What a wet year and if history is anything to go by, the Easter long weekend will probably be soggy, too.
Despite all the rain the fishing has been surprisingly good.
Fishing creek mouths after a deluge can turn on the action, as a couple of recent charter clients found out. One outing produced more than 60 bass, flathead and EPs on soft plastics and Feral Catt Vibes in just a few hours.
Good Friday falls on April 6 and many anglers will be heading to their nearest waterway to wet a line and try for a feed of fresh fillets.
Getting out early will be the key and according to my diary these should be pretty good mulloway tides. The past three Good Fridays have all yielded jewies around 10kg for me.
Fresh or live bait fished an hour either side of the tide change will put anglers in contention. Focus on the bottom end of the system around Brooklyn, Berowra and Cowan if the rain continues.
If it somehow remains dry, head up past Spencer and towards Wisemans Ferry.
Throwing soft plastics around the tide changes is also effective. Sound out drop-offs, reefs and deep rock walls to help get away from the crowds.
If that sounds like too much work, head straight to the road and rail bridges and thoroughly work each pylon on the tide change. Heavy jig heads, say 1/4oz to 3/4oz, with large curl-tail grubs, paddletails or soft sticks are the most effective.
Flathead have remained consistent and are reliable standbys if the jewfish don’t want to play.
They can be found by drifting off Patonga and the middle ground off Juno Point or near broken reef, drop-offs and on the flats at high tide further up the system.
Fresh prawns, salted pilchards, whitebait and mullet strips are working well. Live poddy mullet, herring and yakka are the standout live baits – pin them on a twin-hook rig to maximise your chances.
If you’re drifting with bait try casting a soft plastic around as well. This will help you to cover more ground thus being more productive.
The key is to make regular contact with the bottom. Colour is not as important as action when chasing flatties. Grubs and paddletails have the most inbuilt action and are the most effective for this style of fishing.
Bream will build in numbers and size as we head towards Winter. Falling water temps will trigger them to feed ravenously on most morsels that come their way.
The rock walls in the lower reaches have been the stage for some great performances and a few curtain-closers, too! Curl-tail grubs of 2” and 3” and prawn imitations are the way to fool a few, just make sure to select the right jig head to get the tail working and a seductive drift.
The oyster leases and shallow flats will still afford some great bream action. Try Berowra, Marramarra, Mooney Mooney and Mullet creeks with shallow crankbaits, surface poppers and lightly weighted soft plastics.
Kingfish, bonito and salmon have been going strong around Barrenjoey and Box Head. Slow trolling yakkas and squid on flatlines or downriggers has been the gun technique for the kings.
Shallow-running minnows around 12cm to 15cm long and Christmas tree skirts trolled at a reasonable pace should help you find the salmon and bonito.
Troll as close to the washes as is safe to find better concentrations of fish. They will be using the washes as cover to ambush their prey so it makes sense to run your spread in this zone.
In the upper tidal reaches estuary perch will start to school for their annual spawn run. They will gather along the abundant rock walls and deep weed edges in the tidal sections from Windsor to Lower Portland.
When you happen onto a school, cast small soft plastic grubs and minnows tight to structure and wait for that telltale tick in the line between twitches. It’s great fun and very rewarding.
Fishing the sweetwater has been great in between minor floods. Discovering new snags is always great fun after these events; it’s like a new fishery.
Surface lures have been getting smashed on touchdown, which doesn’t leave much hope if you cast over a tree branch or snag. I had one such incident recently and had to strip down and get wet to retrieve the 41cm bass that engulfed my lure before I could get it back on the safe side of a fallen branch.
I took the opportunity to get a few nice shots while I was there.Reads: 1744