Hoping for warmer water
  |  First Published: December 2011

Along our coast over the past month we have seen colder water in close with no current but out wider, from about 80m, the water has been blue and the current has been strong.

Everyone is hoping the north-easterly winds will push in this warmer water so the fishing will again heat up.

Reef fishing in the colder water has produced some great numbers of fish but quite a few have been undersized. Smaller snapper, trevally and nannygai have been all over Boultons Reef and when a better patch of fish is finally found, the sharks have been eating them on the way up to the boat.

The better snapper seem to be in 40m to 60m and are being caught on Lucanus-style slow jigs or soft plastics. If you haven’t tried this style of fishing before you really need to.

The slow jig outfit can be left in a rod holder with the jig about 1m or so from the bottom. The rocking of the boat works these lures very effectively and having it in the holder frees you up so you can cast soft plastics and actively chase down fish that the boat doesn’t drift over.

There are also quite a few reef flathead about. The tiger flathead and marbled flatties are pretty aggressive feeders so by keeping your soft plastics in contact with the bottom, you will also snare a few reef flathead for your troubles.

On the sand in 50m to 60m there are a lot of blue-spot flathead that have been very easy pickings. Most are 50cm to 55cm and some even larger.

Closer to shore, the kingfish have been sporadic. The fish are still cruising along the coast and should start to settle into an area soon.

Better areas to try range from Newport Reef to Narrabeen Headland but these areas change from one day to the next.

Barrenjoey Headland has seen the odd brilliant day and with gathering baitfish, things should only improve.


On Pittwater the fishing has been a lot slower than I would have liked.

The kingfish are in the river feeding on the smaller baitfish and squid but the water is still a little cold and they seem to be feeding better on a rising tide. This is because the warmer water is being pushed into the river and for a short period the fish seem to go nuts.

Downrigging is still the best way to find the kings and the usual lures and baits can be used to try to tempt them.

With the conditions the way they are, it has been important to hook up a second fish before removing the first one from the water. This way you can usually get the rest of the school excited and the bite will be prolonged.

Squidding along Pittwater is still not easy because of the lack of weed.

Over Winter a lot of the Caulerpa weed disappeared but it is now evident by the empty sand bars the damage this weed has inflicted on Pittwater. Areas around Scotland Island, Clareville Beach and Mackerel Beach are now devoid of any weed at all and with this loss is the loss of habitat for fish and breeding areas for squid.

Fingers crossed that Mother Nature can somehow rectify this problem, but I’m not holding my breath.

Flint and Steel reef is starting to show signs of life. Fishing this rocky area can be a little expensive so some care is needed to be successful.

I fish predominately the northern end of the reef and prefer a run-in tide whenever possible. The last two hours of the rising tide and the first hour of the run out seems to be when the fish are most active.

I always use berley in this area and it is important to use a weighted berley bucket so you can deliver the mix where it is needed – on the bottom.

I always like to use live bait here because on the slack of the tide the jewfish will normally start to move about.

Other fish that we target in this area include bream, flathead, trevally and during the Summer, kingfish, amberjack and samson.

Fresh bait is a must if you want quality fish so make sure that if you are going to fish this area you are well prepared and have enough time to catch yellowtail, slimy mackerel, tailor or squid.

Fresh prawns will have the bream, trevally and leatherjackets biting but the flathead are just as happy with a pilchard.

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