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White Water Brawlers

As the cool Westerly winds begin to chill us to the bone, as a rock fisherman, my mind starts to drift from summertime pelagics, to the local wash zone.
That small strip of whitewater surging between boulders, up gutters and over ledges.
This is the home of those stocky, broad shouldered brawlers that I love, The Black Drummer, Rock Blackfish, or simply Pig.
Just one look at them, and you can see why they pull so hard. They evolved to live in the constant churning, heaving mess that is the coastal washes and for this they must be built strong and powerful.

Having said that, you must therefore fish for them accordingly. It is by no means intricate or detailed, unless you want it to be.
For me, my wash fishing outfit is a simple one, a rod of 12 foot, a 6000 sized Spin reel spooled with 15-30lb mono. The line rating I choose will be primarily dictated by the terrain I am targeting these fish in, and the size of fish I intend to connect to, but monofilament (while not always necessary) is my choice of line. Fish for these fish enough and you WILL get buried! For that reason alone, mono can and will withstand contact with the rocks much better and longer than braided lines. Also, when re-rigging, it can be a simple change of hook, float or otherwise without having to retie leaders onto braid.

At the pointy end of the equation, the simplicity continues, I will generally run a small ball sinker down to a #2-1/0 (STRONG) hook. This rig works well when pot holing, or drifting through a wash zone. If there is a ledge, or when fishing over kelp, cunje or weed beds, I will add a small float into the equation, either fixed or running to a set depth via a float stopper. This will suspend the bait above the submerged dangers below, and act as a strike indicator for those who are getting to grips with the feel of a bite through mono line.

Bait comes in a variety of forms, but for whatever reason, Black Drummer seem to go gaga for simple $2 White bread. But more natural baits include cunjevoi, cabbage weed, various shellfish including both cooked and raw prawns, and rock crabs. But whatever bait you chose, I would incorporate the use of it with a burley mix made from white bread, chopped cabbage weed or prawn shells, which will act to draw the drummer in from the surrounding area to your chosen wash, where the buffet will begin. If using shellfish baits, do not be surprised if you find yourself connected to a blue underwater steam train, or a crimson rocket, as both blue groper and snapper can and will be attracted to a burley trail in the correct area.

Hayden with a nice Black Drummer off the rocks.

Final things that must be touched on, if collecting bait on the rocks, check that this is allowed in the area you are doing so, as many headlands are off limits to collecting shellfish, cunje or weed.
And also note, that rock fishing IS inherently dangerous for obvious reasons, lifejackets must be worn on all Sydney ocean rock platforms, and appropriate footwear including cleats are an asset that could save you from ending up in the pig pen!

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As the cool Westerly winds begin to chill us to the bone, as a rock fisherman, my mind starts to drift from summertime pelagics, to the local wash zone.
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This is the home of those stocky, broad shouldered brawlers that I love, The Black Drummer, Rock Blackfish, or simply Pig.

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