All change at Pittwater
  |  First Published: July 2012

Over the next month or two we normally see a changing of the guard. With the colder water we expecting to see salmon, tailor, trevally and big bruising kingfish show up.

There seem to be a few schools of salmon already showing up and the better tailor are already scouting the washes around Broken Bay and eager to feed.

The salmon schools are best found by using the birds. Recently there seem to be more birds than salmon but over coming weeks more schools should cruise through and bring with them bigger predators as well.

When fishing around the schools of salmon, if you have a live-bait outfit, hook up a salmon under a balloon but make sure the rod is in a very solid rod holder.

With this livie it is possible to hook up a big kingfish or a shark. I try to steer clear of the grey-suit brigade but you can only catch what bites the bait.

Most of the usual lures are working on the salmon and small yellowtail are the top selection for the live-baiters.

Those tailor haunting the washes can be targeted using a variety of methods.

By far the quickest and easiest way to catch a tailor seems to be to cast a 20g metal lure into the washy areas and retrieve briskly.

If there is no action after 10 or 20 casts, move on to the next wash and troll a couple of flashy minnow lures as you go.

The other fish to hunt along these areas at the moment are bream.

Anchor at a safe distance from the wash and set up a berley trail. Fish cut bait on unweighted light line and use fluorocarbon leaders or line to fool these sharp-sighted fish.

The better areas at the moment have been on the ocean side of Barrenjoey Head, Pearl Beach, West Head, Walkers Point, Flint and Steel and the Middle Grounds.


The big news at the moment are the hairtail and the Cowan Creek system already has quite a few fish ready for the taking.

For those like me who hate the cold nights, these fish can be targeted before the sun goes down.

On most occasions hairtail can be caught during the day but berley is essential. A live yellowtail is always worth trying on one or two rods while you’re floating pilchard fillets towards the depths.

A small section of wire is recommended against those long hairtail fangs but it doesn’t have to be too heavy.

Remember to vary your depths and if you have a barra spoon lying around the fishing cupboard from your last trip to the Top End, take it with you because they can work a treat on hairtail.

Squid are being caught on the drift on the ocean side of Pittwater, around the Palm Beach weed beds, Portuguese Beach and Mackerel Beach.

Smaller jigs in natural colours are working well on the river while bright fluoro colours are working on the ocean side of Barrenjoey Head.


Kingfish along Pittwater are again a little tricky to find. The fish are down deep and hanging along the western side of Pittwater near the reefs.

The bait to tempt them once more seems to be a small live cuttlefish and it truly is astounding the difference the right bait makes.

Recently I was fishing with a mate and we managed four squid in pretty quick time but struggled for two hours to find a couple of willing cuttlefish.

Once loaded with live bait, we headed over towards Longnose Point and dropped over two small squid on the downrigger. We covered the area for 90 minutes without a touch from the fish that were constantly marking on the sounder.

Before we moved I decided to change one of the squid for a cuttlefish for a few more passes. The first pass over the kingfish resulted in a hook-up to a freight train but unfortunately all we had was a great story to tell about the one that got away.

On the next pass with the other cuttlefish we had a hook-up and this time a fish just shy of 94cm was captured and prematurely released by a somewhat embarrassed mate.

We towed live squid in the same area over the next hour for zero, even though the kings were still clearly marking on the sounder.

Other areas to try are Soldiers Point through to Mackerel Beach, West Head, Barrenjoey Head, The Motor and Towlers Bay.


The reef fishing out along the coast has quite a lot of vacant water but when the right reef is found, there are quite a few fish to be caught.

Recent outings have produced tailor, trag, morwong, trevally and pan-sized snapper at Boultons, Reggies and Newport reefs.

Those targeting bigger snapper have picked up a few at Long Reef and at Mona Vale.

Flathead are on the 50m grounds but seem to be a bit spread out.

The shore fishing from Pittwater will normally produce blackfish for those willing to hunt them out and use local green weed. Most public wharves will turn up some action from blackfish over coming months but be prepared to fish early.

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