Sydney fishing – Surf’s up!

I ARRIVED late to find Alex Bellissimo packed up and running back from the beach.

“Jump in the car, I’ve gotta rescue a bird,” he shouted.

Alex had spotted the seagull from a distance tangled in braid and dangling from power lines. A crowd gathered from the nearby rock pool as Alex tied a fillet knife to his beach rod, stood on a bucket, and cut the bird free.
When he’s not rescuing seagulls, Alex is an established beach and rock fishing guide and instructor, based on Sydney’s Northern beaches. And as I discovered one afternoon last week – he’s a damn good fisherman on his day off from guiding.

Beach closed (to swimmers)
The previous day’s large swells meant the beach was a better option than nearby rocks. It was perfect balmy summer conditions, for sunbaking anyway…
The beaches were dotted with tanned bikini clad bodies (at least that’s all I noticed). Thankfully the big seas and strong currents, while making fishing tough, kept most beach-goers on the sand and out of our way. Although as Alex explained, swimmers don’t really bother him and certainly don’t affect the fishing. He catches plenty of fish from popular Northern Sydney beaches like Manly, Dee Why and Narrabeen.

“It’s just part of fishing in Sydney,” he says.

However, he did emphasise the importance of standing your ground and not allowing surfers or swimmers to dictate where you fish.

Summer whiting
We ended the afternoon session with three “keeper” whiting and released a few smaller fish. Not bad for the woeful conditions and testament to Alex’s fishing knowledge. Like all skillful anglers, he makes it look too easy. Everything he needed for fishing – baits, rigs, scissors and more – were carried in a shoulder bag. There was little wasted time running back and forth to re-rig or fetch more bait.

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The strong currents meant Alex was constantly walking along the beach following his lightly
weighted fresh beach worm. This was essential, he said, and something most beach fishing newcomers don’t understand. He was fishing an Alvey and also had rigged a 3000 size Daiwa spin reel and Wilson beach rod. The line was about 8lb mono with small red long shank hooks, small ball sinkers, and a simple paternoster style rig.

Lessons learnt
Another rescue! This time it was more serious. We were fishing the southern corner of Dee Why. A deep gutter in a seemingly quite beach corner created a nasty current. Alex noticed two kids struggling to swim back to shore and alerted a passing surfer. Thankfully a few more surfers responded and the kids were rescued. They learnt an important lesson in beach currents. Interestingly, it’s the same lesson Alex teaches his clients on effectively reading a beach and managing your bait in strong currents and gutters.

If you’re interested in learning more about beach and rock fishing while catching plenty of fish, Alex works the entire Northern beaches and specialises in all available species.
Give him a call on 0408 283 616 and check out his website at

Stay tuned for a short video on whiting beach fishing and Alex Bellissimo’s upcoming feature in Fishing World.

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