Feasting on squid
  |  First Published: December 2011

The water quality has been really good throughout most of the Hawkesbury system, which has led to the first time I have ever seen squid at the F3 Bridge.

I even saw them at the bottom of the tide, when the water is generally more silt-laden, rather than when the clean ocean water reaches the bridges at the peak of the tide.

The fish were active, too, falling to live herring baits. Among the haul was a 94cm flathead and three school jew between 70cm and 80cm.

When gutting one of the jewies, it was no surprise to find squid in its stomach.

The school jewies are quite thick throughout the river but the better class of fish will be in the lower reaches this month as they feel the urges for spawning.

Fishing the bigger tides around the new and full moon with big baits of squid, mullet, pike, tailor and yellowtail will put you in contention.

Upstream, the school and soapy jew are content with snacking on prawns, herring and poddy mullet.

They have been in good numbers at Laughtondale, Dads Corner and the mouths of Webbs creek and the McDonald River.

Using lures in these same areas is also effective on the jew and a great by-catch of flathead, bream and the odd whiting.

Bream numbers have been quite good around Wisemans Ferry. Flicking live prawns or lures along the rock walls will result in some quality fish.

When using lures for bream I find 2” and 3” sizes work best for drawing a strike on these sometimes-wary opponents.

If fishing deep, dirty water on the rock walls isn’t to your liking, the flats in Berowra and Cowan creeks and in Pittwater are fishing well with surface and sub- surface presentations.

Long casts and light leaders are necessary when fishing such shallow, clear water.


The kingfish have finally taken up residence off the headlands and in the estuaries, providing plenty of fun for those not accustomed to catching such powerful fish.

Live baits and lures are accounting for quality kings with live bait taking the majority of fish when trolling on a flat line or a downrigger.

While you’re waiting for that kingie to strike, bonito, tailor and the odd salmon are helping to pass the time.

These species can be found trolling shallow- and medium-running hardbodies around Barrenjoey, Box Head and Lion Island.

In the upper tidal reaches from lower Portland to Windsor, there are good flathead, bass and estuary perch, with the occasional bream.

These fish are feeding on the schools of prawns that make it past the trawler limit at Lower Portland Ferry.

Locating the fish are on any given day can be a chore due to vast amount of water in this system and the distances required. This is all worthwhile when you find a patch of fish on a rock wall or drop-off and have them all to yourself.

I have a varied lure approach in this section, which consists of bibless crankbaits, shallow, medium and deep crankbaits, soft plastics and flies. The crankbaits and plastics are most successful for locating active fish and once they are found, you can add a fly into the mix for a bit of variety.

This section of river is home to a large volume of boat traffic over the Summer months so it’s advisable to fish mid-week. If you have only weekends available, get on the water at first light for your best chances.

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