The fishing along the coast over the past month has been pretty good on most charters and there has still been some pelagic action for anyone willing to battle the cold mornings.
The schools of tailor and salmon are becoming more evident with each passing week. These fish can be caught by sneaking up on the school and casting 10g metal lures into the boiling mass.
While fishing around these schools don’t drive too close or you will more than likely scare the school and make them harder to approach. It is also important to respect those already fishing the area.
Lighter tackle can be a heap of fun and is worth using once the salmon are located, usually by watching for the birds working a patch of water.
There are also some bigger kingfish being seen along the coast from Sydney Heads through to Long Reef.
These big fish are near the schools of salmon and are hard to tempt. Larger live baits such as small bonito, trevally and small salmon will put you in with a real chance.
The odd bigger fish has also been encountered off headlands from Mona Vale to Palm Beach. A couple of these fish have been caught using live squid on downriggers.
Snapper are along the closer reefs, as are morwong, trevally, flathead and tailor. Most fish are being caught on fresh squid but on the odd day pilchards are the top choice for 50cm snapper.
We have been targeting different depths but have found 40m to be the depth to start.
For the lazy fisher, octopus style jigs like the Lucanus have been working a treat when left in the rod holders so the boat does all the work for you.
Leatherjackets and toadies seem to love them, though, so make sure you buy a few spare replacement tails so they can still be used.
For those that love estuary fishing, Pittwater has been a little slow but the big kingfish have arrived and with patience, a decent Winter king can normally be found.
The best bait is live cuttlefish and you really do have to slap the kings in their faces with them while downrigging.
I am finding a lot of big fish down deep and they have been in different bays every day. This pattern is a little unusual for Pittwater kings, which normally find some good areas with cuttlefish and stick close by for a week or so before moving on to another.
Places to try include Towlers Bay, Mackerel Beach, The Basin and, believe it or not, at the boat ramp at Rowlands Reserve. I don’t know what these fish were doing up there but on two occasions now I have had people tell me about the big fish that cruise past the ramp.
As the water temperature drops further and tailor, salmon and trevally become the normal captures, it won’t be long before we start to see john dory showing up in The Basin.
These great-looking fish can be targeted with live small yellowtail fished a metre from the bottom. A heavy sinker above the swivel, so the live bait can only swim in circles, can help because dory aren’t fast moving fish at all.
Broken Bay has been pretty good for bream around most of the points and rocky headlands. West Head, Pearl Beach, Barrenjoey Head, Flint and Steel and Middle Grounds have all produced good numbers of fish.
At Flint and Steel you could also encounter the odd trevally. Just remember to berley this area with a weighted berley bucket for the best results.
A lot of Port Jackson sharks are caught at Flint and Steel at this time of year and, fingers crossed, we should start to see hairtail caught.
For those wanting to wet a line from the shore there seem to be good numbers of blackfish at most of the wharves along Pittwater.
Local green weed is again a bit hard to find. If you are going to buy some from your local tackle shop, make sure you get enough to make a berley of a good handful of chopped weed to a bucketful of moist sand, and fish the high tides closer to sunrise or sunset.Reads: 1306