Clear-Cut Tactics The Order Of The SeasonEvery June I wonder: where have the days gone? With the marvellous Indian summer hanging on well into May, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the real summer didn’t end so long ago. The water has also been invitingly warm for underwater foraging and idyllic dawn or dusk fishing for wading enthusiasts.
June is the time of year for local anglers to turn their attention to either the fish at their feet or those out beyond the horizon.
Along the rocky and sandy shores, a bounty awaits those willing to focus their attention on specific techniques to catch a feed. Fishing for luderick (or blackfish) is an east coast tradition during the colder months, and one that is meditative, enjoyable and rewarding at the same time. Many a ‘weed man’ can be found spending hours watching a float bob among the washes adjacent to cabbage weed lined shores.
A specific rig is required to catch these finicky feeders. Firstly, a light line set-up on a rod between 2.1 metres and 3.3 metres is ideal. Whether you select a traditional centre-pin reel such as the purists’ Avon Royale, a free-spinning Alvey or a modern thread-line reel is up to you. Next you’ll need a selection of quill or blackfish floats, a float stopper, some split shot, some light leader (3-5kg) and a very specific hook designed for fishing for blackfish, which is almost always square by design.
Additionally, you’ll want to collect some sand and some cabbage or stringy green weed from the rock platforms or the floating pontoon wharves in the harbour. To set the rig up, ask an angler, jump online or visit a quality tackle store.
When you’ve got your rig ready, find yourself a safe rock ledge along the ocean shore, or a wharf- or land-based spot in the harbour, use some sand and broken weed as burley, bait your hook with weed so it’s hidden away neatly and wait for the float to be subtly pulled under before striking to set the hook. Fun!
Other species worth fishing for right at your feet are whiting off the beach and silver drummer off the rocks. These fish also eat specific food items and require special rigs and techniques so be sure to do your research before planning your trip.
Another worthy way to catch a feed off the rocks and beaches is to keep an eye out for the Australian salmon schools that will have well and truly arrived by the time you are reading this. Cast small metal lures, soft plastics and poppers to connect with these fantastic sports fish (and underrated table fish).
For those offshore anglers, your options are many, from deep-water kingfish on the 100-metre hard reefs to superb snapper in the shallows and well offshore. Other options include deep-water dropping for gemfish, blue-eye trevalla, hapuka or maybe even a bass groper if you’re lucky.
Out wide it’s the season of the mighty tuna – try towing skirted or bibbed lures on 24kg or cubing patiently on the drift. Every year for the last five years Sydney has enjoyed a run of the most majestic of all tuna, the southern bluefin tuna, and all indications are that this year should provide some serious action for the dedicated.
Do keep sustainability front of mind when enjoying your angling pursuits. Every day there are more of us and less of the fish we all love to eat. Only with quality management and respect for the ocean’s bounty by anglers like you and me can we hope for fish to be available for all of us to enjoy in the future.