Clearer water is coming
  |  First Published: June 2012

Fishing along Pittwater and on Broken Bay has continued to be very patchy, thanks to the amount of freshwater flowing out of the Hawkesbury system.

The volume of water pushing down the Hawkesbury River and flowing into Pittwater and Broken Bay is quite unbelievable. Our waters will clear again over coming weeks and if you aren’t there you may well miss out on a short but decent bite.

As the water clears the fish will again be able to see their prey, making for easier fishing.

In the dirtier water at the moment it can be better to use smellier baits when targeting fish such as bream and, flathead. The only problem using this tactic around the Hawkesbury is the number of catfish that you will catch.

To avoid the catfish there are a few things you can try.

The first is to use live bait or lures. Dead baits will bring catfish from everywhere, especially if you are over a muddy bottom.

The second trick is to fish close to the shore and in some places along the Hawkesbury such as The Vines, you are normally only fishing a couple of boat lengths from the shoreline. Catties normally don’t like the rocky ground or rough reef.

The third way is to avoid the Hawkesbury altogether and fish the Broken Bay area. The reefs around the bay such as Juno Point, Flint and Steel, Lion Island Reef, Barrenjoey Headland and Box Head all fish best on the last of the incoming tide.

All of these reefs have the potential to hold big bream, flathead and jewfish.

The other surprise that may show up again this year are the hairtail. There have already been sporadic reports of these mean-looking fish showing up at Box Head and Flint and Steel.


If you fish the washy areas you should be able to track down bream, tailor and salmon. To catch some of the big bream it is better to anchor at a safe distance and berley back to the washes.

The pick of the areas around Broken Bay will be Broken Bay Head and the wash behind Lion Island.

Floating your baits down along the berley trail will produce some nice bream, especially if you use fluorocarbon leaders and the lightest tackle that you dare.

The angler chasing kingfish has to be prepared to be a hero one day and a zero the next. The fish that are in Pittwater are only sporadically feeding because of the colder water caused by the rain.

It is better to target these fish after some warmer water has pushed into Pittwater on the incoming tide. Try The Motor and the moorings along the eastern side of Pittwater from Stokes Point through to Clareville.

The fish are deep so slapping them in the face with a natural-looking bait is imperative. Downrigging in these conditions can be easier than many other methods because you can adjust the depth of your bait in the water column.

Live cuttlefish are the best live bait to use but on the odd day we have picked up kingfish on live yellowtail; you just have to cover your bases.

The drop-off near Currawong Beach seems to be the place to go if you want to target a flathead or two. Soft plastics and fresh pilchards are working well so all you have to do is choose what type of fishing that you prefer, lazy fishing or active fishing.

Either way, it’s a pleasant way to spend a few hours.

Catching squid in Pittwater has been a bit of a struggle over the past couple of charters, again mainly due to the freshwater in the system. There are still a few about the weedy drop-offs and the bigger squid are starting to show as well.

Brighter-coloured jigs are outshining the natural colours, a complete turnaround from last month.

Best squidding has been at Towlers Bay, The Basin, West Head and on the ocean side of Barrenjoey Headland.


The kingfish along the coast have been hit-and-miss. On the good days there is plenty of clean warm water along the coast but on the bad days the water is a murky green.

On the good days, areas such as the Narrabeen Wrecks, Mona Vale Wreck and Long Reef are the places to head for kingfish, bonito, the odd patch of snapper, morwong and, unfortunately, leatherjackets.

Reefs such as Trawleys, Reggies and Boultons have all had their day in recent weeks so you have to cover ground to find fish. If you are lucky enough to find a good patch, stick with them and don’t leave until the bite shuts down.

Other fish to target in the coming month or so will be john dory, blackfish, salmon and tailor. All of these should show up this next month in Broken Bay and hopefully will move into Pittwater.

But you will never find them if you don’t get out there to enjoy our wonderful part of the coast.

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