Big kings are fussy
  |  First Published: August 2001

I said last month that we’d had enough of the rain and bad weather but it’s just kept on rolling in right along the east coast, making fishing near impossible with strong winds and big seas.

The rare occasions when we have seen a break in the weather have shown there are still fish about to be caught, but you have to show a bit of patience.

In Pittwater the Winter kingfish have shown up. They are a bit fussy but with persistence, a bite can usually be found.

The best bait by far has been a live cuttlefish trolled on a downrigger.

Most of the bigger kingfish seem to be holding deep and the cold water can really slow up these normally active fish. The idea is to troll the bait in front of their faces until they hit it through sheer aggression or decide it’s finally time to feed.

There are a few other species that can be caught in Pittwater but fresh bait is needed to get the best results.

Tailor and salmon are cruising Broken Bay and are a great deal of fun on lighter gear. The tailor are still a real surprise, with some decent greenbacks being caught off the beaches between Long Reef and Palm Beach.

Ganged pillies are working well floated down a berley trail but for those that like to stay active, 25g metal lures are working well.

There are also some big salmon showing up in the same areas. The washy headlands seem to be the best spots to try from a boat. Both of these species are also attacking trolled lures and the flashy lures are working well.

Trevally have started to flow into Pittwater and are most frequenting at Mackerel Beach. This bay has a deep hole in front of the public wharf – fish with berley there and normally a few trevally will come to play. The surprise species in this area are john dory and jewfish.

Each year john dory slowly follow the colder water into Pittwater and Mackerel Beach and The Basin are two spots where they seem to stay for a week or two.

Best dory baits are small live yellowtail, mados and sweep set a metre off the bottom.

Hairtail have been biting their heads off on the Hawkesbury and, to a lesser extent, in Cowan Creek. These fish are eating pilchard strips more than yellowtail.

Make sure that you vary the depths and when you find the depth where they are feeding, adjust all your lines to that depth.

Spoon lures are also a great way to target these ugly toothy critters.


Winter on the estuaries may mean slow fishing but if you change to other species you can still have a ball. Blackfish or luderick are feisty fighters common around most of the wharves along Pittwater and for the boatie they are being tempted at Woody Point.

Berley is a must at Woody Point but not as essential at the wharves. Finding local green weed is a nightmare at the moment so purchase some at a tackle store.

Ensure also you have a few squid jigs in your tackle box; Winter on Pittwater normally means big southern calamari squid.

It is easier to catch them at night with the help of the bright lights at the ends of the wharves. If the wharf that you are going to fish has lights all along the walkway, try there as well.

Quite often squid use the moored boats in the shallower water for cover and can be caught in ridiculously shallow water if there are patches of light on the water.


Even though the weather has been atrocious, we were lucky enough to organise a day out for young Noah Fittler and his dad, Leo. Noah is going through a pretty traumatic time at the moment and the wonderful people at Ronald McDonald House thought it would be good for his spirits if he went fishing.

Unfortunately the fishing was slow and the winds were cold and strong but this little champion still managed to catch a few small fish to keep amused.

A big thanks must go to Steve Morgan and Simon Goldsmith from ABT for allowing young Noah some time with his Dad on one of their tournament boats. The ever-wonderful Wayne Robinson was the lucky boat owner who donated his time and skills to see Noah get off the boat with a smile on his face and fresh air in his lungs.

A big thanks Wayne for all his efforts in the very trying conditions.


The fishing offshore has been way too rough lately but for the brave and those lucky enough to find a rare calmer day, there seems to be a bit of action on the closer reefs.

The closer reefs are showing signs of life with trevally, morwong, snapper, trag and the odd marbled flathead making up a decent feed.

The deeper reefs are starting to load up with leatherjackets and toadfish so be prepared to lose some tackle if you are thinking about travelling further than the 50m contour.

This month we have a weekday Winter special with a saving of $200 per boat on some charters so check out our website for more details.

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