Home' Afloat : AFLOAT June 2016 Contents 52 AFLOAT.com.au June 2016
with David Lockwood
I’ve got 99 problems with winter fishing but catching ain’t
one of them. Rapper Jay Z’s oft paraphrased song seems to
resonate with a lot of youth today. But if they just took some
of the following advice they would find a panacea for a lot of
‘dem’ woes just by hitting the ramp.
Fishing around the inshore Sydney reefs and headlands in
winter is reason enough to roll out of bed. You might have to
don the rapper wear and black beanie, throw down a Red Bull
en route, but the rewards will keep you pumped all week long.
There is increased risk with winter trailerboat fishing, potential
strong winds and cold water, so make sure you check those <www.
bom.gov.au> forecasts. Wear an inflatable yoke and your engine
safety lanyard when traveling, too.
Base your fishing around the twilight bites. This is easier
to do given the days are shorter. But you need a pre-departure
plan. You can waste a whole morning running from spot to spot
without soaking your baits or lures or, moreover, giving your
berley time to bring the fish to you.
You should know the waypoints of the reefs you intend to
fish and where you are going to anchor in relation to the wind
direction. You want the back of your boat on the edge of the reef,
where it meets the sand or gravel. This is critical.
If you anchor over the hard reef, you will catch a boatload of
rubbish fish that live in the caves and aren’t good eating. But if
you exercise good anchoring skills and are within casting and
berleying range of the reef edge, you will score the motherload.
On those 30-40m reefs around Sydney you will find a drop
off from east to west. That is to say, there is often a wall or a
section of descending reef from 25-30m falling down to 40-45m.
This is consistent with a heap of top fishing reefs from places like
Mugs and Murphys off Manly to Long Reef, Newport, Reggies
off Avalon, Back Down off Coogee, Marley, so on and so forth.
The morning westerly winds in winter make ‘edge anchoring’
easy since you can drop the anchor on the 30m hard stuff and
pull back to the 40m edge to the east. Now you need to berley.
Send chopped pilchards pieces down in a berley bomb.
There’s a device called The Secret Weapon that has served me
so very well. You fill the chamber with chopped pilchards, lower
it over, give the line a jerk, and pull it in to find your pilchard
pieces have been dispensed. Release a load near the bottom,
then one in mid water, then throw an odd pilchard head over
from the back of your boat.
Your rig is simple: a sliding ball sinker about the size of a pea
or grape depending on the current, which should have eased by
this time of year. Ideally you want a current trickle to the south
to help disperse your berley and have your bait wafting down to
the bottom not straight below your boat.
A 3/0 hook tied straight to a clear 8kg trace or mainline with
the running sinker is it. Bait is a pilchard tail. Just nip off the
head with your fingers and throw it overboard. The remaining 3⁄4
headless pilchard is baited up with the eye of the hook near the
tail and a few half hitches to keep it lying straight.
Then it’s just a matter of a small cast out the back and an
open bail arm to let the bait waft to the bottom. Once it hits the
bottom, you can flip over the bail arm. Have a couple of rods
set in the holders set this way. Before long you will be getting
bites and runs. The runs are usually snapper. Snaps for dinner!
Fishing this way, you tend to score terrific mixed bags of
snapper, morwong, trevally, tailor, salmon, kingfish, jewfish,
teraglin, pigfish, squid and more. You don’t want to take more than
you need, but you will usually have some variety for everything
from Asian inspired dishes to traditional fish and chips.
I blare the music for the run home with the fish slushing around
in an ice slurry, the beanie pulled down around my ears, and the
boat skipping from crest to crest. Sharp knives facilitate expert
fish cleaning and filleting. But it’s the sense of satisfaction and
connection with your hunter gatherer instinct that will keep you
sated all week. See you at the fish cleaning table. h
Snapper are a June certainty.
Inshore reef fishing off Sydney offers mixed bags in winter.
Inshore winter fishing in Sydney can be sensational.
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