The mornings and evenings are starting to chill off but water temps will remain high for quite a while after the land has cooled down.
Due to the nature of the ocean currents, Winter in the water comes some time after Winter on the land.
What this means is that human activity on the water will slow down regardless of the fact that there is still some excellent fishing to be had through June.
I know it's tough to drag yourself out of bed but at least for the next month it is still worth the effort, especially on the lower reaches of Sydney Harbour and the Hawkesbury – where the tide and currents have the most influence.
The upper reaches, being shallow and more affected by air temperature, began to shut down in May.
Although fish numbers will be down, this time of year has always accounted for the best quality fish of the season. My diary shows that May-June produced the biggest jewfish, flathead and particularly bream last year.
So if you are after trophy fish then now is the time to concentrate your efforts.
It is also the season for mixed bags as the first of the Winter species start to move in and mingle with the remnants of the Summer fish.
These species include john dory, trevally, tailor, salmon, morwong and drummer. The dory have already started to appear with the odd one being picked up around Balmoral Beach and North Harbour.
The large numbers of smaller kingfish have started to thin out and move around but based on previous years’ experience, a couple of big kings will still be available for at least another month. The compensation for fewer fish will be an increase in average size.
Tactics need to change now, in line with the kingies’ holding positions.
You will still get them around places like the Wedding Cakes and other navigation markers but in these places they have become fussy, requiring a bit of berley and smaller, more lightly weighted baits.
Their interest in lures is slowing down as well. As the smaller kings have started to migrate out to sea, there are more fish concentrated around the Heads and places like Sow and Pigs Reef.
The best bait is still squid but make good use of the prime baits like the heads and guts and cut the tubes into smaller strips. Baits should be presented on lighter gear, lighter leaders and sinkers, smaller hooks and down a cube trail.
If you want to target the larger kings use whole, live squid around The Spit bridge, North Head and South Head and the deeper channel markers like Neilson Park, Clifton Gardens and Rose Bay. Live gar work pretty well at this time of year as well.
For those just wanting to wet a hook, the silver trevally is a great light-line mainstay this month.
The more open parts of the Harbour are always a trevally’s best friend, with Middle Head, Sow and Pigs and Quarantine Point always likely spots.
Good-sized bream are around at this time of year as well, day and night, especially around the Harbour’s many marinas and moorings.
Your choice of hook size for bream will vary depending on the type of bait being used. For the larger baits like a big prawn I would select a 1/0 because there's always the chance you could pick up a school jewfish or a big flattie.
For smaller baits like live worms, yabbies or skirt steak, I select something between a No 4 and a No 1. By choosing a smaller hook, especially while using worms, you put yourself in with a good chance of picking up a whiting.
As we move through Winter, luderick become prime target, mainly because they can usually be relied on during even the worst shut-down.
This doesn’t mean that they are not available through the Summer or that they are not worthy opponents in their own right. They are a great standby species because of their reliability, but they also require a considerable degree of skill, are hard fighting and to the surprise of many, good eating.
The fish themselves are still quite prolific, having survived the ravages of commercial fishing and pollution a lot better than most other species.
Blackfish are found through a range of habitats that include the most tranquil estuarine reaches to harsh ocean rocks. They are well within reach of shore-based anglers, inexpensive to set up for and are a great proposition at this time of year.
Find a nice area that includes weed, structure and sand, and berley up by mixing sand with some cabbage weed and dispersing it slowly through the water column.
Fresh cabbage weed and fresh green weed can be found on the rocks at present and these are two of the luderick’s favourite foods.
Be careful not to just wind the weed onto the hook, as presentation of your bait is crucial.
The really tricky bit to blackfish fishing is in the control of the rig. Light floats, long drops, wind-resistant baits and lots of sinkers add up to a rig that demands constant attention.
Like all fish, blackfish do require specific techniques that can take considerable time to learn, but once mastered the fish flow freely.
• For the best fishing Sydney has to offer, with some of Australia’s best guides, and even the chance to have your catch cooked for you at one of Sydney’s best restaurants, book a day on the water with Fishabout Australia. Call Nikki on 02 8922 265,1 or email --e-mail address hidden--Reads: 1285