Get ’em while they’re hot!
  |  First Published: April 2010

As the days become shorter and cooler, the fishing around these parts should remain quite good if the previous few months are anything to go by.

But if you haven’t had the time to get into a few fish, this is the month to do it, because we’re going to move into a much slower part of the year very soon.

May is one of the best months to target calamari squid, either from the rocks or offshore.

They are normally very big calamari right now and into early Winter. Last year I was over a reef about a kilometre off Norah Head, catching some huge calamari right on sunset.

As I was admiring the size of one beast, I didn’t realise I had left the squid jig dangling in the water next to the boat. Within a split second my outfit was ripped from the boat and it quickly vanished into the depths, thanks to another monster.

Although losing an outfit is bad, it just goes to show the calibre of calamari in May and June.

Catching squid, either the smaller estuary arrows or the larger southern calamari, has become increasingly popular along the east coast over the past few years. They make excellent bait and first-class table fare and they are fun to catch.

It’s easier to get into squidding thanks to the high-tech advances in tackle in recent times from those squid-crazy Japanese.

Specialist rods, reels, lines and jigs are now available and the technology that goes into it all is quite amazing.

The latest innovation in squid jig design comes from Yamashita. The new ‘live’ series have a special thermo cloth coating that stores heat under water, mimicking a real live baitfish. They certainly work, too, as I managed eight good calamari from a local rock platform the first time I tried them.


The southern side of Catherine Hill Bay, Snapper Point, adjacent to the ramp at Norah Head and at Terrigal Haven are some good spots. There are also plenty of inshore reefs right along the Central Coast that are very reliable for catching calamari squid.

Unlike many fish, calamari prefer clean, calm water, so avoid washy spots or stirred-up areas after big seas.

Another very reliable option at this time of year is blackfish along our rocks and headlands. They can really build up in numbers, making for some excellent, action-packed fishing.

Green cabbage baits drifted under floats close in around washy points normally do the trick.

Another way, which I prefer to use more these days, is to berley with bread and then use bread baits under floats. Even more fun is to fish for them with imitation bread flies.

Although blackfish can turn into hungry monsters once they get the taste of bread, it can be trickier to catch them than it looks. One key is to berley quite lightly with just a small handful of mashed-up bread thrown in every 10 minutes or so.

It’s good to have a few small bits of bread floating on the surface because these will encourage them to feed up on top. However, if too much bread is floating on the surface they focus on it so much that they ignore any bait or fly that sits under the surface. So berley with caution!

Again, the rocks on the southern side of Catherine Hill Bay and down to Snapper Point are excellent blackfish areas, but you’ll find these weed-eaters almost anywhere there is some green cabbage growing on rocks that are surrounded by whitewater.

Fish a rising tide and always remember to stay safe, so don’t bother going if the seas are rough.

Other species that should be active this month include bream, jewfish, flathead, tailor, kingfish, snapper and bonito.


It’s actually been a fantastic season for bonito, with many fishos reporting excellent catches from the rocks and inshore reefs. Although most have been small, there has certainly been a sprinkling of big bonnies around to spark up proceedings.

Last year they stayed around right into June, but exactly how long they stick around depends on ocean currents. If it cools off quickly, they’ll head out wide.

Bream numbers have been pretty good in Brisbane Water and Tuggerah Lakes. This month they’ll still hit surface lures but don’t expect the action to be as intense as the previous few months.

Better lures to use as things start to cool off are diving minnows, soft plastics and metal blades.

Of course, good bait like fresh peeled prawns, pink nippers, bloodworms and so on will also score well.

Regardless of which species you prefer to chase, get into them now because the good times aren’t going to last!

May is a month for big calamari along the Central Coast.

The latest in squid jig technology are these Yamashita Live jigs, with their thermo cloth coating. They retain warmth, which mimics baitfish, and are perfect after dark or when the squid aren’t overly enthusiastic.

Get down to the rocks this month. Big calamari, blackfish, drummer, tailor and bream will be there to meet you.

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