Top of the tide for action
  |  First Published: June 2012

The Hawkesbury is just getting over the fresh from late April and the water conditions is at last clearing up.

This may seem a little late for some but there will be some good fish about to make a trip worthwhile.

Try to time your trip with the top of an incoming tide because this is when cleaner and slightly warmer water will be encountered.

Good-sized jewfish seem to linger in the estuary for most of Winter and I find soft plastics most effective for them. They allow you to cover plenty of water and negate the need to source live bait before a session.

I heard reports of a few 10kg jew being caught around Webbs Creek and Laughtondale just before the recent fresh but they would surely have found more comfortable conditions back towards Brooklyn by now.

Try the road and rail bridges, Bar Point, Dangar Channel, Gunya, Wobby Shores, Eleanor Bluff, Flint and Steel and Juno Point.

The run of big bream has continued with several clients encountering them on light tackle and oversized lures. These fish will thin out a little this month as they run the gauntlet of nets up the coast.

The most consistent action will come to those fishos patient enough to get their baits or lures deep in the water column. The magic mark seems to be 8-10m with the smaller tides making it a little easier for the lure anglers to get small offerings down to where the fish are holding.

Blades are great tools for this but it can get costly around the rock walls.


Quite a few anglers will be gearing up to tackle the hairtail this season. The fact that they hung around all Summer is testament to their unprectability.

Anglers wanting to have a shot at these bizarre fish should take a couple of 2kg pilchard blocks, some ganged hooks, a handful of glow sticks and a soft-tapered rod.

Cowan Creek seems to bring the hairtail back each season so this is the best place to start looking. Jerusalem Bay, Waratah Bay, Smiths Creek and Coal and Candle Creek seem to be the best producers.

The bass and estuary perch have made their way to the brackish regions to spawn and can be encountered as far downstream as Juno Point at times. If you do encounter either of these species they must be returned to the water immediately due to the closed season which starts on June 1 and runs until August 31.

The flathead came on strong through April and travelled as far back upstream as Lower Portland although the bulk of the fish were concentrated around Wisemans Ferry, where the trawlers were making the most of the sporadic school prawns.

Flatties will be found in better numbers this month towards the mouth of the system around Patonga and Middle Ground.

Drifting whitebait, mullet fillets and prawns or casting 3”-5” soft plastics are the most productive ways of finding a patch of keepers. Once you’ve found the fish, circle back and repeat the drift.


Salmon should make a show this month around the headlands and lower reaches. If they are not on the surface, try trolling a spread of hardbodies at different depths with a soft stickbait on the surface in the shotgun position.

If they are on the surface, try to show some etiquette when other boats are present; don’t just troll straight through the middle of the school.

Aim at doing laps of the school to pick off fish on the outskirts or pull up and cast small metal slugs and soft plastics at the leading edge.

This leading edge will normally be upwind or up-current, depending on the conditions. It will be highlighted by the most frothy, turbulent water and is where the most active fish are to be found.

Escapee trout will add another dimension to this Winter’s fishing. Anglers have been having great success chasing these beautifully conditioned fish with all manner of natural and artificial presentations.

The most effective lure seems to be a suspending minnow around 2”-3” in trout or baitfish patterns. Small Tassie Devils and medium Celtas are also taking fish at times.

I found most fish to be concentrated towards the dam wall but this will change as the water cools. I heard of one lucky angler who caught a nice brown trout from North Richmond on a worm recently, but no more reports have followed.

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