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  1. Hi Dieter have never heard of one caught on a fish bait before, only a couple of Silver Drummer who have small sharper teeth. Maybe some of the larger fish lost at night are them? Definitely omnivorous as like Bream, they eat almost anything that is an easy meal. Hence being called Pigs. Have caught them on ab gut, cunje, crabs, cabbage, weed, prawns, bread, nippers, worms and fresh squid in differing locations. At Bondi Murk they were fishing for them with bullocks liver dipped in kero! Nearly all the big ones on either cunje or crabs (mainly red crabs) If fishing specifically for them, cunje is the bait of choice now ab gut is off limits. Salted cunje works well also. At times of rough seas, when whole pods are dislodged intact, even as the pods that have been washed in,rot in the sun, there are usually numbers of fish in close proximity that will try getting to the cunje at higher tides- aka "potholing or pussyfooting"- two good examples of these locations are Long Reef platform and more so Curracurrang Bay, where plenty of cunje gets washed up in amongst the southern boulder side of the bay and is only reachable to the fish on the higher parts of the bigger high tides. After a few days of really big southerly swell, there are always fish tucked up in the southernmost corner of the bay, in amongst the boulders, waiting for a chance to get to the rotting cunje. Years ago, while fishing at the "Gutters" between Little Bluefish and Bluefish Pt's another mate Steve (who is actually a Raider) and I sat watching heaps of big Luderick floating up onto the southern side of gutter number two to get at the really long streamer cabbage growing on it. After watching for a while, we tried fishing the gutter, but with no success initially, so I went above the ledge and watched the fish for a while to see what the go was. While watching, I spotted 4 big Pigs all crammed in a small hole about 4 feet in diameter, directly under where I was sitting, they could have gorged on the cabbage like the Luderick were doing, but they were doing something else, still appeared to be feeding though. On going down on the ledge at low tide to have a look, I discovered that there were about 20 odd small cunje's growing in the hole and some were obviously torn open with no contents left inside. The hole was probably only a foot deeper than the rest of the ledge it sat on and it was the first time I'd ever seen such large fish in almost no water (the Luderick were left high and dry between swells some of the time) but it made me realise they know where the food is. The same day, on the opposite north side of gutter two, we also watched a Groper about 25-30 lb continually float up and "slide" along the ledge with it's head up under a long crevice, using the water run-off to move itself along. It was obviously feeding on red crabs. So in one day I watched 3 different species get their food from off rocks that were only submerged at high tide. Each species were actually quite vulnerable (I thought) but seemed well versed in doing what they were doing. On returning the next day to the same spot, the sea was even flatter than the previous day and the masses of fish observed the first day, were nowhere to be seen. With most of this type of evidence pointing towards fishing higher tidal stages, they are one species that definitely responds well to a constant burley stream and can actually be caught on all stages of the tide. Spots like the "Tablet" which is a small cunje covered island on the northeast corner of Burning Palms southern rock platform (known as "Oyster") are actually only accessible to fishers on the lower stages of the tide, as there is a permanent wave break due east, which throws a curling wave towards the shore, even on dead flat seas. The gutter between the island and the platform holds heaps of small Pigs, and is a top spot for them as the tide goes out. There are also good Bream and quality Luderick in there, although the Luderick are best in there when the sun disappears in the afternoon. Bobby corking works really well in this location, with cunje for the Pigs and crabs for the Bream during daylight hours. So if I was going to target them during daylight hours, cunje would be the standout choice, crabs second and probably prawns, bread or cabbage in that order
  2. Well done Andrew! Nice fish!
  3. Hi Rob good to hear! They are a great fish to chase through winter as they are one species that doesn't shut down. Best time for large fish in Sydney metro area is October, when they are in spawning aggregations and feed aggressively during this time. It's quite common to burley up a school of large ones during October, however, landing them is the challenge! Fish over 4 kg are probably the dirtiest fighters of all rock species and require luck as well as skill and good tackle to be a "land-able" proposition. Small fish (under 2 kg) from deep water locations are certainly realistic on lighter tackle though. Some good locations around Sydney are South Whale Beach ledges, "Donkey's" around the front of Julianne at Little Bay and the "Tablet" a small rocky islet at the southern platform of Burning Palms Beach, but can be found around most ledges along the coast that have good cabbage growth and/or cunje beds. They are also present in the harbour and in years past have caught them as far up as Cremorne when chasing Luderick, although they are generally under a kg and have a "kelpy" smell and taste, even after bleeding. Dobroyd Head and Middle Head have some better sized ones, but I consider those two areas more as "ocean" fishing, due to being affected by swell and wave action. The simple Sydney rock fisho's rig of a pea sized ball sinker running between a swivel and a 2/0 suicide (Octopus or Big Red pattern) is the best method for "dropping" a bait down walls, or the alternative for both snaggy areas, shallow water and avoiding pickers, is an egg sized running bobby cork with appropriate sized ball sinker to weight the cork/bait down, then a swivel and followed by 45-60 cm of leader, then hook. When fishing rough terrain make sure the leader is slightly less than main line, so in case of snags, only the hook is lost. Bites on the cork rig are usually quite violent downs and on the dropping rig, the bite is pretty much the same as larger Bream. Personally, I only give the fish about a meter and a half of line on the bite before striking, as they get a head of steam up quickly and it is imperative they are stopped before reaching the bottom or they'll find either an obstacle to cut your line on or a crevice to wedge in. In plenty of fishing advice books/columns authors have stated if you get wedged by a fish, to simply slacken off and wait- I don't agree with this advice as I have tried it plenty of times on light tackle and the fish don't come out, even after waiting about 10 minutes. A better approach in my view is to pull hard and on rare occasions the fish comes out, although mostly, your line will break. Better off re-rigging and trying again, your line is usually damaged anyway if you get crevice or cracked. Eating quality is high if bled and filleted/skinned. Best of luck when you go.
  4. Hi AVR and welcome. I used to fish the eastern suburbs rocks for Pigs and caught them up to 6.5 kg with average fish over 3 kg. As said above, Ab gut was excellent bait, but banned due to the Ganglioneuritis virus which is highly infectious and survives being frozen/processed, enabling transmission of the disease to healthy populations of Abalone. I don't think it affects humans, but is banned to preserve existing Abalone stocks from becoming contaminated. Next best bait for large fish is a whole unbroken cunje interior as large as you can get. To retrieve the interior so it stays intact, push your knife straight down on the side from the top of the pod and cut around the entire pod. Gently twist the top as you lift and once in hand, slip your thumb under the meat to prise it away from the "lid". You need to do this on each side as the anchor points under the lid are like two teats- once they have been released from the lid you should have an unbroken sack with the two teats (or nipples). By not breaking the sack you don't disturb the "guts" of the cunje- which is the delicate red part and the yellow- this helps in minimising pickers and whole pods attract the opportunist large fish who will "muscle" their way to the bait before the pests. If there are heaps of pickers, small whole red crabs are next best, just remove a rear leg and insert hook through the socket and out through the crabs belly. Small red crabs can be obtained by attaching a pink plastic octopus skirt- the ones used for trolling- on a piece of strong wire about 4-5 ft long and twirling it through waterline crevices. Use a larger skirt -say 6 to 8 inch length and the crabs will run out of the cracks and can be grabbed by hand. This is a better method than how I was shown originally, which was to plunge both arms down a crevice, with hands about 2 feet apart and slowly bring your hands together. The biting type crabs- "scuttley's, sowrie's and reef crabs" all run from your hands, while the red crabs stay put and hang on. When "feeling" for crabs, when you get both hands together you only have the non biter's. Both eels and octopus are not present in the cracks where there are numbers of crabs, just beware if you can't see any crabs as they might have exited due to threat of either of these, but safer and easy to use the plastic octopus "frightener" When using cabbage, try to find some "streamer" cabbage, which usually grows out of the red-brown short growth on the lowest ledges, mainly where there is water run-off. It is long and thin, commonly about a half inch wide by 8-12 inches long. A large bunch of these streamers is an attractive bait for bigger fish, but a single long streamer sent out as a Luderick bait is often taken. Personally, have done far better with this type of cabbage as opposed to the usual "flowering" broad leaf type or Black cabbage (which is olive green, has many perforations and grows individually, submerged in pools) As for where to cast in the wash, look for run-off points of the ledge, which continually return water from the platform, as this is the natural place fish are looking for food. Most of our Pig fishing was actually straight down deep edges of over 25-30 ft, the big fish sit along these walls looking for stuff coming over. If using cabbage however, bobby cork your cabbage between 3-6 ft if fishing the wash in close, as it takes cabbage a while to sink naturally and fish searching wash areas for cabbage are used to taking it closer to the surface. We had a spot called "Pig Rock" at the Mattens at Dover Heights, where both a really huge pool flowed off next to it and there was a massive cunje bed only yards away. Although around 30-35 ft deep, the big Pigs were usually only about 12-15 feet under the surface as that was the level the natural run-off food would have sunk to at the location. They would wolf the bait down as it sank down along the wall below where we stood. The gun burley for big Black Drummer is chicken layer pellets. They need to be completely soaked until they break down, if not completely broken down, the fish will ignore your bait and gorge on the pellets.They are right to use when they have broken down into a mud-like consistency, they get the fish into a good feeding pattern and they beat the rubbish fish and Bream, Tarwhine etc to the bait 90% of the time. If bobby cork fishing the wash zones and you are having problems with Kelpfish etc , come up about 18 inches in depth and use large baits. Bread works well if pickers are around and Kelpies aren't that interested in it either. We used to bobby cork for them at places like Burning Palms in the Royal National Park and do well on the smaller ones using cunje set about 10 ft under a cork and cast to the shore side of rock outcrops. There is a spot there known as the "Tablet" which produces a lot of smaller Pigs on dead flat sea days and it was easy to get them there on 12 lb line. When collecting cunje via the "whole-pod" method, it's wise to only take one cunje from each cluster, so as the rest aren't disturbed and of course check regulations re bait collecting. When pussy-footing use a small piece of lead just to keep you in contact with the bait unless fishing in under 3 ft of water, you'll kmow when ones taken it! Hope this information is useful. Any other questions feel free to ask. They are my second favourite fish to fight (after Kingfish) and are great to eat. As for line size for the eastern suburbs, we used 18 lb Tortue for them and lost 50% of the ones we hooked, go up to 23 lb and you get more than 50% less bites. If chasing the 2-4lb models you get a lot more bites on 12-14 lb , but you'll lose the odd one and most of any real big ones Regards Waza
  5. Hi Pete knowing exactly where those crevices are at Moe's you've got my sympathy! Running and jumping them from the tip of Moe's was always race against that blasted wave break. Wouldn't want to go in the horseshoe where they empty either. Those barnacles are so damaging on skin. Been in twice fishing and twice while just walking/swimming, it's no fun, especially in remote places. Safety gear so sensible to wear and take. Like you, I reckon I was in some sort of shock
  6. Hi Noelm those volcano barnacles are shocking to have a ride over. One of the old Mattens crew- Frank- had a ride over them on his backside wearing only speedo's, he got some shocking injuries that bled for a couple of hours. Still had to climb the cliff to get home though.
  7. Hi Yowie it's amazing when those giant boulders are just "gone". The big one at the Mattens was as big as a shipping container and 40+ yards from the water, nobody could believe it was gone, especially from where it was sitting
  8. When you're young, you do things that are often foolhardy, even downright dangerous. When I was 17, I used to get Wednesday's off work and usually go fishing, either to White Rock near Bradleys Head in the Harbour, or often to the Mattens at Dover Heights. Both locations during the week you'd usually have the spot to yourself, which can be OK for the Harbour, but rock fishing alone is far too risky. Anything can happen, other than the obvious dangers of climbing cliffs, negotiating tracks and the ever present swell, something as simple as turning an ankle can leave you in a helpless position, with nobody to either render assistance or raise any alarm in case of a more serious predicament or immobility. So trips to somewhere like the Mattens were always with companions. Nevertheless, when young, like they say- "you're 10 feet tall and bullet-proof"- which is great confidence-wise, but not necessarily always a good thing in regards to safety. The plan had been to travel to mentor Wally's place at North Bondi and go down the cliff and just spend the day chasing Blackfish, however, Wally couldn't go at the last minute due to his wife becoming ill and he rang me just as I was about to walk down to Croydon railway station to get the train to Central. Bugger- what to do now? Gear and lunch packed- go to the Harbour? No weed or cabbage though and although quality cabbage grows on the sides of the zoo wharf, you need someone to hold your legs while you stretch over then under the wharf to reach it. Maybe I could still go to the Mattens? If the sea is as predicted- "slight seas on a low swell" and I stick to the safer spots, should be OK. So off to get the train to Central, then the bus from Eddy Avenue to Dover Heights. On arrival at the cliff top park, first thing all the fishermen do is walk slightly south of the spot you get over the fence, so you can view the conditions far below. A quick look revealed a really flat ocean, however it's an unwritten rule of rock fishing to have a long look at the sea, as sometimes there might be a swell that's quite far apart, even though it looks flat, it can still be too dangerous for fishing. About fifteen minutes is the "accepted" time for viewing the sea, barring rogue waves, you get a pretty good idea of any pattern provided by watching the sea-to-land water movement. Looked pretty flat, maybe too flat in fact. No wash means no food going in naturally, so fish are naturally more cautious and obviously unable to gorge themselves, like Blackfish often do when feeding. Sea observed, decision made, down I go, being more careful than usual. Safe at the bottom of the climb, gear untied from pulley and rope tied off to a sandstone protrusion. About half an hour from getting over the fence at the top and I'm at the spot. No water coming over anywhere, bar the end of "Bombie" ledge, which is only fish-able on the lower part of the tide and then only during flat seas as it's only just above waterline. The whole location is a Blackfisher's paradise, offering up almost every kind of fishing scenario, from a tidal "lake" where you could fish either 6-7 ft deep in the main body of water, or about a foot deep in the shallow end- the most exciting form of Blackfish fishing, to various deep water washes, soupy white water fishing, cunje beds and shallower boulder bottomed drifts. Unusual "straight-edge" fishing for them is also on offer on really flat days, in another spot there, cunje is used instead of green growth and when you can fish there, action is also really fast. So gear rigged, fixed float set about 11 and a half feet deep- about 6 inches short of the rod's length, 6 and a half pound Tortue mono on the Golden Eagle centerpin greased the night before with Vaseline to keep it floating. Fingers given a good wash to make sure no Vaseline taints the bait. Shoes swapped for rock plates. Keep-net unrolled. Film container with a few spare hooks and an extra couple of bits of sheet-lead in the pocket. Now which spot to try first. As there was hardly any swell at all, there wasn't much in the way of wash and if there's no wash going in, then the fish are either really scattered or more likely in an area where at least a little water is moving back off the platforms, bringing in a little food, or at least the chance of some. On days such as this one, with clear water- due to little turbulence, you might take a while to bring them in with burley, as it doesn't disperse with minimal current, often trying a few of the spots before you locate larger numbers of fish, then "activating" them into feeding mode. After trying three spots and only catching a couple of fish, I decided to go down onto "Greeny", a long low platform straight out in front of the cave, that we used for a base when staying overnight. There is a large pool all over the back of the platform, which flows off to the most southern extremity of the Mattens, emptying in a permanent wash. Normally, there are really large fish off Greeny, but due to it being low, it's only safe to fish the lower section of the tide. In years to come, it became our number one spot for big Bream and where most of the guys caught their biggest Snapper, often while Tailor fishing in the dark. This day however, the Blackfish weren't there and a few drifts and a heap of burley kicked in provided only a couple of "Cocky's"- Rock Cale- a species treated with contempt by most ocean Blackie fishers. After having a look at the nice, soupy looking wash at the extreme end of Greeny- the area's only "permanent" wash, I decided that as the tide went down a bit more and no water at all had come anywhere near coming onto the ledge, that it would be OK to try there next. This spot was called "Bombie", as about 30 yards out from the end of the platform, there is a huge rock under the water that comes up to within about 8 or 9 feet from the surface and it displaces inward moving swell, throwing small curling waves and "lumps" of water in different directions. There are always fish hanging around this spot, as there are a couple of swirling eddy's, keeping any food washed in in a small area and the water naturally pulls outwards from the ledge. There is also a large cunje bed against the shore, abundant red crabs and really long "streamer" cabbage- the favourite food of the biggest Blackfish. These streamers, up to about an inch wide and eighteen inches long, grow very close to the edge and when the tide covered the ledge, the big Blackfish often come right up onto the rocks, grab a huge bunch of streamers and tear the whole lot off, before rolling back into the water. Watching them from high up above, floating up en-masse and shaking violently to tear the streamers off is quite surreal, with numbers of them actually lying high and dry for a time, waiting for the next swell to float them back off. On calm days however, with virtually nothing much being dislodged, the fish feed on what's called "black cabbage"- which is the softer (than the strong streamers) green cabbage that grows permanently under water in the larger pools, most other cabbage is exposed at some stage of the tide- black cabbage isn't black, but in fact darker olive green and grows as individual plants more so than in a "colony" of others. It is also softer to touch and has multiple perforations, or holes, throughout the individual leaf structure. The reason the fish feed on it during calm conditions is that due to it's soft, more fragile texture and small individual root system, it is the only cabbage to break off and wash in with minimal wave action during calm seas. I guess fish instinctively know what should be/is washed in and black cabbage is the go-to cabbage for glassed out conditions due to it's availability to the fish. So after baiting up with black cabbage (which I'd only just learned about) I moved to "Bombie" and cast out well away from the danger zone of close to the rocks- danger zone? Yes danger zone because there are large numbers of big Black Drummer close to the edge at this spot, mainly in the 6-8 lb size range, and too hard to stop on Blackfish tackle in this particular location, some of the deep water spots you'd occasionally manage to stop one, but not where the bottom's in sight- they just go too hard. Drift commenced, float moves to the closest eddy and down it goes. Beauty, hooked up. Two minutes later and a nice fat Blackie is lunging around close to the edge. I look south as I maneuver the fish to my selected wash up spot and suddenly hear the noise that chills rock fishers to the bone- the sound of the water dropping rapidly right on the edge. Large drops mean large rises in terms of water, and as I turned 90 degrees to face the sound, I was confronted by the level of the ocean at over waist height, just on my low spot on the end of the ledge. The bombie had thrown up a lump of water directly at me. I was standing right in the most vulnerable place too, right on the edge, before I could brace for impact or stand on one leg leaning into the wave - the usual "defence" for a swell over the ledge- the water pushed me sideways, straight off the edge and into the water, where I went under in about 15 foot of water. Within a few seconds I was about 7 or 8 feet out, in the natural current, but away from the edge. Instant panic. Everything you've learned and read about what to do if you go in, says swim out a bit from the rocks so you don't get "sucked down" with the water flow, but instinct wants you to get out immediately. I still had the rod in my hand and I didn't want to let go of it, I'd built the rod and it wasn't new, but it was my first quality Blackfish reel- a Grice and Young "Golden Eagle" and it had taken a while to save up for- in 1978 four days work only gave me about $72 clear. Even though the sea was really flat, when you only have your head out of the water, everything looks bigger- the height of the platform to climb back out on, the distance out from shore, the next rising bit of swell, albeit really small, the little bit of soupy looking water- which also looked sinister- I've always been worried about sharks after seeing some big ones just "appear" from out of nowhere. How your perspective can change in just a few seconds. Also and forefront in my mind was that the two eddy's situated off this particular location, just slowly swirled around in a circle, with anything drawn in, such as a float, would be held pretty much where it was. Getting back in and away from these eddy's could be a life or death move. Some years later, two of the guys- Fraser and Brad were to find out, that making it out of these same eddy's is very difficult indeed, after both being washed in from the same location, under pretty similar sea circumstances, only this time, Rob, who wasn't taken by the wave that got them both, was quick in getting the pulley rope from the cave and managing to get it to them. Brad was to later say that he didn't think he was going to be able to stay afloat, as trying to swim out of the eddy, wearing heavy rock plated shoes, was like swimming with bricks tied to his feet, regardless that he was a good swimmer. So with rod still in hand, I swam sidestroke towards the big cunje bed adjacent to where I was originally going to wash my Blackfish out on. The bed, slopes gently into the water from just off the cliff wall and is completely covered in cunje "pods", it sits about 3 feet lower than the platform I got knocked off, but due to the angle of it, combined with both water run-off from the big pool behind the ledge and the oncoming wave/swell action, the water is quite turbulent, however there isn't much current. I had to swim hard, as I knew if I got taken into the eddy I'd be in trouble. I made it away from the drifting area, out of the current, and just as I was wondering where to aim for, another push from the water behind me landed me on the cunje bed, where I found myself standing up as the water receded. At first, I couldn't move as my rock plates had sunk in between cunje pods and I guess now that I was just startled at being back on solid footing without having to do much, but I snapped out of it pretty quickly, got my stuck plates up and ran the 6 or 7 yards to the safety of the back of the platform. Phew! Only then did I realise that I was OK, not a scratch on me and I still had my rod and reel in hand. Winding the line in from the reel, which had had no tension on it whatsoever, I discovered the line was wrapped around the cunje in multiple spots, so I broke it off and climbed up off Greeny and went to sit in the sun to dry off from my untimely swim. It took me a fair while to stop shaking and longer to dry off. About an hour passed before I re-rigged and went to fish a safer spot, keeping in mind what had happened and how lucky I'd been to not get caught in the swirling eddy. After fishing for a short time, I decided to give it away for the day and go home before peak travel time. I got unusually nervous climbing back up the cliff and took the goat track very carefully also. Thinking about the whole event while on the way home on the bus, it seemed to hit home as to how lucky I was and I couldn't wait to get back to Central, then on the train home to Croydon. I didn't dare tell my Mum that I'd gone by myself, as she would have banned me from going again, but I did fish the same spot plenty more times, albeit never by myself again. This might sound like I didn't learn much of a lesson from the experience, but I did. NEVER go rock fishing by yourself- it's just stupidity.
  9. Hi KC next time you see them that cheap buy a few! You're a gourmet chef, I bet you could turn them into a wonderful dish. I bought some real big ones one year to take up for the "Greenback" tournament at Cabarita Beach (there are other species prizes on offer also) and thought they might be good for some Jew. My mate's wife spotted them and said you guys won't even use them, you should leave them here and we'll put them on the bbq. We did- they are really nice to eat, like a giant sweet prawn
  10. Mantis shrimp make up a significant part of the diet of small Mulloway and are sold frozen as "killers". Several years ago they were on the front page of the Telegraph under the heading of "New Species Discovered in Sydney Harbour"- which made us all laugh as we used to get them live from Drummoyne Bait shop and have caught them several times on live prawns. They are often seen in summer scooting around lit wharves like Taronga Park.
  11. In answer to the question has Fishraider helped during the lock-down, for me, it's a HUGE yes. I've been at home for near 4 months, other than two trips to the Dr and chemist. All food is delivered and any bills paid via the computer. Only had a couple of visitors during this time- one being Raider DerekD, who also talks to me every week on the phone, so isolation with my house-mate I guess is the same for me as everyone. During the last few months, by posting stories of times past, some of my old fishing mates (some are Raiders) have reconnected with me and plans are to get together when this is all over. Writing posts about "yesteryear" has also given me something positive and constructive to do and am seriously considering putting all these stories in book form- something I never would have considered without the positive feedback I've received, was really just trying to contribute things for folk to read, about things they probably don't know a great deal about, like fishing the big cliffs. It's also given plenty of time to go through heaps of interesting and informative topics on the site and learned plenty of things from looking at old posts. Agree with the comments from Scratchie, Big Neil and Frank S- this is a really unique community and having met all three guys and quite a few other Raiders, we're all in great company and I'm really happy to be a Raider. Regards Waza
  12. Hi Praga like Burger says, wharf fishing is OK on Sundays, some wharves like Cremorne are really hard to fish during the week due to multiple ferry arrivals. Bradleys Head old stone wall below the mast of the Sydney isn't a bad spot, and there are also Leatherjackets that can be fished for on your Luderick set-up if Luderick are a no-show. There is also a small fort to have a look at as you near the end of the road down. The old stone wall was a premier spot when there was a wharf attached to the end of the wall, but it still fishes OK, as travelling schools often sit on the Harbour Bridge side. Fish half tide in to half out 8-11 ft deep under your float and weed is generally better there, due to there's a lot of short weed growing along there. Best of luck if you try