Fish of the Month  

2013 - 2014 "Fish of the Month"

Month

Species

Winner

Weight

September

Morwong

Ned Buzaljko

 1.02

October

Mulloway

Charlie Spataro

1.77

November

Tuna

Not won  

 

December

Whiting

Glen Baker

0.39 

January

Kingfish

Not won

 

February

Trevally

Gary Stanborough

0.44 

March

Snapper

Jerry Maroudas   

0.71  

April

Bream

Mark Edwards

0.53

May

Tailor

Ned Buzaljko  

1.02 

June

Luderick

Ken Chubb

1.25

July

Drummer

Not won     

  

August

Flathead

Bob Nutman

0.82

 

2012 - 2013 "Fish of the Month"

Month

Species

Winner

Weight

September

Morwong

George Ghossein

 1.28

October

Mulloway

Ned Buzaljko

1.52

November

Tuna

Charlie Spataro  

1.32

December

Whiting

Mark Goodwin

0.86 

January

Kingfish

Gary Skuse

3.31

February

Trevally

Not won 

 

March

Snapper

Charlie Spataro  

0.63 

April

Bream

Jerry Maroudas

1.28

May

Tailor

Ned Buzaljko 

0.74

June

Luderick

John Armstrong

0.52

July

Drummer

Charlie Spataro    

1.92 

August

Flathead

Steve Turner

1.13

 

2011 - 2012 "Fish of the Month"

Month

Species

Winner

Weight

September

Morwong

Andre Baillon

 0.89

October

Mulloway

Not won

 

November

Tuna

Brad Twyman  

5.39

December

Whiting

Bob Cartwright

0.76 

January

Kingfish

Not won

 

February

Trevally

Ben Gygi

1.48 

March

Snapper

Lee Rayner

1.85 

April

Bream

Jerry Maroudas

1.32

May

Tailor

Ned Buzaljko

1.17

June

Luderick

Ned Buzaljko

1.37

July

Drummer

Steve Elena    

 2.30

August

Flathead

Dave Callins

2.68

 

2010 - 2011 "Fish of the Month"

Month

Species

Winner

Weight

September

Morwong

Steve Edwards

1.19

October

Mulloway

Rory Cartwright

1.10

November

Tuna

Tony Debono 

3.29

December

Whiting

Jerry Maroudas

 0.61

January

Kingfish

Glen Baker

 8.23

February

Trevally

Stuart Bell

 1.12

March

Snapper

Phil Lowe

 2.13

April

Tailor

Ned Buzaljko

1.446

May

Bream

Andre Baillon

0.56

June

Luderick

Steve Elena

0.78

July

Drummer

Steve Elena   

3.82

August

Flathead

Steve Elena

1.93

 

Previous years' "Fish of the Month"

Month

Species

2009/10

2008/9

2007/8

2006/7

2005/6

September

Morwong

2.30

1.04

1.06

1.21

Not won

October

Snapper

1.82

1.20

2.0

1.06

0.9 kg

November

Tuna

 Not won

 Not won

 10.11

Not won 

2.55 kg

December

Whiting

0.781

0.463

 0.92

0.48

0.59 kg

January

Kingfish

3.15

 Not won

 4.65

3.54

2.1 kg

February

Bream

 1.05

 1.38

 1.25

1.057

1.37 kg

March

Mulloway

4.2

 4.32

 1.5

1.4 

7.46 kg

April

Tailor

1.29

 1.27

 1.54

1.5

2.26 kg

May

Trevally

0.671

 1.65

 1.44

0.98 

1.8 kg

June

Luderick

1.11

 0.91

 1.03

1.5

0.88 kg

July

Drummer

3.54

 2.59

4.02

3.774

 3.0 kg

August

Flathead

1.22

1.45

 2.40

1.92

1.68 kg

 

Drummer – July fish of the month

Where to catch them

Drummer in Sydney are caught off the ocean rocks in the winter months.  Look for an open gutter, channel or hole in a rock platform.  Most headlands and rocky outcrops have at least a few of these features and provided they meet certain criteria, all can be fished with a degree of success.  Any hole that is at least a couple of metres deep at high tide and features a bit of white water is a great place to start.

It’s even better if the bottom consists of a mix of broken weed and rock, interspersed with patches of sand. The most productive holes also tend to be in the vicinity of cunjevoi beds or areas of cabbage and green weed.

 

It goes without saying that you must be very careful when rock fishing.  Never fish alone, carry the necessary safety gear, don’t take risks.

Technique

The crucial ingredient in catching drummer is to berley.  Start berleying as soon as you get to the spot, before you start to rig up.

In a big bucket, mix in enough water to make a mushy mixture of any or all of the following - bread, breadcrumbs, fish scraps, prawn heads, tuna oil and cunje and cabbage scraps.  You can use a combination of a few or all of these – it doesn’t matter.

It takes about half an hour for the fish to respond.  Once they do, small handfuls of berley thrown in regularly will keep them around throughout the session.

Tides play a key role in successful drummer fishing.  Fish tend to frequent the fishing spots only when there’s plenty water depth and cover.  That means they’re usually locations where fish move in to feed on a rising tide and quickly leave on a falling tide.  Of course, there are exceptions but in order to increase your catch rate, we recommend that you fish the last two hours of the rising tide.

Another factor to consider is the light.  A decent supply of foam and white-water will provide drummer with the cover and courage they need to venture out, even on the brightest day.

Fishing is usually best at first and last light or under a cloudy sky. The perfect drummer fishing scenario to fish would be the last hour of daylight coinciding with the last hour of the rising tide.

Fishing after dark can be hazardous but well worth the effort if you are careful and confident. Drummer will continue to bite well and truly after the sun has set. In fact, they often do not come on the bite until nightfall.

Rig.

A sturdy 3.2-metre to 3.7-metre rod with a centre pin, Alvey or medium to large threadline reel loaded with 8kg to 15kg nylon line is the go.

Use a small ball sinker running freely down to a medium-sized hook.  Alternately, you can use an egg size float and small sinker above a swivel and 45cm leader to keep the bait off the bottom  

In you tackle box, a selection of small ball sinkers ranging from 000 to No 1 or No 2 will suffice.  Successful drummer fishing is all about using the smallest sinker you can get away with.

To achieve the perfect balance, experiment until your bait is moving freely in the wash without sinking too fast or getting thrown back in your face by the swell.

Drummer don’t have huge mouths so hook sizes ranging between No 4 and 1/0 are the best.  They do have strong jaws though, so use strong hooks.

Baits
The best bait by far is blue tail prawn pieces or cunjevoi.
  

How to cook drummer

Drummer is one of the best fish you’ll eat, and because commercial fishing boats can’t get close to the rocks to catch them, you’re unlikely to find drummer in the fish shop –so you have to catch it yourself.

When you catch the fish, bleed it and don’t allow it to dry out in the sun on the rocks.   Fillet and skin the fish.  Leave the fillets in the fridge over night.  That seems to make them taste better.  Lightly flour with a bit of all purpose seasoning in with the flour, then shallow fry for a couple of mins each side and eat with a squeeze of lemon juice.

 

 

 Flathead – August fish of the month

We reckon that these are your best methods for getting a feed of flathead in the estuary, deep sea, or off the beach.

 

In the Estuary

Flicking soft plastics is definitely the go.  You’ll probably catch more flathead bottom bouncing deep sea, but you’ll get bigger fish in the bay on soft plastics.

 

You probably need to spend a bit of money here to get a carbon fibre rod about 7 feet long and a good light spinning reel about 2000 size.

Buy the best rod you can afford.  It needs to be light weight and have quality guides (single foot for less weight) on it, with preferably a cork grip as this transmits gentle bites from the fish to your hands better than hyperlon or other grip materials do.

Look for a reel that has an excellent drag system and that lays the line very evenly.  A metal spool is a must as are coated bail rollers, as braid will rapidly wear away the lip of a graphite spool and cut a groove in a soft bail roller. Again weight is important so look for a nice light reel.

Spool the reel with 8 lb braid with about 2 rod lengths of 8 lb fluoro carbon leader.  Don’t use a swivel; join the main and leader with a uniknot or albright knot. 

There are lots of plastics and jig heads to choose from and most will catch flathead as long as it hits the bottom.  Here are a few that were recommended in a quick informal poll.

    Bassmaster stand up jig head with the pink Squidgy

    Berkley Nitro jig heads or the Squidgy resin jig heads.

    Squidgy fish in killer tomato or the red with silver/gold in the hot tails

    Berkley Powerbait Realistix 3" in Pearl Olive shad with the scales

    4 inch Berkley flickbaits on Squidgy pointy heads

    Pink Squidgy fish

    Anything pink or orange in Squidgy or gold/black shads

    Chartreuse 3" or 4" with enough weight to get to the bottom and stay there

    Squidgy Fish Black & Gold 100mm with a 6gm or 9gm round head in water up to 4metres anything deeper 12gm also 70mm Black and Gold

    3" Slider in most colours teamed up with a size 2 Nitro jig head or 1/16th if its not deep water

    Chartreuse in the 3" Berkley mullet

    Squidgy bug prawn colour

    3 inch Berkeley Gulp minnow in rainbow colour, 1/16 to 1/8th  jig head to suit conditions.

It's like learning a new language isn't it?

 

When drifting for flathead in the estuary, flick ahead of the drifting boat, let your lure sink to the bottom and then keep lifting it in a jerking motion and letting it sink while winding in until the boat goes past the lure.  If you can avoid it, in shallower water, don't let the shadow of your boat drift over the area that you are casting towards.

You can also fish for flathead with soft plastic by casting and retrieving off the shore.

 

Deep Sea

Bottom bouncing off the coast of the eastern suburbs down as far as off the National Park should get you flathead once your sounder tells you that you’re past the reefy areas and onto sand.  You will also need to get past the leather jackets.

For your rig, you need a fairly stiff boat rod about 6 feet long combined with a medium size overhead reel similar to the popular Shimano TLD 25.  You should be able to get a rod and reel combo for about $100 that will do the job just as well, except that it may take you a bit longer to wind back up after your bait is taken, and there's a lot of that when fishing for flathead. Fill the reel up with 20 to 30 lb braid and same size mono leader.  Use a two hook deepwater paternoster rig with as heavy a snapper sinker as you need for the speed of the drift.  Use a swivel to join the main line to the leader.  For bait use prawns, pilchards, fish pieces, mullet, squid.

Make sure that the sinker gets to the bottom and bounces as the boat drifts.  If the drift is too fast and your bait isn’t hitting the bottom, use a sea anchor and go to a heavier sinker.  If you have to go to a 1 lb sinker off the coast, the wind is probably too strong and you should think about coming in.

When boating the flathead, remember to net them before pulling their head out of the water.  If their head is lifted out they tend to shake their heads which can cut your line on their teeth.

 

Off the beach

You won’t get as many flathead off the beach and you can get pestered by lots of tiny ones, but the bigger ones are also there.

Use your beach rod with a gang hook and whole pilchard for bait.  You don’t need to do anything fancy, if they’re there, that should catch them.

 

Cooking Flathead

Try this recipe.

    2 cloves of garlic crushed and chopped,

    equivalent quantity of fresh ginger chopped,

    zest and juice of one lime,

    a sprinkle of paprika,

    a few pepper corns.

Crush all this up into a rough paste.

 

Cube the flathead fillets (about 1 inch chunks) into a bowl then add the paste,

Mix through thoroughly and cover with glad wrap and pop in the fridge for a half hour. 
Crank up the BBQ, and fry fish chunks till cooked.

 

 

Morwong – September fish of the month

Where to catch them

Morwong are usually found in good numbers where reef areas meet sand, gravel or mud.  These places are worth a try.

1. Off Clovelly Cemetery in around 60 metres depth.

2. South east out of Botany Bay heads. Between the white ball and the lighthouse in about 40 metres.

3. The Peak

 

Technique
The best catches of morwong tend to be taken on the drift.
  This is probably related to the way they spread out and feed across the bottom rather than school up.  Because morwong do not stray very far from the bottom, use a heavily weighted rig to keep the baits in the strike zone.  Use 10 to 20 kg lines depending on where and how you are fishing and what weight of lead is needed to hold bottom in the depth being worked and speed of the drift.

 

Rig
The standard paternoster rig you would use for bottom bashing outside for flathead, with a snapper on the bottom and two hooks on droppers, topped by a swivel, tends to be as good a rig as any on morwong, but the choice of hook pattern and size is important.
  The fish have a small but tough mouth, so small but tough hooks should be used for best results.  Try a 2/0 hook in a Viking or Suicide pattern.  If you want to be really fancy, add a small glow bead to the dropper and let it sit on top of the hook.

 

Baits
The best bait by far is prawns, followed by squid.
  Prawns can come off the hook easily, so put a prawn on one hook a squid strip on the other.

 

How to cook morwong

Simmer in small frypan or oven bake in foil with coconut cream and mango slices.  You can put in a whole chilli and fresh kaffir lime leaf for flavour.  Remember to take these out before serving.  Then serve with brown rice and steamed vegetables.

 

 

Mulloway - October fish of the month

BEST BAITS: Live poddy mullet, beach worms, yellowtail, mullet or tailor fillet, whole small squid.

 

The first thing you require when fishing for Mulloway is a great deal of patience. Mulloway are usually targeted by an angler and many hours can be spent trying to catch one of these impressive fish.  Deep surf gutters, rocky headlands and deep river holes are best spots to seek a Mulloway, at night (new moon) and on the top or bottom of the tide. From March until September is the preferred time.

Cast out and then play a waiting game.  Remain alert.  If a Mulloway picks up the bait and starts moving, lean and wind to set the hook.  (Do not jerk or the bait will be pulled out of the fish's mouth.)  Once hooked a Mulloway will make at least one good run, possibly two. Line will have to be released but the angler should apply controlling pressure to the spool so that not too much line is taken.  When the fish tires, start winding, turn the fish and bring it in.  Be alert for the second run as the fish comes in close.  Repeat the previous procedure until you land the fish.

 

A large Mulloway is a very highly prized catch by all anglers and certainly tests an angler's skills and equipment to the maximum. (SPECIAL NOTE:- When you have landed a Mulloway and long runs with a lot of line involved, the line pressure on the spool could be excessive. The line should be run off as soon as possible and wound back onto the spool under normal pressure to avoid damage to your reel.)

 

Note: To rig live bait insert single hook through flesh behind the head. (Do not pierce backbone.)

 

Places to try:

Under Captain Cook Bridge

Between Captain Cook and Tom Uglys Bridge

Under Tom Ugly’s Bridge

The drop off at the end of the third runway

The deep channel at the entrance to Yowie Bay

Six Fathom Reef (also known as Simpsons Reef) at the mouth of Port Hacking

 

Barbeque Mulloway Cutlets

 

Ingredients:

4 Mulloway (NSW-Jewfish) cutlets 2-3cm thick

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

2 cloves garlic crushed

2 teaspoons golden syrup (or honey)

1 pinch chinese five-spice powder

ground black pepper

chopped parsley.

 

Method:

Mix soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, sesame oil, crushed garlic, golden syrup and five-spice powder. Add ground black pepper to taste. Pour over cutlets and let sit for 15 minutes.

 

Place on oiled, medium-hot barbeque hotplate, and pour a little leftover marinade over each cutlet. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes then turn. Pour a little more marinade over cutlets. Allow to cook for another 3-4 minutes then turn. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, then serve with a sprinkle of chopped parsely and a squeeze of lemon juice.

 

NOTE : Cooking time will vary with thickness of cutlets and temperature of hotplate. Cutlets should be cooked as for a rare scotch fillet of the same thickness. Should be soft and just cooked in the centre. DO NOT OVERCOOK!

Special Article on catching Mulloway - by Marcus Unkuri

Mulloway fishing at the beach

The reality of being successful in this particular pursuit of the silver ghost includes a lot of commitment to enduring the long hours, a lot of which is the reparation part rather than actual mulloway fishing time spent on the rod.  There are many fish caught by those who go against most proven methods or are new to beach fishing for mulloway.  Plenty of fish are also landed or at least hooked by others targeting tailor, bream, whiting etc.  But overall, these are the minority of the fish pulled off the beach each year and using the hit and hope method is more likely a fluke by the lucky some who have produced fish like this every now and again.

The majority of mulloway are caught by people who understand the theory of fishing peak periods determined by a combination of tides, moon phases, water temperature, barometric pressure etc.

Therefore, given that a month has at least 28 days and there are 24 hours in a day, there are about 672 hours in the month.  Out of those, about half the number of hours will produce zero mulloway. About a quarter of the remaining time will be a small chance, with the remaining quarter of the time having a good chance.  Using this knowledge, you can pre determine the times that you should be fishing for mulloway and save yourself from wasting a lot of time when the odds are against you.

Mulloway will take a variety of baits and although at times will prefer some to others o will only feed on one particular type, it is a good idea to present a few of the favourites in each outing, just in case they are cold on one and hot on the other.

My favourite bait on the beach is squid  - live or just caught.  A close second to that is live yellowtail, tailor, pike, mullet or any of these using the head as a bait with a bit of flesh left on, instead of a filet as it is harder for pickers to get at the head as opposed to fillets which they can clean quickly.  It helps to hit the head with a hammer to soften it up a bit to aid the hook up.

Using any of the above bait with either 8/0  -  10/0 circle hook or two snelled 8/0 – 10/0 octopus hooks which must be razor sharp.  Buy the best you can afford and use new hooks every trip along with 60 pound to 80 pound leader to a heavy duty barrel swivel rated to at least 100 pounds then a sinker sliding clip and star sinker, size dependant on the swell, current etc.  The least is best, so just enough for you to hold bottom.

Then head off to your pre planned gutter that you have been watching over the past few days and flick your bait out to just past the inside edge of the gutter.  This is the area where the fish will travel to seeking food from the eroding edge of the sank bank exposing all kinds of worms and pippies etc in turn attracting small fish to large as the food chain works.

Then it is best to be holding your rod with the reel in gear with a fair amount of drag pressure, something like 4kg if using main line of 30 pound mono.  Letting the fish run with a bait is ridiculous as it will be trying to spit the bait the moment it picks it up and senses there is something not right and alerting it to unnatural danger.  Instead, if using a circle hook, just simply wait till you feel the weight of the fish and then wind, do not strike at the fish as the hook does not work on that principle and you will not hook anything.  If you are using the two snelled octopus hook rig, when you first feel the fish, walk towards it giving some slack for it to go with a short distance.  When you see slack being taken up from the fish then strike really hard as their mouths have tough bones and it isn’t easy to drive hooks in.   So really give it a solid strike holding the reel spool at the same time for a few seconds to ensure as best you can of the hooks penetrating the bony mouth.  Then as there is no structure on a beach to lose the fish to, it’s just a matter of maintaining enough pressure accordingly to tire the fish out and using the wave to wash the fish up on the sand which is what makes all the effort worthwhile when you see what an awesome looking fish they are you forget about the struggle of carrying your live bait down the beach and once you have the fish up on the sand be sure to keep your torch off and camera flash for later as you do not want to advertise for anyone else on the beach to discover you found where the silver ghost exists.  It can become more than a little aggressive at times when there is limited gutters worthy fishing on a beach stretch if everyone knows of the etiquette first there has the gutter which means more than likely there is only enough room for the one person to fish, so move on.

There are invariably too many other factors and unforeseen or impossible influences to predict beforehand.  Once you have predetermined the times you think most likely to produce fish, then forget about the mulloway as you can only do so much in that department, providing you have a location in mind.  Basically you now have a date, time and location.

You can forget all about mulloway until you are able to catch the bait.  As fresh as you may think any particular bought bait is, it is not fresh enough to give you the best chance at having a fish hooked up.  Fresh means live or just caught within a few hours of fishing for the silver ghost. There are still many fish caught on pre-purchased bait and providing they are as best as possible to having been kept the correct way to maintain in freshness, you are still in with a chance of producing a fish.  But in comparison, I think you decrease your chance by over 50% when using the live or just dead baits.

The mulloway are not that complex a fish and a lot more people would catch these fish if they had gone to the effort involved in bait gathering and this is the part which consumes the hours.  The bait is the most important part of hooking up to a fish providing you got location and most likely feeding period. It is what catching the fish is all about.

   

Tuna – November fish of the month

Yellowfin are very popular with offshore fishermen, as they are a tenacious adversary and great eating.  This month Bill Lee shares his tips on catching tuna.

 

Where to catch them

They are found in all waters off Sydney between April and November.  Trolling is best at the beginning and the end of their run and cubing is especially good during September and October.

 

Rig & Lures

When trolling, run two rod and reel combos and two flat lines (deck winches 725C Alveys).  This way, you can catch more varieties of surface fish (Stripies, Albacore etc.)

 

On the rods drag a couple of Zuka lures just past the prop wash and on the winches pink or blue 3 inch squids over Xmas trees with treble 6/0 hooks.  On calm bright days use diving lures, say F18, to get down away from the surface.

 

Technique

When cubing you need to be drifting and have patience.  Go to where you know or heard fin are, watch other boats, listen to the radio, as successful anglers like to tell everyone of their captures, be courteous, don’t rush over to someone you see hooked up, give them space and find your own fish, it is more satisfying when it pays off, be careful not to cut across a boat dragging lures and don’t cut through too close to someone cubing.

 

On the way out to the fishing ground, stand a half thawed block of pilchards on its edge and cut through it with a  sharp cleaver so that the cubes are ready when you stop.  At first, a couple of handfuls into the water then as one piece drifts out of sight in the burley trail drop another cube and don’t stop until you decide to come home, even if you are hooked up as you might want to try for another if you are still on the same drift.

 

Put a whole pilchard on a tuna hook by pushing the barb through the mouth and out between the gills with only the barb protruding, put the bait in the burley trail and with the rod drag set and the rod in the rod holder so you can strip off a metre of line at a time and feed it out (100 metres) so as the bait floats away in the burley trail with the cubes.  If by then there is no action wait 5 minutes and wind it in to change the direction of the drifting bait to entice an indecisive predator to bite, if still no action give the line a firm jerk to release the pilchard so you can retrieve the hook with minimal line twist and repeat the process of baiting up and feeding out.

 

Landing and handling the fish

When a fish arrives, he will pull a little at first and then within seconds of feeling resistance of the line, he will take off.  That is when you set the hook by striking and the drag will do the rest.

When you land your fish, be very careful not to bruise the fish, lay him on something soft, like a chunk of sponge and remove the hook.  Put a rag over his head and eyes to calm him down as they vibrate a lot, place two fingers behind the petrel fin at the base (40cm) and make a small incision with a pointy knife until blood squirts out, then cut a triangle of skin out of his forehead and push a piece of whipper snipper cord through his spine to quickly kill the nervous system, if you don’t the body heats up and the meat simmers.  Place the fish in an ice slurry and have a beer.  To some this might seem cruel but it is better than letting them die in the fish box, the beers I mean!

 

How to cook Tuna

Fresh raw Yellowfin cut into half inch cubes, dipped in a mixture of soy and wasabi sauce is a good appetizer before you barbecue a 1 inch thick piece (steak) and freshly squeezed lemon and a touch of black cracked pepper.

Hmm, I can taste one now.   Regards Bill Lee. 

 

 

Bream - April fish of the month

Where

Some type of structure is vital.  Bream usually inhabit rough, snaggy areas, 2 m to 6 m in depth. They feed together in schools, usually around areas which give them some protection, such as sunken logs, oyster bases, eroded banks or the base of rock walls.

You can’t just go throwing a bait into open water on a beach and expect to catch fish. You need to find gutters, rips etc., to be consistent.  In the estuary, there is little point just dropping a bait over the side of the boat, and hoping that something will swim past and pick it up.  It may work sometimes, but not with any regularity

A few spots that will hold bream are:

  • Rocky shorelines that drop into deeper water.
  • Wharves and pylons, especially when they are covered with crustaceans.  
  • Oyster leases at high tide.  
  • The edge of sandbanks,
  • On the bank at high tide.
  • In, under and around fallen trees or rocky points.

 

Bream do not like clear water, and it is rare to be able to catch any fish which is visible to you in the water.

Look for areas where the tide moves fairly quickly around points, sandbanks etc., and then forms an eddy.  Bream will hold up in the eddy waiting for a feed.  The slower moving water means they don’t have to work as hard for a feed, so drifting a bait through these areas will often produce fish, and not just bream.  Jewfish enjoy these slower moving eddies also.

Here are a few places worth trying in and close to Botany Bay

  • Near the goalposts early in the morning
  • On the western side of the oil wharf on an outgoing tide
  • Osborne Shoals off Cronulla

 

When

The best times for bream are very early morning and late at night.  But don’t tell Charlie Spataro, he reckons midday will do him fine!!

During the winter months they congregate in the deep fast running waters, somewhere near surf bars where rivers and estuaries empty into the open sea, and bite best during the night and at dawn.

 

Favoured nights in the winter months would be the big tide nights which correspond with the periods a few nights before and up to the full moon and new moon

 

Bait

Best Bait are Nippers, Chicken, Chicken guts, Mullet guts, Garden worm, Poddy mullet, Prawn, Sand worm.

Almost as varied as the places the fish hang out, bait will change from place to place, time of year and so on.  Try to use a bait that is found within the system you are fishing.  For example,if you are fishing sandbanks then worms or nippers are probably going to catch you more fish than say a strip of bonito. 

 

Sometimes, though, bream won’t touch fresh local baits and prefer something like chicken gut or even skirt steak. 

 

While bream will feed on many types of baits, nippers are vastly superior to all other baits in this type of fishing.  Peeled prawns would be the next best

 

Even a piece of bread will work at times.   

Here’s something to try.  Find a deep water spot near a wharf or pylons where the water is a bit murky and has some flow.  Break up a few slices of bread into little pieces and throw it into the water.  Put a small piece of the bread on an unweighted hook and cast it in with the bread berley and let it sink slowly. 

 

Tackle

A rod that has a sensitive tip is a good idea in order to see the little nibbles.  Hooks, line and sinkers are another matter.  Bream are a shy fish most of the time, and this means that they will be spooked by thick lines, huge sinkers etc.  The idea then, is to go for as thin a line as you can get away with.  Four to eight pound line will see you through most situations.  When choosing a sinker, go for the smallest sinker you can in the conditions you are fishing. ie. if the tide is moving very quickly you will need a bigger sinker than you will when there is little movement.  Don’t forget you can always change sinkers during your fishing trips.  Use a heavier one when the tide is still on the move, and then change to a smaller one when at the top or bottom of the tide.  As soon as the bream picks up the bait and has a run with it, any weight felt by the fish will make it drop the bait, and it’s all over.

Hooks are an important factor in bream fishing. Bream have very hard, boney mouths capable of crushing oyster and mollusc shells.  This means that the hooks have to be very sharp and also fairly strong.  Go for chemically sharpened hooks as the first choice.  If you can’t get any make sure you sharpen your hook before using it.  Size 4 through 2/0 hooks are the go, and choose one that suits the bait.  If you are using big prawns, you will need a bigger hook to thread through the prawn to come out near the head.

When fishing around oysters, wharves etc., it is advisable to use a heavier trace than you would on a sandbank.  Use up to a 15lb trace when fishing around any structure such as these.

Link: 2 - 6kg main line with a 40cm trace.

Hook: No.4 - 1/0 Mustad 540 Viking, No.4,6 or 8 Longshank for nippers, prawn and worm baits.

Rig: Light rig with lightest ball running sinker as possible.

Round running sinkers are used to give maximum bait movement, sizes from No.00 ball to No.3 ball, dependent on the tidal run.  The best rig has the sinker directly above the hook, with a small No.10 free turning swivel about 1 metre above the sinker.  The sinker on hook gives you direct contact with your ball whether fishing into or against the tide and is easier to remove when snagged.  It does not lessen bites when bream fishing, and the bites are better registered to the angler.  To fish the right area, the angler must be prepared to lose rigs through snagging.

 

Fishing Method

When fishing structures, you need to present the bait, lure or fly as close to the structure as possible.  In some cases it’s a good idea to cast past the structure and bring the lure, bait or fly back into the ‘strike zone’.  This way you are getting into the zone without scaring any shy fish as your bait etc. hits the water.  There is no point throwing your bait 10 metres short or past the structure because that’s not where the fish are.  Be ready as soon as the bait hits the water.  Do not let the line settle.  Some fish will hit the bait as soon as it starts to sink.

Bream bites vary too.  Sometimes they will just pick-pick at the bait.  Other times there is no warning, they just pick up the bait and run for it.  When they are in a picking mood, don’t strike too early or you will end up pulling the bait and hook right out of the fish’s mouth.  Wait until the fish picks up the bait, point the tip of the rod towards the fish to let it take some line, and then strike when the line goes taut.

When fishing on the sandbanks, the best method is to actually drift over the banks. This way you find the fish, the bait looks more natural as it drifts with the tide and there is less chance of scaring the fish off with splashes etc. as the line is away from the boat.

Lure fishing for bream is really taking off.  

Go for a small lure.  Anything up to 60mm is a good size for bream.  They are not likely to hit a 10cm lure, their mouths just ain’t that big.  Don’t retrieve the lure as if you were fishing for tailor or salmon.  A slow stop start retrieve is the go here.  Again fish into the structures.  

You are going to snag a lure occasionally, but if you aren’t hitting rocks, trees etc., you are less likely to encounter a fish.  Be prepared, these fish like to play dirty sometimes, taking you back into structure - especially around oysters.

 

Hints

Bream feed together in schools at depths usually from 2 to 6m.  Dawn, dusk and night fishing for bream provides the best results.  Look for bream in snags full of barnacles and place your bait right up against it, do not cast away from wharves and rock ledges but rather in to them. Lighted night areas usually attract bream but be careful not to scare the fish.  Bream respond well to berley in the form of prawn heads, chicken pellets, cheese, little bread, cut pilchards or small fish frames like tuna.  Berley only when ready to fish as bream tend to feed only for a short time then move on.  Early morning on an overcast day suits berleying as the fish tend to hold for feeding longer. Use only a slow berley trickle.  Bait size should be small with the hook buried inside. Entrances to estuaries find bream hiding in deep holes and channels during low tide but can be caught on flats at high tide or at night.  Night fishing for bream during the times of prawn runs is excellent using a shelled prawn as bait.

 

How to cook Bream

Here is a recipe for Oriental Barbecued Bream

Ingredients:

750 g (1 1/2 lb) bream fillets; 1/4 cup polyunsaturated oil; 1/4 cup soy sauce;

2 tablespoons sherry;  2 shallots, sliced;  1 clove garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons chopped root ginger.

 

Combine oil, soy sauce, sherry, shallots, garlic and ginger. Mix until well combined. Add bream fillets and allow to marinate for 1 to 2 hours. Drain; reserve marinade. Place on a well-greased barbecue plate or grill. Cook for approximately 2 to 3 minutes each side, basting frequently with reserved marinade.

Serve with a salad of Asian Greens & Crispy Fried Noodles with Lime juice vinaigrette. Serves 4-6

 

 

 

Special Article on catching Mulloway - by Marcus Unkuri

Mulloway fishing at the beach

The reality of being successful in this particular pursuit of the silver ghost includes a lot of commitment to enduring the long hours, a lot of which is the reparation part rather than actual mulloway fishing time spent on the rod.  There are many fish caught by those who go against most proven methods or are new to beach fishing for mulloway.  Plenty of fish are also landed or at least hooked by others targeting tailor, bream, whiting etc.  But overall, these are the minority of the fish pulled off the beach each year and using the hit and hope method is more likely a fluke by the lucky some who have produced fish like this every now and again.

The majority of mulloway are caught by people who understand the theory of fishing peak periods determined by a combination of tides, moon phases, water temperature, barometric pressure etc.

Therefore, given that a month has at least 28 days and there are 24 hours in a day, there are about 672 hours in the month.  Out of those, about half the number of hours will produce zero mulloway. About a quarter of the remaining time will be a small chance, with the remaining quarter of the time having a good chance.  Using this knowledge, you can pre determine the times that you should be fishing for mulloway and save yourself from wasting a lot of time when the odds are against you.

Mulloway will take a variety of baits and although at times will prefer some to others o will only feed on one particular type, it is a good idea to present a few of the favourites in each outing, just in case they are cold on one and hot on the other.

My favourite bait on the beach is squid  - live or just caught.  A close second to that is live yellowtail, tailor, pike, mullet or any of these using the head as a bait with a bit of flesh left on, instead of a filet as it is harder for pickers to get at the head as opposed to fillets which they can clean quickly.  It helps to hit the head with a hammer to soften it up a bit to aid the hook up.

Using any of the above bait with either 8/0  -  10/0 circle hook or two snelled 8/0 – 10/0 octopus hooks which must be razor sharp.  Buy the best you can afford and use new hooks every trip along with 60 pound to 80 pound leader to a heavy duty barrel swivel rated to at least 100 pounds then a sinker sliding clip and star sinker, size dependant on the swell, current etc.  The least is best, so just enough for you to hold bottom.

Then head off to your pre planned gutter that you have been watching over the past few days and flick your bait out to just past the inside edge of the gutter.  This is the area where the fish will travel to seeking food from the eroding edge of the sank bank exposing all kinds of worms and pippies etc in turn attracting small fish to large as the food chain works.

Then it is best to be holding your rod with the reel in gear with a fair amount of drag pressure, something like 4kg if using main line of 30 pound mono.  Letting the fish run with a bait is ridiculous as it will be trying to spit the bait the moment it picks it up and senses there is something not right and alerting it to unnatural danger.  Instead, if using a circle hook, just simply wait till you feel the weight of the fish and then wind, do not strike at the fish as the hook does not work on that principle and you will not hook anything.  If you are using the two snelled octopus hook rig, when you first feel the fish, walk towards it giving some slack for it to go with a short distance.  When you see slack being taken up from the fish then strike really hard as their mouths have tough bones and it isn’t easy to drive hooks in.   So really give it a solid strike holding the reel spool at the same time for a few seconds to ensure as best you can of the hooks penetrating the bony mouth.  Then as there is no structure on a beach to lose the fish to, it’s just a matter of maintaining enough pressure accordingly to tire the fish out and using the wave to wash the fish up on the sand which is what makes all the effort worthwhile when you see what an awesome looking fish they are you forget about the struggle of carrying your live bait down the beach and once you have the fish up on the sand be sure to keep your torch off and camera flash for later as you do not want to advertise for anyone else on the beach to discover you found where the silver ghost exists.  It can become more than a little aggressive at times when there is limited gutters worthy fishing on a beach stretch if everyone knows of the etiquette first there has the gutter which means more than likely there is only enough room for the one person to fish, so move on.

There are invariably too many other factors and unforeseen or impossible influences to predict beforehand.  Once you have predetermined the times you think most likely to produce fish, then forget about the mulloway as you can only do so much in that department, providing you have a location in mind.  Basically you now have a date, time and location.

You can forget all about mulloway until you are able to catch the bait.  As fresh as you may think any particular bought bait is, it is not fresh enough to give you the best chance at having a fish hooked up.  Fresh means live or just caught within a few hours of fishing for the silver ghost. There are still many fish caught on pre-purchased bait and providing they are as best as possible to having been kept the correct way to maintain in freshness, you are still in with a chance of producing a fish.  But in comparison, I think you decrease your chance by over 50% when using the live or just dead baits.

The mulloway are not that complex a fish and a lot more people would catch these fish if they had gone to the effort involved in bait gathering and this is the part which consumes the hours.  The bait is the most important part of hooking up to a fish providing you got location and most likely feeding period. It is what catching the fish is all about.

 

 

 

Luderick – June Fish of the Month

These tips for catching this month’s fish of the month are from an article entitled Blackfish Basics posted by Roosterman (Steve) on Fishraider.com.au

 

Gathering bait

Weed is the best bait to use for luderick fishing. There are two main types of weed, string/ribbon type and cabbage.  String weed is most common in the river estuary systems but some ocean rock pools also have it.  Cabbage type is easier to come by and is everywhere along the coastal rocks and beach headlands.  When you harvest your weed be responsible and take only what’s needed and if there is enough, get some for berley.  The weed generally dies off a lot through the colder winter months.  When you harvest the weed, it’s best not to squeeze the water out but let excess water drain out.  Lay the weed in newspaper or hessian bag and roll it up and put in a bag.  You can keep it in the bottom of the fridge for up to a week but fresh is always best.

 

Berley

Chop the weed that you’re not going to use for bait very finely and put in bucket and mix with dry sand from the beach.  When you arrive at fishing spot put enough water in the bucket to the mix enough to make little berley bombs.

 

Rig

Light rod around 6lb to 10lb and about 10 to 12ft long. The length helps to steer the fish away from structures. An Alvey type side cast or other similar centre pin reel or small eggbeater. Line of 8-10lb mono line. Size 10 hook.

Use a 2 hook rig. This helps to find target depth and also allows you to try different baits.

Thread your stopper onto your main line then put your float on.

Put a small ball sinker on then a swivel (3 way if 2 hook setup)

Put a trace/leader of lighter line 4lb/6lb of between 150mm to 200mm.

Put another a small ball sinker then a swivel.

Put another trace/leader of 4lb/6lb about 100mm to 150mm then the hook.

If using 2 hook setup only use shorter length of around 100mm on top hook.

It’s trial and error at first with sinker weights but you must keep the bottom weights heavier so it casts and sits better.

Use removable split shots to fine tune your float.

Put on enough weight to keep the float as close to neutral buoyancy as conditions allow; this means it takes effort to make the float go down and less resistance for the fish to feel.

For the stopper, there are cheap rubber ones that are on a wire loop and you thread your mainline through the loop and pull a stopper onto your line.

 

Fishing Spots

The things to look out for are good weed and kelp areas as this is where luderick congregate.  Most ferry wharves and jetties good luderick spots, as are breakwalls and shorelines with kelp beds.  If fishing from the ocean rocks look for gutters and fish the edges of the wash.

Come to the Luderick lecture after the club meeting on 10th June 2009 and we’ll reveal some great spots in the Hacking and Georges.

 

When to fish

In the Georges rivers, there are run in spots and there are run out spots.  We’ll tell you about them at the lecture on 10th June 2009.

Usually luderick have a good feed at first light, but they will feed throughout the day.

 

You can increase your success rate by using berley to either bring them on the bite or keep them close to where you are.

Do not over berley, and be aware that weed is light and will flow downstream and you may end up making the feeding zone further down current from where you’re fishing.

 

Baiting Up

With all luderick baits you do not want big clumps; they have small soft mouths.

When using string weed, get a thin piece of a couple strands.  Starting at the bottom of the hook, leave about 10mm then wind up the hook about three turns trying to keep tight.  A couple more turns around line then twist to get nice and firm around hook and line.  Repeat this down the line then thread the last strands over the hook barb and pinch the excess off at about 5mm to 15mm depending on fish biting.  Bait should be nice and straight and thin with a nice tail piece fluffing out when put into the water.

When using cabbage if it’s the thin slender type, you can put it on the same as string weed.  If it’s the big leaf type, then get one piece and fold a little bit on end/corner and thread onto the hook.  Pass hook through a couple of times and use a half hitch loop to hold top of bait to line

 

Fishing Method

When fishing in the river from a boat it’s advisable to kellick up with one anchor in the water from the back of the boat and one on the shore from the front of the boat.  That way the boat stays still and you can let you float drift away from the side of the boat with the tide.

When first starting to fish, move your stopper up your main line to give you more line than the depth you are fishing in.  This will make the float lay on its side as the sinkers rest on the bottom.  Now move stopper down until float rights itself.  You want to start fishing just off the bottom.  If you don’t get any downs/hits within a few drifts try different areas in closer or out wider to pylons and walls.

Keep changing depths until you find where they are feeding.

Keep an eye on stopper depth as sometimes when you wind in especially when fighting a fish, the stopper may catch on the rod tip or runner and slide, changing your target depth.

 

Take the time when starting to fish to notice how your float reacts in normal conditions so you can see when something’s happening that’s not normal, eg. wave actions/current/hooking certain bottom structures in kelp etc.

Keep an eye on your mainline to your float tip,(some Vaseline helps to keep the line floating)and keep feeding line and watching so you have just enough slack that you can lift rod to strike if needed.

When your float goes down or anything else out of the norm, it can mean a fish biting.  It does not always go down.  It can have slight jerks/stops drifting (fish mouthing bait) / sideways moving / float lifting (usually means you’re fishing too deep as fish grabs bait and swims back up to feeding zone).  The float can lift if you’re on bottom also.

When you do get a bite you mostly wait between 5 to 10 seconds then lift rod firmly to set hook.  Be careful as they have small soft mouths.  If your float starts to come back up before striking wait till he grabs the bait again then strike after a few seconds.

Once hooked, play the fish away from any structure and then gently get him to the surface.  They have a big powerful tail and when the fish gets to the surface he will splash about on his side shaking his head.  Do not lift the head out of water and do not let him drop his head back down.   Slowly guide him into the landing net.

Legal size is 27cm and limit of 20.

 

Cleaning your catch

When you catch a luderick put it in a keeper net to keep it alive.

At the end of fishing you need to bleed your catch.

Cut their throat, bend the head back a bit and put them back into keeper net and jiggle net to wash the blood out.  After about 5 or so minutes you can get them back up and scale and gut them.

It is very important to get the black lining off the stomach wall of the catch otherwise it will taint the fish and spoil it for eating.

 

Cooking Luderick

Luderick have a beautiful flavour and are one of the top fish to eat.

Prepare the fish by getting skinned boneless fillets off it.

Put the fillets in a lightly greased baking dish with a little fresh cracked salt and pepper.  Cook for about 10 to 15 min at 180c.

  

 

 

Tailor - April Fish of the Month

Bait and lures for tailor

Tailor are by nature voracious feeders and fierce hunters, ready to tackle almost anything but feeding primarily on schooling fish such as garfish and pilchards.

Tailor are themselves a meal for bigger fish, seals and dolphins.  Tailor follow the schools of bait fish on which they feed and will often indulge in feeding frenzies, to the point where they will regurgitate partly digested food in order to strike another victim.

The most productive methods of capturing tailor are

  • trolling lures or bait behind a boat, particularly at the mouths of estuaries,
  • spinning a lure or bait from ocean rocks, and
  • bait fishing from the beach.
  • anchored up in a boat and berleying up the tailor

 

When really excited, tailor will strike at almost any bait or lure, but the best whole baits are small fish i.e. pilchards, garfish, yellowtail, slimy mackerel and fillets of mullet, tuna and even tailor will also entice them to bite.  For small tailor, whitebait are best.

Spinning from a boat or ocean rocks will often yield large tailor.  Lures can be used successfully for tailor and even sinkers with rags and a couple of hooks attached or the ring pull tab from an aluminium can will catch tailor.

 

When spinning with light lures, it is sometimes necessary to use a shock leader, about 6-9m (20-30ft) of heavy monofilament with a breaking strain of 13kg (301b). Spinning is excellent from the rocks or a boat when you see birds working, but care must be taken not to drop a lure into the middle of a school of feeding tailor as they can frighten easily and quickly disperse.  Anglers spinning for tailor should use a normal rate of retrieve, tailor do not require the high speed of retrieve of other pelagic fish.

 

When fishing for tailor the initial bite feels something like a whiting nibble but stronger, and the angler should resist trying to set the hook too quickly.  Lift the rod gently and start to retrieve slowly.  The tailor will follow the bait for a while before striking.  When the hook is set, take your time as it is better to tire tailor in deep water rather than bring them into shallow water where their struggles can throw a hook.

 

Tackle

The tailor caught around Sydney will be usually no larger than 2-3 kg.

A good rod for taking tailor from the beaches and rocks should be 3-3.6m (10-12ft) in length and a popular reel choice is the Alvey side cast 650 or 700.  The Alvey throws a light bait well, while thread lines and overhead reels require a heavier lure or bait to maximize the cast.

The breaking strain of lines should be 5-9kg (12-201b) -  in the lighter end of the range for the beach and heavier end for the rocks.  All lines should be checked for nicks or abrasions before fishing.

Because tailor prefer a whole bait, the standard rig is a gang of three or four offset point hooks between 3/0 and 6/0 in size.  Hook size and gang pattern will vary depending on the size of the bait and expected catch.  For the smaller tailor, two No. 1/0 size hooks and a small bait are sufficient.  The use of added sinkers to the line is optional but they can be handy when fishing on windy days when they will help the cast, or when fishing in the surf when there is a savage sweep.  A good rig is a ball sinker matched to the line used behind a 30-46cm (12-18in) trace.  Swivels should be used, particularly when using Alvey side cast reels which are prone to line twist.  A second small but strong swivel is often employed with these reels, just above the hook.

Blackened swivels are preferable when fishing for tailor, as these fish are strongly attracted to any shiny moving thing, and will often strike at a swivel and cut the line. It is easy to blacken your own by holding them over a candle.

 

Where to catch tailor

Tailor are constantly on the move and may only stay in a gutter or hole off the beach for a short time before moving on.  Holes are pockets of deeper water scooped by waves and tide, while gutters are longer, sometimes running the entire length of a beach.  Both formations can be easily distinguished by the darker coloration of the water.  Rips can be fished for tailor and can be very profitable as small bait fish are carried out by the water, but they can be difficult because of the fast flowing water.

Tailor prefer white water and can be found amongst the suds and foam formed as waves break on a bank and swirl over deeper waters.  Experienced anglers will tell you that tailor are rarely found in weeds.   Early morning or late evening at the Cronulla to Green Hills beaches should produce tailor.

 

Headlands and break walls are favourite haunts of tailor, especially where there is white water.  When fishing from the rocks it is a good idea to berley with a mixture of bread and fish bait. Scatter handfuls in the wash and on the lower rocks, this will keep the tailor biting longer and will often attract other species such as bream, drummer and blackfish.  

Break walls are a great place to fish for tailor.  Many fishermen expect tailor to be on the move after an offshore wind and often watch for the tailor to move into the shallows with an onshore wind.  If there are strong southeasterlies building up big seas and heavy surf, tailor are likely to return to these protected areas.  The south western end of the wall at Molineaux Point is very popular with land based tailor fishermen at night.

When spinning from the rocks for tailor, you should use a normal rate of retrieve. Tailor do not require the high-speed retrieve of other pelagic fish.

 

Tailor from the beach

You can catch tailor off the beach at any time, but early morning or late evening into the night is the best time we reckon. A whole pilchard would be the bait to use.  

 

For your line set-up, use a running sinker rig with a short 30 or 40 pound trace of about 20cm long after the swivel. At the end of the trace use a four hook 4/0 or 5/0 gang.  Put the top hook through the pilchard's eye and if you can, put the last hook through the hard plate of bone just before the pilchard's tail.

Try fishing without a sinker (or as little sinker as you can) casting into an area with froth on the water surface in deep water at the beach.  Cast out and retrieve the bait slowly so that it looks like a sick fish swimming along.  The bite should feel like a tap - tap - tap.  Don't heave the rod in too quickly when you feel the bite., just keep winding in slowly at the same rate and the tailor should hook itself.

 

Tailor from boats

Casting or trolling from boats for tailor is common and provides some very good fishing.  Troll around the edge of the school with feathers, metal spoons and plastic minnows.  In Botany Bay around this time of year there are often schools of tailor under flocks of birds working in the early mornings and evenings, especially around Yarra Bay and near the runways.  Casting and retrieving a metal lure near the school is one of the most exciting types of fishing experiences you can have.

If you want to anchor up and berley them up in Botany Bay,try near the drums as long as no ship is present; the end of the oil wharf; the hot water outlet.  In Bate Bay, try Simpson’s Reef at the mouth of Port Hacking or in front of Shark Island.  When fishing for tailor in a boat, try one line with very little or no sinker and one with a bit of weight that will take the bait to the bottom a short distance from the boat.  See which one is working best.  Sometimes there are more fish closer to the surface, but the bigger ones are closer to the bottom.

 

Bleeding the catch

After unhooking tailor, bleed them by cutting the throat with a knife or breaking the neck.  Tailor are soft fleshed and unless bled when caught and then kept in a cool, shaded position will soon spoil

 

When to catch tailor

April is obviously a good time to catch tailor around here, that’s why it’s our fish of the month!

The best times to drop a line for tailor are dawn and dusk, although night fishing may occasionally produce larger than average size species.  Tailor also seem to stay on the bite longer on overcast mornings.  Tailor fishing must be described as patchy, no matter how favourable the conditions.  It is almost impossible to guarantee where they will be.  Some anglers feel that fishing the ebb tide and the first of the run-in is better, but opinions vary.  Tailor can move into an area and stay a week or move on almost immediately.  If you’re in an area where there are tailor and you catch one, start cutting up pilchards into small pieces and berley with it.  Throw your bait as a whole pilchard on a gang hook in with the berley.  Keep the berley up or they’ll go away.

 

How to cook Tailor

Forget freezing tailor for later, you’ve got to eat it fresh.  It goes all mushy when frozen and defrosted.

Here are three simple ways to prepare it.  Either way will taste great.  As long as it’s fresh.

1. Pan fry fresh fillets in virgin olive oil and add little lemon or other garnishes.

2. Place fillets in plastic bag with flour, garlic salt and spices.  Give a twirl and shake off excess flour.  Pan fry until golden brown.

3. Try smoking the tailor.

 

 

Snapper – March fish of the month

 

Where to catch them

Snapper are found on the edges of reefs where the bottom is sandy, shaley, or boulders.

Here are a couple of places not too far from the club that are worth a try, but when fishing near any reef, exercise caution.

1. Henry Head at the north of Botany Bay heads.

2. Osborne Shoals off Cronulla

3. Merries Reef in Bate Bay

 

Technique
Use your sounder and anchor up on the edge of the reef.
  If you start catching wrasse, sweep and rock cod, you should move because you’re fishing on top of the reef.  If you catch Port Jackson sharks, shovel nose sharks and marble flathead, you’re in the right area.  Berley with small pieces of pilchard.

When fishing, use the bait as a floater amongst the berley.  Some people let their reel free spool out of gear, others set their reels on full drag and in gear – try both ways and see which works for you.

 

Rig
For snapper in the 500g to 2kg size range, use 10lb or 5kg Maxima line and run a small ball sinker on to a 2/0 Gamagatsu hook.

For snapper over 2kg in size, use 8 to 10kg Maxima line and use a gang hook for the larger bait or use one fixed hook and one slider between the fixed hook and the swivel.

 

Baits
These are the best baits for snapper and they have got to be fresh.
  Yellowtail, slimey mackerel or pilchard.  For the smaller fish on a single hook, use pieces of the baitfish.  For the larger fish use the yellowtail, pilchard or slimey either whole or butterflied.

 

How to cook snapper

Snapper is such a great tasting fish, you don’t need to do a lot to it All you need is fresh snapper fillets (scaled and bones removed), olive oil, butter and lemon .In a thick based frying pan add olive oil and place your fish skin side down in the pan. Leave the fish to cook for a couple of minutes, add fresh butter to the pan then turn the fish over and lightly squeeze with lemon and sea salt and serve immediately.

  

 

Trevally - February Fish of the Month

Where to catch them

In Botany Bay, “trevally alley”, as Molineaux Point is commonly known, is the obvious place to start.  Fish anywhere near the south eastern corner of the wall – there’ll be lots of other boats there so you can’t miss it.  Another good place to try if the tide is running out, is to anchor on the western side of the oil wharf.  Anywhere along the front (north) of the oil wharf is good too. Between the two runways, near the goalposts in the middle of the bay and near the hot water outlet are also likely spots.

 

If you want to fish from the shore, try right at the end of the southern breakwall at the Cooks River early in the morning or at dusk on a run out tide.

 

In Bate Bay, Osborne Shoal and at Simpsons Reef at the entrance to the Port Hacking should produce trevally as well.

Rig

Fish as light as you can get away with.  Use a rod and reel combination that you would use for bream and about 8 pound line.  You can either run a small ball sinker straight to the hook (as small a sinker as the current lets you get away with), or have a small sinker above a 2 to 3 foot leader and swivel.  

Technique
If you want to catch trevally, you have to berley – a lot.
  A berley mix of bread, chicken pellets, old pilchards and a bit of tuna oil will bring the trevally in from miles away.  Have a look for where the berley is going when you throw it out and throw your bait in the berley trail.  Leave you reel’s bailer arm open to let the bait follow the berley.  When you think it’s reached the bottom, close the bailer arm and keep your index finger on the line.  The trevally will sometimes just play with the bait and you’ll usually only need a small amount of pressure to hook them up.  Don’t snatch when you feel a bite and remember to take your time bringing them in because there’s not much lip there for the hook to hang on to.

Baits
The old faithful pilchards work as well as anything else. Sometimes they like pilchard fillets and sometimes they like chunks of pilchard. 
 Then again sometimes trevally snub the pilchards and only take peeled prawns – squashed slightly after you put it on the hook to release the flavour.

How to cook trevally

When you first catch the trevally, bleed it by cutting its throat straight away.  Then fillet and skin it before cooking.  There are probably lots of fancy recipes but here are a couple of easy ways to eat them.

1.Fry it up in batter and a bit of salt at the end to taste.

2.Dribbled some lemon juice and salt on the fish then wrapped it in foil and put it in the oven for a while.

 

Or try this recipe from Poh's kitchen

Numus (Pickled Fish Dish)

Slice onion into fine pieces (half or rings) and scatter around base of ceramic or glass bowl. Sprinkle pepper all over onion. Slice very fine bite size pieces of trevally and layer evenly over onion. Pinch of sea salt over the trevally; add finely chopped chilli, garlic and sugar. Layer finely sliced lemon pieces all over fish. Pour over soy then do same with vinegar. Give ingredients a gentle mix. Put in fridge for 20 to 30 minutes. Gently mix before serving. 

 

Kingfish - January fish of the month

There are lots of ways to fish for kingfish:-

           Off the rocks,

           Anchored up using fresh or live bait,

           Trolling or drifting with bait or lures around headlands and structures,

           Jigging,

           Down rigging with live bait.

We’re not going to go into any of the methods in detail here because they’re all well covered in lots of fishing magazines and web pages.   This web page article by Stefan Hansson is good one that as easy to read as you’ll get.

 

http://www.sydneyfishfinder.com.au/tips%20for%20fishing%20syd.html

 

WHERE

If you want to try trolling, around the headland at Henry Head in Botany going northwards, or going south towards the lighthouse are a couple of good places to start.   In Port Hacking, a troll around Jibbon Bommie and further south along the headlands is worth a try.

 

Down rigging in the Bay around the drums and channel markers is also supposed to be good, but keep away from the drums if a ship anchored there.

 

WHEN

The water temperature ideally should be above 19 degrees for kings to be around in numbers.

Early morning and late evening seem to be the best times to catch kingfish.  Especially when trolling, they seem to disappear when the sun gets up too high.

 

TACKLE

You will be using fairly heavy line so your reel must be big enough to hold your line and have good drag strength to keep the pressure up when fighting the fish.

Use a 10kg main line with 3 metres leader of double line and then 2 metres of 20kg trace.

A good hook to use is a Gamakatsu black octopus in size 3/0 to 6/0.

 

BAITS

Bonito, Fish flesh, Garfish, Live minnow, Octopus, Prawn, Slimy mackerel, Squid, Yellowtail, Mullet.

You can use any fish at all for live bait, but yellowtail and slimy mackerel are the best and also probably the easiest to catch and keep alive.

LURES

Minnows, Jigs, Poppers, Skirted lures, Slices, Soft Plastics

 

COOKING

The best eating fish are the ones less than 8 kg, which shouldn’t be an issue for most of us.

Here is an easy recipe for BBQ kingfish with chilli and herb marinade from celebrity chef Neil Perry.

 

           1 Whole Kingfish skinned and filleted

           4 cloves garlic

           3 long fresh red chillies

           1 lemon zest

           1 cup continental parsley

           ½ cup oregano leaves

           extra virgin olive oil

           sea salt

           freshly ground white pepper to taste

 

To make the marinade, simply blend all ingredients together until smooth.

Marinate the fillets liberally for an hour.

Heat the BBQ to medium and grill the fish till medium rare.

Serve straight away with lemon wedges.

Allow about 150g of fish per person.

 

Whiting - December fish of the month

First the basics – in all estuary fishing you need to remember light tackle, careful rigging and fresh or live baits.

WHERE

Whiting are found throughout estuaries and on many beaches..  In estuaries they will be found both in channels and on sand flats, where they do much of their feeding.  On beaches, whiting will be found in gutters, potholes and also in the shallower areas.  When fishing at the beach, there's no need to cast out too far, the secret seems to be to keep the bait moving very very slowly.  Also try the edges of gutters rather than right down the middle of them.

 

Some places to try are Wanda Beach and northwards to Boat Harbour if you prefer a surf beach.  Try Jibbon Beach and Maianbar Beach in Port Hacking or Dolls Point and Ramsgate in Botany Bay if you want to fish shore based in the estuary.  From a boat, try the sand flats in Gunnamatta Bay, off Dharook Park and at the northern end of Burraneer Bay amongst the moored boats.

 

WHEN 
The best times for fishing for whiting are in the early morning or late evening on a rising tide.  The time of days seem to be less important when fishing surf beaches.

 

TACKLE 
A small eggbeater reel about 1000 or 2000 size on to a 6 to 8 ft light graphite or fibreglass rod is ideal.  The line should be about 4-8 lb mono.

 

RIGS 
Use a running sinker rig.  Have a light ball sinker running freely along your line.  The sinker is stopped by a swivel that you tie to the end of your line.  Your leader should be about 18-24 inches long and just before the hook some people put a red bead or tube; try it and see if it helps.

 

SINKERS 
Use as small a sinker as you can – only enough to cast and prevent the bait being swept away too quickly by current. 

 

HOOKS 
Whiting have small mouths.  Use a size 8 (6 to 10 is OK), chemically sharpened long shank hook .

 

BAITS

There are two killer baits for whiting, and if you’re not using at least one of them, you’re going to be doing it tough.

Nippers and worms – live and as fresh as possible.

You can also try fresh frozen prawns, but it won’t be as good as the above live baits. 
For those of us who don’t want to get the boat smelly with bait and prefer to use soft plastics, the ones that look like nippers or worms are probably the ones to try.  

If you can't get live worms, we reckon you should try Aquabait dry frozen worms.

 

HOW TO COOK WHITING

Here is a simple recipe for this great tasting fish.  Fillet the whiting and remove bones. Put some flour on a plate and season with salt & pepper.  Coat the fillets with the seasoned flour.  Heat some olive oil in a shallow frypan and cook the fillets for 3-4 minutes each side. Serve the whiting with mash potato and green beans sauted in garlic butter. 

 

or try this recipe from Poh's Kitchen

Crispy Whiting Recipe

Butterfly and de-bone Sand Whiting leaving tails intact. (If you are not familiar with the process a fish monger can do this.)

Dust fillets in flour seasoned with a little salt and pepper. (Not too much salt as the fish with provide some of the saltiness.)

Shallow fry in peanut oil on medium heat until crispy and golden. Don't forget to leave the tails on. Once crisp these are a real treat! Drain on absorbent paper.

Finish off with sprinkling of sea salt on top. Accompany with lime or lemon wedges.

 

Tuna – November fish of the month

Yellowfin are very popular with offshore fishermen, as they are a tenacious adversary and great eating.  This month Bill Lee shares his tips on catching tuna.

 

Where to catch them

They are found in all waters off Sydney between April and November.  Trolling is best at the beginning and the end of their run and cubing is especially good during September and October.

 

Rig & Lures

When trolling, run two rod and reel combos and two flat lines (deck winches 725C Alveys).  This way, you can catch more varieties of surface fish (Stripies, Albacore etc.)

 

On the rods drag a couple of Zuka lures just past the prop wash and on the winches pink or blue 3 inch squids over Xmas trees with treble 6/0 hooks.  On calm bright days use diving lures, say F18, to get down away from the surface.

 

Technique

When cubing you need to be drifting and have patience.  Go to where you know or heard fin are, watch other boats, listen to the radio, as successful anglers like to tell everyone of their captures, be courteous, don’t rush over to someone you see hooked up, give them space and find your own fish, it is more satisfying when it pays off, be careful not to cut across a boat dragging lures and don’t cut through too close to someone cubing.

 

On the way out to the fishing ground, stand a half thawed block of pilchards on its edge and cut through it with a  sharp cleaver so that the cubes are ready when you stop.  At first, a couple of handfuls into the water then as one piece drifts out of sight in the burley trail drop another cube and don’t stop until you decide to come home, even if you are hooked up as you might want to try for another if you are still on the same drift.

 

Put a whole pilchard on a tuna hook by pushing the barb through the mouth and out between the gills with only the barb protruding, put the bait in the burley trail and with the rod drag set and the rod in the rod holder so you can strip off a metre of line at a time and feed it out (100 metres) so as the bait floats away in the burley trail with the cubes.  If by then there is no action wait 5 minutes and wind it in to change the direction of the drifting bait to entice an indecisive predator to bite, if still no action give the line a firm jerk to release the pilchard so you can retrieve the hook with minimal line twist and repeat the process of baiting up and feeding out.

 

Landing and handling the fish

When a fish arrives, he will pull a little at first and then within seconds of feeling resistance of the line, he will take off.  That is when you set the hook by striking and the drag will do the rest.

When you land your fish, be very careful not to bruise the fish, lay him on something soft, like a chunk of sponge and remove the hook.  Put a rag over his head and eyes to calm him down as they vibrate a lot, place two fingers behind the petrel fin at the base (40cm) and make a small incision with a pointy knife until blood squirts out, then cut a triangle of skin out of his forehead and push a piece of whipper snipper cord through his spine to quickly kill the nervous system, if you don’t the body heats up and the meat simmers.  Place the fish in an ice slurry and have a beer.  To some this might seem cruel but it is better than letting them die in the fish box, the beers I mean!

 

How to cook Tuna

Fresh raw Yellowfin cut into half inch cubes, dipped in a mixture of soy and wasabi sauce is a good appetizer before you barbecue a 1 inch thick piece (steak) and freshly squeezed lemon and a touch of black cracked pepper.

Hmm, I can taste one now.   Regards Bill Lee.