Big bream top the list
  |  First Published: May 2012

Let’s hope the rain stays away this month to allow anglers a shot at the usually fantastic Autumn fishing on the Hawkesbury.

Big bream will be high on anglers’ wish lists this month as they gather in the lower reaches for their northern migration to spawn and dodge nets.

My clients have caught some beauties in recent weeks after the flooding subsided and the tides started to push back upstream. Many were taken on live herring and yakkas intended for jewfish and gave good accounts of themselves on heavy gear.

If the water continues to clear this month, lure fishos will benefit because these fish tend to sit a bit deeper as the water temps drop. The better visibility allows these deep, schooling fish to track down your offerings.

Try colours like pumpkinseed, salt and pepper and watermelon in grub and minnow patterns.

Bait anglers will do well fishing areas like Bar Point, Pumpkin Point and The Vines, as well as the washes around Barrenjoey, West Head and Lion Island. Berley often and present bait with minimal lead to fool those big blue-noses.

If the water remains dirty, smelly baits of chook gut and flavoured chicken breast are favoured. If it clears then prawns, nippers and squid will be better options.

The jewfish have really enjoyed the influx of fresh through the system, gorging themselves on the huge schools of prawns that were pushed down stream.

If conditions clear up they should head up around Wisemans Ferry; if it remains wet they will hold around Brooklyn and take advantage of the abundant bait.

Live prawns, herring, poddy mullet, yakkas, and strips of squid are prime bait for fooling Hawkesbury jew.

Use hooks appropriate to the size of your bait and with minimal lead to get a natural presentation and results should soon follow.

The mouth of Mangrove Creek, Marlow, Pumpkin Point, Bar Point and the road and rail bridges are all productive when the river has a lot of fresh. Time your outing around an incoming tide for best results.


The bass and estuary perch have had a rough trot in the past few months, dealing with moderate flooding on more than one occasion and fluctuating temperatures.

However, they will be starting to school up for their annual migration.

The huge amount of fresh means they will more than likely stage up around Wisemans Ferry instead of Lower Portland this season. This can make for some exciting fishing when they start to school on reefs where jewies can also be encountered.

Soft plastics are still tops when it comes to targeting bass and perch in the tidal water. Select a jig head that will get your chosen softy down in the tidal flow and work each rock wall thoroughly until a school is located.

It’s not just rock walls that hold EPs and bass, they school up under moored boats and pontoons, behind marker poles and on drop-offs in open water.

Lures shouldn’t be any bigger than 3” and natural colours like pumpkinseed and motor oil seem to be the most effective in the dirty water.

The next five to 10 years will benefit greatly from this years’ spawn event. The bass and EPs can sense when conditions are good for recruitment and behave accordingly.

Research into the breeding activities of EPs clearly shows a strong recruitment in wet years, especially those with large floods and they should take this as their opportunity.


The pelagics have been hit and miss this season and this month we should see the last wave of good inshore kings.

Downrigging and flatlining around Barrenjoey Headland, Whale headland and Lion Island has produced in recent weeks. It’s all a matter of finding that cleaner water with slightly higher water temps but conditions keep changing day to day.

Live yakkas have been all that’s required to find the kings, bonito and tailor. Squid have been a little shy with all the fresh but can still be found around the exposed headlands licked by clean ocean water.

On a final note, I have recently upgraded my website, sydneysportfishing.com.au, incorporating my new logo and more competitive rates. Check it out and don’t forget to find us on Facebook.

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