Cuttlefish hold the key
  |  First Published: May 2012

I’ve had a lot of cancelled charters due to weather and sea conditions again this month but when we have been lucky enough to get out, we have found some fish.

Along Pittwater the water has cleared a little, making fishing a bit easier. Over the shallows and weed beds the squid are starting to show up again so bait collecting is a pleasant time instead of a chore.

Although squid is wonderful bait, now is the time to use small live cuttlefish, which are the gun bait for the next month or so when targeting kingfish on Pittwater. Rigging these aggressive little ink sacs is a bit tricky but if you use a two-hook rig they can be rigged to stay alive.

Target the Pittwater cuttlefish in the rocky zones along the shore, with Towlers Bay one of the better areas to start trying.

We use the same jigs as we do for squid and start targeting them with size 2g jigs.

Jigs with longer, thin spikes will stay connected better than those with shorter spikes.

I am more confident using natural colours but most colours seem to work, it’s more about seeing the cuttlefish and then tricking them into biting.

They are different to catch from squid. Cuttlefish don’t like moving away from their area and don’t like coming off the bottom too far. About 60cm above the bottom is the depth to target – use your polarised glasses to watch for them around your lure.

They can be harder to hook than squid because of their relatively short tentacles so a lift, rather than a strike, is needed.

You should collect only one or two cuttlefish to use because squid will fish quite well once the kingfish school can be fired up with cuttlefish.

To start a charter we catch two cuttlefish and four squid and on most occasions we will not run out of bait and if we do, we can always go back and gather some more. On most occasions a squid can be cut into strips and one squid can catch 4-6 kingfish when the school is fired up.


The areas to target kingfish lately seem to be towards the mouth of Pittwater and there seem to be a few kings hanging around the deeper water at West Head.

When collecting livies in this area, put your first one out because there may be a decent kingfish waiting to eat it.

Other areas to target kings along Pittwater seem to vary from day to day but the better areas to try have been around Careel Bay, Mackerel Beach and from Stokes Point through to Clareville.

Most of the fish aren’t massive but there are a few big bruisers that have been encountered and lost.

The flathead are still about and there are still some big fish among them. Customers have been having a ball with soft plastics drifting along the drop-off from Mackerel Beach to Palm Beach. The run out tide has been more productive.

For those more inclined to sit back and relax, drifting the same area with a paternoster rig and bait is also producing flathead.

The surprise for many anglers when anchoring in this area has been the odd stonker sand whiting around 40cm, which have been very partial to live nippers or bloodworms. Fish with as little weight as possible and cast along a berley trail.

The major problem with this style of fishing has been the number of undersized snapper caught on using nippers and worms. It does become a little expensive if you are buying your bait.


After all the rain that we have endured over the past few months, the fishing for bottom feeders has picked up a fair bit.

Areas around Broken Bay such as the Middle Ground, Flint and Steel, Walkers Point, Juno Point and the reef near Lion Island have started to fire up again.

The trick has been to fish the areas on the last of the rising tide and the first of the run-out tide.

Species to target around these areas are bream, flathead, whiting and the odd jewfish. The usual baits will see you in with the best chance to catch a feed but mullet will be the best bait when targeting a jewfish.

When we have been able to venture outside and along the coast it has been a bit of a miss or hit affair on most patches of reef.

For instance, Boultons Reef one day will have nannygai, morwong and small snapper but the very next day at the same stage of the tide the whole reef will be devoid of life except for sergeant bakers and rock cod.

My suggestion is to go armed with a variety of fresh bait and 5-6 spots locked into your GPS to try for the day.

Most of our luck has been coming from the 50-60m marks so these depths are somewhere to start.

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