Kingies school up
  |  First Published: December 2010

Some great kingfish have again taken all of the limelight in Pittwater, with fish smashing live squid and, occasionally, yellowtail.

This means that the best way to cover your options is to obtain squid as well as yellowtail baits.

The kings seem to be schooling around The Basin through to Mackerel Beach and across to Stokes Point.

These surface feeders can be very frustrating at times but a deep, downrigged bait will normally produce a hook-up.

Squidding in Pittwater has been a fair bit easier lately but most of the squid are pretty small. Most weed beds along the river north of Longnose Point seem to have a few to be caught. Brightly coloured smaller jigs, around size 1.8, are working best.

The yellowtail have been easiest to gather at West Head but be careful with the berley, you may attract only mados and sweep.

The Hawkesbury River has been fishing well with jewfish popping up all over the place. Areas to try in Broken Bay have been Flint and Steel, Juno Point, Walkers Point and Elanors Bluff.

The fish are mainly biting at the change of the tide but if you have a bait in the water at any time, you are in with a chance.

Likely areas upstream have been around Dangar Island among the moorings, Gunya Point, the bridges, Milsons Passage and Bar Point. All these areas have produced fish for our clients and a few of my mates.

There are some flathead being caught between the bridges and behind Dangar Island and Milsons Island. The flatties can be caught using a variety of techniques but soft plastics are among the more exciting methods.

Fish the drop-offs and structure with 4” plastics or larger and you’ll catch bigger flathead and will be in with a real chance at a jewfish.

When I fish plastics in the Hawkesbury I like shad style lures because I find their tails send out vibrations that attract a lot of bites.


If you are going to visit the Hawkesbury, make sure to take crab traps. The blue swimmers have been marching for a while now and catching up to four crabs in a trap is becoming the norm.

The best crab bait is half a big tailor or mullet.


The kingfish have been prowling off most headlands and on calmer days can often be seen feeding. They are a heap of fun to catch on soft plastics or poppers.

We have run into a few monsters we were unable to stop on 50lb braid. We had two chances at these fish and but they made our 15kg gear look like bream tackle.

The fish hit trolled yellowtail set at 50’ like freight trains. With 13kg of drag set at the Saragosa reel, a fish pulled 60m of line in about five seconds before burying the 120lb trace into the bottom.

The very next pass produced a similar result but this time the fish seemed even bigger. The poor client, Murray Kingston, was thrilled to get such a chance and he and his party were happy with the 20-odd smaller kings they scored.

The fish are off most headlands and places like the Hole in the Wall, Newport Reef and Long Reef will be on fire as you read this. The general run of fish in these areas can be small but with patience, you can often find a few larger ones.


There are schools of bonito that are great fun and a great feed if looked after properly. To score these can be as easy as trolling a hard-bodied lure of around 10cm near the headlands and along the drop-offs.

The odd salmon has been willing to eat lures as well.

If you catch a small bonito try rigging it and trolling it for an XOS kingfish or travelling game fish.

The snapper are a little harder to find lately with most success in more than 60m of water. Lucanus jigs are working a treat when a school has been located, as are soft plastics.

The ever-reliable pilchard is producing the most reds but the fish do seem to be smaller.

Flathead are still in 50m to 70m but the dreaded leatherjackets have shown up again.

For a less expensive trip, lower one rig at a time; this way you lose only one rig at a time instead of five at once!

If you find a patch of these annoying fish, please catch as many as you are allowed. Not only are they tasty but you will be helping to thin out their schools.

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