Rewarding reds
  |  First Published: March 2010

Now the Chinaman leatherjackets have thinned out at long last, offshore boaties are keeping hooks for more than one cast and the reward has been reds, and big ones at that.

That Mecca of grounds, Long Reef, keeps turning up the goods week after week and for those who employ berley and distribute it sensibly, the bounty has been fantastic.

Snapper are also off Newport Reef and recently we found a willing bunch of mid-sized reds at the southern end of Boultons. They came on the bite right at the bottom of the tide.

Rain saw the beaches fire up a little more consistently. I love my beach fishing but many times this year I have walked away with hardly enough to feed a cat.

Recently, however, I’ve had more wins than losses and that pleases the missus no end, as she’s addicted to fresh whiting.

Jewfish have been patchy with more losses than wins so far this year but I’ve always found these golden hunters more ready to accept my offerings in early Winter than over the hot Summer nights.

After the rain, the Hawkesbury has come back with a vengeance.

Stories of flathead the size of government buses, jewfish too heavy to pick up with a forklift and bream around the kilo mark (not exaggerating that one!) have filtered through.

I did a crab sortie near Brooklyn and after three hours we had our bag limit of male blue swimmers in the bin.

One alpha specimen would have fed the Labour front bench in one sitting. It was an absolute monster. For starters, try Moony Moony and the mouth of Mullet creek.

Bar Point is a hot spot, as is Milsons Passage.

When you’re after bream, jew and lizards, fish the smaller, neap tides which give you a larger window of slower run, allowing for lighter lead which leads to more enquiries.


It’s great to see the big schools of salmon in Pittwater.

Only those who rise well before sunrise will witness the feeding frenzies that happen everyday and boy, what wonderful sport they make on light spinning gear.

Start off abeam the port marker off Palm Beach and watch for birds in the early gloom as they feed on the scraps. Oily slicks in the water are another dead giveaway that the scaly hordes are close by.

With the lagoons full of water, the entrances to Dee Why, Curl Curl, Queenscliff and Narrabeen are a must if you want that elusive jewie off the sand.

Don’t be meek – pin big baits on big hooks because this will eliminate annoying, nibbling by-catch, leaving only jewfish, sharks and the occasional big ray able to swallow the oversize offering.

Very little has come back to me about Narrabeen Lake. I admit I have not wet a line there for a while, although I drive past it at least four times a week.

If you have any information about this valuable stretch of water, please let me know so I can pass it on.

Also, no word at all for months on Queenscliff Lagoon, which I know always produces a few surprises during Summer. Are those tarpon still giving good sport and, more importantly, are they getting bigger or have they stunted?

• Monthly Tip: Every time I go out, I make sure I have some sort of berley. Because I use a lot of the stuff, I buy it in bulk. For chook pellets and wheat, the local produce store will sell it in 20kg bags. Keep both in airtight bins, as they will decompose very quickly if left exposed to air.

Gone are the days when you could buy or get given day-old bread. I now buy the generic loaves and store them in the freezer.

My local Aldi provides me with cheap cans of cat food as well as tins of sardines, all of which get mashed into the mix. I always have a few large ice-cream containers with frozen, made-up berley ready to be plopped in the berley pot if I decide to go out on short notice.

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