It’s a hive of activity
  |  First Published: September 2012

The vast Hawkesbury Valley will be a hive of activity with the warming of the land and rising water temps, bringing all manner of life back to the estuary for the start of another great fishing season.

Don’t expect big temp rises because the weather is still quite cool, although water temps will build as we near October.

You can experience some sensational fishing this month in the lower estuary because there will be a crossover of Winter and Summer fish.

The bass and estuary perch will still be in the lower tidal waters and anglers are encouraged to be responsible now that the closed season has ended. The combined species bag limit is two fish, with only one over 35cm.

Both species have been showing up in catches throughout Winter in the lower reaches from Wisemans Ferry to Broken Bay and are quite vulnerable to exploitation from unscrupulous persons who stumble onto a patch.

The fish have had one of the better spawn runs in a decade or so, which I attribute to the large volume of rain and the dam release that triggered the big breeders in the system to come out and reproduce.

So do the right thing and keep only what you’re allowed and put the rest back so they can do what comes natural and head back up into the sweetwater to give us something to do over Summer when the wake boarders wreak havoc on the tidal water!


The other species still be loitering around will be the salmon and tailor. They are herding up the tiny baitfish referred to as ‘eyes’ and smashing them on the surface around Broken Bay and Pittwater.

Chasing these predators is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon casting small metal slugs at the leading edges schools of ravenous fish.

Don’t forget to cast a bigger offering like a 6” or 9” soft stick bait or one of the bigger Shimano Waxwings. Let the lure sink down below the salmon and tailor to pick up larger fish feeding on the natural berley trail they create.

With all this activity going on, the jewfish have been busy feeding in the fruitful conditions, too.

We have been catching them on most charters but the size can vary dramatically from one day to the next.

In the cooler months live bait is hard to secure and I find it a lot simpler if we start by fishing soft plastics, which basically puts a virtual live bait of any type in your hand from the word go.

Plastics also allow you to change to a different ‘bait’ if you see something that is more prevalent in the area you are fishing.

This month small mullet, herring, squid and yakkas will be easier to secure so they will be good options for live bait throughout the lower reaches.

Employ a two-hook rig on your live bait for those tentative fish and try to always have a strip bait of some description wafting out the back.

It’s quite surprising how often the strip bait gets nailed when you have gone to all the trouble of catching and keeping live bait. The livies may be what brings the jew into your spread but then they take the easiest option – who knows?


School prawns will start to filter back into the river and their presence can be marked by the trawler activity from Wisemans Ferry to Spencer as the month wears on.

You can expect all manner of fish in the general area, gorging themselves on these high-protein snacks. Bream, flathead and soapy jew feature in most bags when fishing these areas. Naturally live, whole fresh frozen and/or peeled prawns are the most productive bait.

Soft plastics that represent the relative size of the prawns also account for some good fish.

Bream are already being caught around Wisemans Ferry and up to Dads Corner.

Fish the rock walls with 2” and 3” soft plastic grubs and minnows and allow your lure to follow the contours down to the depths with the odd hop and flick. Pumpkinseed is a great colour to start with in these areas due to the turbid, stirred-up water you often encounter here.

Flathead will really come on strong as the month progresses and will push up as far as Lower Portland chasing the Nepean herring and school prawns.

Places like The Windsock, Dads Corner and Upper Half Moon will have a few boats scoring their bag limits around the tide changes on lures and baits.

It’s still a little early for mud crabs but the blue swimmers should be hanging around Brooklyn and Berowra for those who like a fresh feed of crustaceans.

Give it another month or two when the water reaches 20° before setting for the muddies.

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