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Features/Structues of a Rock Fishing Spot


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G'day fishos!

New user from Northern Beaches. Been fishing Mona Vale Head recently This is my first post. Would appreciate some advice!

I've only got into rock fishing recently. I have a life-jacket, helmet, cleats (safety first!)... but not really sure what I'm doing 😅

This is my specific question: What should I be on the lookout for, when deciding where to throw in the line? I know that beach fishing involves finding the gutters... is there a parallel when fishing from the rocks? I've heard that structures hold fish too, because of shelter, food supply, etc. 

Would love to hear any tips or tricks.



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Welcome Fishersofmen- you have asked a pretty general question, but rock fishing you can also find gutters and holes- really depends on what species you are trying to catch/what gear you have/what techniques you are going to try. 

This time of year, species such as Trevally, Drummer (Rock Blackfish) Bream and Tarwhine are likely to be in the area you've mentioned and are commonly encountered close in to the rocks. When looking for likely spots, consider what it is that fish need, such as a food source and some "cover" from possible predators.

In terms of the food source, look for areas with marine growth such as weed, cabbage and cunjevoi growing on low levels as these are the natural foods that will be carried off the rocks, which the fish can feed off. These areas also provide likely habitat for shoreline crabs- another common food for many species. So look for areas that have water run-off, as they are the natural areas bringing food to the fish and are often identified by areas of white/turbulent water, as the water is disturbed when flowing back from land to sea.

As for "cover", again the white turbulent areas provide a good environment for smaller species and in general, more fish activity is likely in areas adjacent to areas of "wash", so look for washy areas that fit the food source criteria. This time of year, with calmer seas (from westerly winds) and clearer water, my advice would be to look for areas with at least 3-4 meters of water depth and preferably a bit deeper (so you can't see the bottom) with a nice wash and adjacent food opportunity/s.

There are two main methods to fish these areas, the first and most common is to have a pea-sized ball sinker running freely between a swivel and your hook- a good general sized hook is a 1/0 suicide ("Octopus" or "Big Red" Mustad brand are examples) make the distance between swivel and hook about 45 cm, this way you keep in contact with your bait for bite detection and control of your rig. If you just run the sinker directly to hook, you won't have as positive a contact, nor idea of exactly where your bait is or what's happening. With this rig, you can catch just about anything that you'll encounter when fishing around Sydney -only differential is hook size changes for specific targeting of fish eg: Luderick with cunje or bread bait you would go down to a size 2 hook, or up to a 5/0 or 6/0 for Groper fishing with a large whole crab bait. No larger sinker is needed, in fact using the pea size or one size either way is all you really need, if you use smaller, it's likely you'll get too much attention from pest species like Sweep and Mado's which are commonly encountered in the top 3 meters of the water column- the pea size gets you through them to better quality fish below.

The other method is to use a float/cork and suspend your bait roughly 3-4 meters below it, which is good for covering a bit of area and also for fishing shallower rough terrain. For simplicity though, the first rig will catch you plenty of fish, whether fished in closer or washy areas and even casting right out with a larger bait, such as half a Pilchard or a fish fillet.

If casting whole fish baits is more to your liking, look for deeper water adjacent washes, often found off headlands and large rock platforms. A Pilchard or Garfish mounted on a set of 3-4 ganged hooks without any lead is either cast and retrieved or cast and allowed to float around. This method is the go for Tailor and Salmon, which will also be around, generally in the "low-light" periods of dawn and dusk.

Hope you find this information useful, don't forget to always wear your safety gear and NEVER turn your back on the sea, not even for a few seconds, if you need to check some aspect of your rig, move well back from the water- it only takes a minute to move back again.

Happy fishing and good luck

Edited by wazatherfisherman
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Well worded response there, take the time to read and fully understand what was written, just one tip from me, most successful rock fishing does not involve a hunk of bait, and a big sinker hurled over the horizon, most fish will be in very close.

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A couple of excellent answers here. Don't forget to use berley too, especially if chasing bream, drummer, trevally etc.. A handful of soaked bread into the wash every few minutes works a treat. Mix into it some pilchard pieces or prawn heads plus some bits of weed helps too. You want to soak the bread so it sinks and breaks up into small pieces; if it floats you'll feed the seagulls instead. This will attract fish from a wider area and concentrate them where you're fishing. Fish light and fish your feet.

Oh and to source bread try your local bakers. Some will sell you a bag of stale bread for much less than buying fresh bread.



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