Hairy weather indeed
  |  First Published: August 2001

The weather lately has been nothing short of atrocious. Strong winds and localised freshes have dropped water temps and discoloured the normally clear Winter water in the Hawkesbury.

This month I’m hoping the conditions improve and catch rates increase as the water get slightly warmer than the frigid 13.5° we’ve seen in the lower reaches around Brooklyn.

Hairtail have made a great showing in the past couple of months in Cowan Creek. Anglers braving the cold have secured some good fish to 1.5m.

I recently had the fortune of capturing my first hairy on a cool night in July. They are quite a challenge to set a hook in among all those teeth but are worth the effort if you need a fishing fix after work.

The technique I employed was to cast and retrieve whole unweighted ganged pilchards with a light stick attached around 50cm up the leader.

I kept the berley trail going the whole time with cubes of pilchards slowly dispersed at regular intervals. I found it hard not to strike immediately, as I would with soft plastics, but to let them mouth the bait for a while and then I slowly took up the weight and struck.

Jewfish have been a little hard to come by due to the fresh in the system. Anglers will fare best fishing an incoming tide around Brooklyn at well-known spots like Juno Point, Gunya, Croppy, the bridges, Bar Point and the red marker at the top of Milson Island.

The top of the tide will bring a slight temp rise and this will be the trigger for any fish lying up to go and feed for an hour or two while the conditions are favourable.

I recently took out a father and son Greg and Trevor Franks to catch a jewie in the cold conditions and the guys weren’t disappointed when a 111cm mulloway hit the deck. Their smiles said it all.

Greg had obviously not had enough after reeling in the fish and went on to catch his first ever fish on a soft plastic/lure, a 70cm jew.


There are plenty of salmon and tailor in the washes at the moment. Most headlands are worth a troll and this is a productive way to locate any schools.

Another option is casting to the washes with poppers, hardbodies and soft plastics; just be prepared to lose a few softie tails if there are tailor about.

The flathead have been very quiet this Winter but anglers drifting off Patonga are still picking up the odd keeper on baits and plastics.

Berowra and Cowan will be good propositions as the water temps begin to climb. The back of bays where there are sandy drop-offs will hold a bit warmer water due to the lack of current. These are great ambush points for flatties.

Bream should be moving back into the system after dodging the netters and dirty water spewing out of the rivers in northern NSW. They will be ravenous and willing to put on condition at this time of year.

They will still be holding a little deeper than normal so fishing the rock walls that hold 8m to 10m of water will be the trick.

Small offerings are the go but finding 5g, 6g and 7g jig heads with small hooks can be a challenge.

The other option is to use blades. They are small, compact and have good sink rate due to their slim nature.

Blades are great for searching out new ground and probing the depths of these deep rock walls. Don’t forget to add a splash of your favourite scent to make all that metal just a little more appealing.

It’s common to encounter estuary perch along the same rock walls and all EPs must be released until September 1.

Some good perch and bass have been caught and released in the upper reaches. This great run is producing at least one thumper bigger than 45cm most sessions.

This is great news for the future of these awesome estuary predators. With all these big fish spawning, it bodes well for future stocks and having genetics of big fish in future generations means that there will be some great fishing to come.

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