Wednesday, 22 January 2014

IN THE WAKE OF..... (Rock Fishing)

IN THE WAKE OF..... (Rock Fishing)\

Trekking the foreshores and capes of Sydney's headland has become a movement I have been embarking on of late. Rock Fishing sometimes pushes the boundaries for location, as most rock anglers will vouch that the entrances and routes to some of these fishing regions can be a mission, But active LBG angling was pioneered an age ago and the more and more times I find myself out on the stones have had me realize that the weather, conditions and elements are not my friend. When it comes down to rock fishing, the forecast can sometimes predict large swells and winds, don't risk it go Flathead fishing in a bay, but when conditions play in your favor the fishing can be bounteous.

Mark Miller with an above average Drummer. 

Using bigger baits can result in some quality Snapper off the rocks.
Groper really are a steam train of power.

Showcasing some of Sydney's accessible, and not so accessible species to target from the stones is something I've been doing lately, back to basics using various baits I have been finding new approaches and different styles of fishing that I haven't embarked to much on in which has had me kind of.....  left me out of my comfort zone. Being a lure angler for a long time now I have been learning a lot of things along the way of bait fishing. Land based rock fishing is somewhat of a hit or miss game, I have been quite lucky to fish with good friend and Sydney veteran rock angler Mark Miller in recent times. Miller is packed with experience and knowledge and I find myself sponging up all the information along the way and forming a healthy respect for the way rock fishing operates.

Although there is an abundance of Large Hoodlum Kingfish in Sydney this summer I am yet to land one.

Autumn months see an influx in small Mac Tuna's flooding the coastline of Sydney.

With many aspects to consider in rock fishing, there is some exiting and very effective forms to target relatively common prolific species. Winter fishing here in Sydney off the stones provides a huge amount of sport fishing, with the run of Pelagic's like Australian Salmon, Large Bonito, Tailor and juvenile Mac Tuna. Lets not forget the reef species like Drummer, Luderick, Leather Jackets, Silver Trevally, Snapper, Bream and The infamous Blue Groper.

When all else fails.... You can always rely on Leather Jackets for a feed 

The Blue Groper. Horse teethed, huge, hard pulling power of a train. These fish will have you grip your rod with might, targeting this species involves the gathering of rock crabs, now my fellow mate Mark Miller is somewhat crazy when he grabs these crabs from the rocks with bare hands.... for me I stick to a crab spike. Rig up a size 4.0-8.0 (Depending on the size of the crab) Suicide hook, 40-50 pound monofiliament line with a small pea sinker. The red and green crabs are best, but the black crabs also do the job. Now pickers will tend to eat your bait so be prepared much like Drummer fishing. A good tip I got was to burley your spot with crushed crab for better results, find where the wash is and cast just beyond it amongst the hidden rocks. A rising tide accompanied with the run out tide is usually better. The moment a Blue Groper hits your bait, you will know about it. Run a fair amount of drag to stop these fish fast!..... Hold on because they will pull and pull to retreat back into the rock hideaway. I find the Groper's to be a fairly bland tasting fish, but many others I know relish in their taste, I tend to release them but they are a great sport fish for the cooler months and will be sure to stretch your arms.

Mark Miller with a beautiful female Blue Groper

Hoodlums roam amongst legal and rat Kings.... but can sometimes be very tricky to tempt.
The Australian Salmon inhabit the coastline, rocks, offshore, beaches (often in gutters) and frequently roam into estuaries chasing bait. They are found in the Southern section of the country, often found in schools and being a Pelagic species, my favourite way to chase these fish is topwater lures like DUO Pressbait 85's. Down size your gear.... I like to target Salmon on 3-6kg, 2500 outfits, this species is often disregarded, This I have no idea why. Australian Salmon in my opinion are a strong fighter displaying their acrobatic leaps and bounds, this gets me exited in the winter months.

Some seriously large Australian Salmon roam during the cooler months. 
Adam Bond showcasing one of his larger Bonito from the stones.
Jake Coxon on a light Bream outft catching Australian Salmon
Kingfish! The hardest of hard hitting species.... awesome eating, great Sushimi and a trap ban that has had Kingfish flourish back in numbers. This species can sometimes test your patience, very tricky at times but rewarding none the less. With the right conditions Kingfish tend to be found well off the bottom from there frequently roamed structure, on the HUNT! for baitfish to round-up. I have found that alot of the schooling Kings are similiar in size, but quite often I have spotted some seriously large Hoodlum Kings amongst rats that will surely leave your arms with a thorough workout. Getting a King to bite? pretty easy stuff right? spot the fish... cast the rigged garfish and then... hookup! WRONG!!! There is a bit of a technique I like to use, cast it out, let it sink to the near bottom. After that give it a few jerks up like you would with a soft plastic, and a few speedy winds on the reel then pause. Let the bait flutter down the water column, this is when a King will strike it. (Most of the time) 

Feeding alongside the Australian Salmon are rogue Bonito... This one went 60cm