the cooler months without getting gently roasted but fishing over the past month has displayed a very frustrating on-and-off pattern.
Fishing two days in a row, each with similar conditions, there can be a feast one session yet the very next day can be total famine.
Why is it so? If I knew the answer I would be a millionaire.
This is one of the addictive things about fishing. It’s the heady drug of shaking off a bad session and bouncing back, keen as hell to get out there and once again, challenge the fishing gods.
I’ve had to work hard offshore to bring home something to fillet.
Plenty of berley usually gets a trickle of action under way. All day we dunk tasty treats into the water, trying to extend our quarry’s attention span.
When there’s current, surface berley will take fish miles from your boat. By dropping the berley on the bottom or three-quarters down, it ensures fish stay within the ‘hook’ zone. This is where a berley dispenser comes into its own.
A deepwater berley bomb is very useful tool as it puts the enticer exactly where it will be welcome. I have fashioned my device from plumber’s downpipe, with sheet lead stuck into the base with silicone.
A screw eye gives a tying-off point for the retrieval line. I suggest a large Sampo swivel attached to the eye to nullify line twist. When at the required depth, a few hard tugs up-ends the pipe and the entrée is deposited.
My berley consists mainly of chook pellets, stale bread, pilchards and canned fish cat food. Add only a couple of drops of tuna/pilchard oil as too much will attract unwelcome predators such as sharks and other scavengers and carnivores which can drive away targeted table species.
On the local scene, it seems 2010 is the year of the nannygai. Most offshore reports include this fish, which can congregate in huge numbers. Their pure white flesh is very tasty when shallow fried but you usually need at least half a dozen for a decent meal. Those pesky, annoying chinaman leatherjackets are definitely on the wane, at least in shallow water.
It seems that beach fish are getting very fussy. Those fishos who are coming up trumps are using live beach or blood worms. The frozen packet varieties are getting spurned, especially by the whiting.
Curl Curl and Dee Why have an explosion of large surf bream, all taken on worm baits. On South Newport a 2.7kg sand flathead was pulled up on the beach by a holidaymaker from Parkes.
Two jewfish came from Freshwater and another smaller specimen from North Narrabeen. All fell to packet squid or mackerel.
The regular Narrabeen Lagoon anglers have fared well on the smaller tides. Steve McInnes has just invested in a small sea kayak and on one of his first outings nailed a 40cm whiting on a popper.
Near the large carpark off the Wakehurst Parkway, two Elanora locals scored a bag of flathead on Hawkesbury prawns. They fished in the late evening with just a minute pea sinker running all the way to the hook.
Doing a very slow troll near Currawong, Damian Kwong and Russell Learmouth hit a patch of lizards. Biggest flattie went 1.7kg and was taken on a Mann’s Stretch 10 deep diver.
Shoals of kingfish are still prowling around Pittwater. I saw a huge school at the RMYC and others near the eastern wharf of Scotland Island. Big splashy surface lures usually get a look and hang on for the fight of your life as these fish will take you for a merry dance around moorings and boats in their quest for freedom.
Crabs are the talk of the river. Up near Brooklyn, blue swimmers are in numbers with big hard-shelled males everywhere. They are even being taken on rod and line close in to the rail bridge.
The shallow water at the entrance to Cogra Bay is an ideal place to drop witches’ hat nets. Please don’t lay nets in heavy traffic areas and remember, it’s law to have your name and a contact phone number on each and every float.
• Monthly Tip: When using ultra-light line such as 1kg or 2kg, don’t tie on a heavier leader. Use a bimini twist or spider hitch knot to make a double. This now gives added strength down the business end without sacrificing the stealth factor.Reads: 1914