This would have to be one of the best bass seasons on the Hawkesbury for some years.
There has been plenty of consistent rain, bringing the creeks and streams alive. Insect hatches have been common on most humid evenings – good news for those staying out late to throw surface lures around.
Downstream, the mullet have settled in and are biting freely on small bread and worm offerings suspended under floats in berley trails. They’re great fun for the whole family and a very cost-effective way to spend a morning or afternoon.
Bream will be heading upstream following the bait and good catches have been made around Wisemans Ferry and Cliftonville. Live and fresh prawns are number one, with strip baits a close second.
Those flicking lures will be well catered for this month, with bream frequenting rock walls, oyster leases, hulls of moored boats and, the most fun of all, the vast flats this estuary system has to offer.
Throwing surface lures is a great, visual form of fishing and you can cover a lot of water in a short time. There is always the chance of scoring some decent flathead and stud whiting as well.
Small walk-the-dog styles and clear poppers cast far and worked sporadically will result in fish smashing what they think is a small prawn trying to escape.
Flathead have been consistent with some great table fish coming from Laughtondale and Dads Corner.
Soft plastics and live baits have been the reliable approaches, especially two hours either side of the tide changes.
The flatties should spread right out at this time of year, heading as far up as Windsor. They will be focused on the abundance of prawns and herring that have filled the system since Spring.
Trolling is a relaxing and productive approach. Mix it up with a variety of shallow, medium and deep divers for best results and focus on major bottom features such as drop-offs and reefs.
The crabs should make an appearance this month with the mud crabs in the reaches from Cliftonville back to Brooklyn and the blue swimmers at home in the waters of Brooklyn.
With reduced tidal flow making it easy for the pots to stay on the bottom, Berowra is a great place to do some serious crabbing. This system will house muddies and blue swimmers so the odds are in your favour.
Kingfish will be frequenting most harbours and bays by now and anglers fishing Cowan always tell of huge kings eyeballing them as they just meander past the backs of their boats.
A few lucky anglers will have a rig strong enough to handle these fish and get a bait to them before they disappear. A soft plastic rigged and ready can be a handy asset in this situation, too.
School jewfish have thinned out in the upper reaches, leaving a plethora of smaller ‘soapies’ to keep anglers occupied.
The fish over about 70cm would have travelled to the mouths of the system for their annual spawn run to the reefs offshore.
Good fish can still be encountered on live baits and lures around the headlands and close reefs. The best time would have to be on a high tide change, when they will venture back inshore.
There will still be the odd jewie back up-river and those targeting them should use live prawns or herring, or try an active approach by throwing soft plastics around the tide changes close to reefs and drop-offs.
Bull sharks will be heading upstream this month with the warmer water. They will roam as far as Windsor looking for an easy feed of mullet and whatever else comes their way.
If targeting these brutes, berley hard with oily baits and present a variety of strip and live baits on single-strand wire.
This time last year I took a succession of good jew on the wire while shark fishing and didn’t hook a single shark!
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