Pittwater fires up
  |  First Published: December 2010

Pittwater really starts to fire up this month but it can all depend on a couple of different things.

The most important is that we get a good flow of warm water into Pittwater and Broken Bay. With this warm blue water will come masses of baitfish and the predators hot on their tails.

We sometimes are lucky enough to encounter samson, amberjack, cobia and in the odd year when all of the planets align, spotted mackerel.

The weather of course plays a huge part. A lot of heavy rain can put a stop to a bite of one species but can fire up another.

December is also when catching kingfish becomes a whole lot easier. Most of the hot bites occur at Barrenjoey Head and kingfish of all sizes can be caught using a variety of techniques.

My favourite is downrigging live squid, squid strips, yellowtail or, best of all in this area, slimy mackerel. Care must be taken because there are areas that shallow up quite quickly and can swallow downrigger bombs easily.

Just make sure you scout out an area first before setting down your baits; the 10 minutes taken can save an expensive mistake.

The other area to try before coming back inside Pittwater is the Lion Island Reef area, which again shallows quickly. Trolling here can produce a variety of fish.

Pittwater squid are hard to find but at least we are starting to see a few towards the mouth. We have been seeing a few around West Head while catching yellowtail and there are a few along the rocky, weedy areas just inside Pittwater.

The only other regular area squid stronghold is at Palm Beach over the weed beds.

Trolling live squid in December is normally about finding active, hungry kingfish. You normally find these scooting through the moorings or along the various points and they don’t stay in an area for too long.

This is why downrigging is such a great way to target these fish; you can follow them and present baits at the depth they are feeding.

Pittwater has very little current south of Careel Bay and this plays a huge part in why the kings always seem to be on the move.

In areas with lots of current, the baitfish have to spend most of the tide huddled around structure to save energy.

When a kingfish attacks, the baitfish rise in a ball briefly before getting back down to an area with less current. The bait must stay close to the structure and each fish wants to be in the centre of the bait ball.

This is why in current, fishing structure works very well for a variety of species.

In Pittwater, you will encounter a lot more kingfish on the move because the current won’t hold baitfish in an area. If a king moves on a baitfish school in Pittwater the fish all ball up and start moving along with the kings in hot pursuit.


There are also jewfish to be caught in Pittwater and they’ll be starting to run along the channel along the western side.

Each year the commercial effort takes fish from 4kg to 8kg so they are in there for you to target.

Better areas include Portuguese Beach to Soldiers Point and then among the moorings by the main channel from Bayview to Church Point.

Fresh squid or fresh mullet will see you in with a real chance. Soft plastics work well while you are waiting for a bite.

Kingfish are being caught along the coast and we are finding numbers and a variety of sizes.

Live slimies have been top bait but yellowtail are also being gleefully swallowed. Soft plastics and poppers are also catching a lot of fish.

Flathead are still about in numbers and if you can find an area devoid of leatherjackets, there are a few flathead to be caught around the reefs and over the sand.

There are a few decent snapper about. The closer reefs have an enormous number of sweep so we are finding the reds on some of the deeper grounds around 40m.

Broken ground has provided mixed bags on soft plastics.

Peter Le Blang operates Harbour and Estuary Fishing Charters, phone 02 9999 2574 or 0410 633 351, visit www.estuaryfishingcharters.com.au.

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