The last two months have seen a deluge of rain in the Hawkesbury, which has given the Colo River a good flush.
In the mid-December downpour the water peaked at 10.5m, dropping water temps 5° and creating a wall of water that pushed out hard against 1.9m incoming tides, creating some spectacular sights at Lower Portland.
This flush backed up the main river, which rose around 50cm from the top of the catchment. The flush helped clear the suspended sediment and return some clarity and good fishing to the waters above Lower Portland.
Bass, estuary perch and flathead have been keen to hit lures along the rock walls, drop-offs and creek mouths in the clearing conditions.
Most presentations were attacked with gusto as the fish made the most of the conditions.
Bass were spitting out all manner of creatures, including elvers, Christmas beetles, moths, gudgeons and smelt, plus other indistinguishable morsels.
Below Lower Portland the conditions were dire, with the 5° plummet in water temp and the coffee-coloured water which reached beyond Wisemans Ferry, promptly shutting down the fish.
Those anglers who managed to get out around Brooklyn were rewarded with good bream, flathead and jew that were forced downstream by the floodwaters.
Now these fish are on the move and are good propositions around Slippery Rock and Laughtondale on the top of the tide.
Live prawns have been the No1 bait in these conditions. Live herring and mullet are the next best if you can source them.
Lure aficionados have had a hard time getting their offerings seen in the dirty water but those with some persistence and fluoro pink or chartreuse lures have been rewarded with a few flathead and jew.
The mouth of the system has been the most consistent, with plenty of kingfish and bonito on offer when the seas allow.
Tolling yakkas and squid around Lion Island, West Head and Barrenjoey has resulted in numerous bust-offs and some respectable kings pushing 90cm landed.
Bonito can be spun up from the washes around Barrenjoey and are great sport on light tackle. Bleed them immediately and put in an ice slurry to secure their eating qualities and the scraps make great berley for future outings.
Berowra Creek experienced a small fresh as well but this cleared quite quickly and the fishing hotted up.
Bream were ravenous on the abundant structure and attacked soft plastics and hardbodies shortly after they landed.
The local jewfish were willing to play as well, with reports of good fish to 15kg coming from the deep water around the ferry crossing. Live mullet and squid are the best baits in this system.
Back towards the freshwater reaches in the Hawkesbury proper, bass fishing has been great. With so much water, the fish have been able to move freely and access water that has been off limits for nearly a decade.
Many new snags have appeared and the bass have taken up residence.
Topwater presentations have been scoring well in the low light periods and the ever-reliable Betts Spins and Spinnerbaits continue the bite once the sun gets up high.
Penrith Gorge has been fishing consistently but accurate casts are a must. The fish are sitting tight to structure this far into the season and only those with consistent casting accuracy will be rewarded regularly.
Alternatively, surface and subsurface fly presentations on a 7Wt fly outfit are productive ways of scoring bass in this high-pressure fishery.
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