With anticipation levels high for the season ahead, this month really is the build-up period to set the benchmark for the rest of the season.
High on anglers’ lists in the Hawkesbury would have to be the surface-smashing antics of the Aussie bass.
These fish will be pushing up into the sweetwater, looking to ambush baitfish and unlucky insects that fall to the surface.
There’s nothing better than packing a small tub with a selection of surface plugs and shallow divers and footing it down to your local haunt for an after-work flick.
This will be made all the more easier with the start of daylight saving on Sunday, October 2.
If bass just don’t do it for you then maybe kingfish, bonito, tailor or salmon might.
They have all been in good numbers off the headlands and this month will start to filter into the harbours and bays to harass the baitfish and test anglers’ skill.
The bait can be quite small early in the season so I suggest some 2” soft plastic minnows and a few of the smallest metal slugs you can find, just in case they turn their noses up at more conventional bigger selections.
Major points and reefs will hold their fair share of these species but keep an eye peeled for wheeling gulls and terns – they will be your best pointer to active schools on the surface.
If the fish on the surface aren’t being receptive to what you are presenting, try sinking your offering beneath the melee for a shot at a trevally, bream and, occasionally, a good jewie.
‘Upstream from all of this commotion we should see bream pushing into the tributaries of the system, seeking out favourable forage areas.
The oyster leases in Berowra and Mooney creeks are hot property at present and anglers are getting smoked by some of the fish hanging in close to the racks.
Other places to encounter bream this month include the abundant flats in Berowra and Pittwater, high under moored boat hulls and along the rock walls and reefs up to and beyond Wisemans Ferry.
There are several new lures out this season so drop into your local tackle store and check them out. If all of these options confuse you, you can’t go past a 2” soft grub on a 1g to 2g jig head.
The flathead are making their presence felt and there are some great fish among the smaller school ones so suitable for the table.
They have distributed themselves throughout the river and its tributaries and are a reasonable proposition from Cliftonville downstream.
Well-known spots like Dads Corner and the Windsock will have many anglers but the thoughtful types will search out some ground of their own to fill their bags away from the crowds.
Fresh Hawkesbury prawns will produce mixed bags of bream, flathead and school jewfish in the aforementioned spots. Employ a running sinker rig with a No 1 baitkeeper or wide gape hook and just enough lead to hold bottom.
A handful of berley every couple of minutes has been the trick to get the fish around the boat and feeding aggressively.
With the influx of school prawns, juvenile tailor and herring, things are shaping up well on the jewie front.
Fish will be encountered up to Lower Portland this month on most drop-offs and reefs.
Due to the increase in boat traffic and commercial net dragging at this time, staying mobile and searching out new ground can help to locate these elusive fish in the often turbid water of the upper brackish reaches.
Soft plastics and blades offer an advantage over bait in that you don’t need to source them first thing in the morning – if you’re organised!
You can present fish with just about any type of fake bait these days, be it a simulated prawn, worm, or baitfish. Add a little bit of angler input and you have deadly ‘bait’ that will fool all but the most fastidious jewfish.Reads: 1772