River a hive of activity
  |  First Published: November 2012

This month will be a hive of activity on the Hawkesbury with the Hawkesbury Classic, Canoe Classic and multiple ski and boat races. Mixed in with the usual recreational boaties and fishos and the river suddenly seems a like it’s Pitt Street!

Smart anglers should focus at the prime times of dawn, dusk and into night to secure the Hawkesbury’s prized capture, the mighty jewfish. You can catch these throughout the day but those prime low-light periods are when that fish of a lifetime will most likely be searching out his next meal.

Live baits are readily available this month in the form of yellowtail, herring, mullet, squid, tailor and prawns. Securing a variety or just a single type of bait can make a big difference when it comes to jewies.

Throwing soft plastics and vibes around the tide changes on prominent structure like bridges, reefs and drop-offs will account for some nice fish, along with the usual run of soapies and the ever-present flathead.

Flathead are featuring in bags throughout most of the Hawkesbury and its tributaries. This is their spawning time so please be mindful and release any big flathead over 65cm.

Prawns are the prime selection for those wanting to relax and soak a bait, but the lure flickers are the ones getting the better quality fish.

Fish areas like Upper Half Moon, Dads Corner, the mouths of Webbs Creek and the McDonald River and the windsock at Laughtondale. Soft plastic and blades will score the larger fish that are often tentative to take a dead bait.

Drifting is the preferred method but you can also do well at anchor when the tide is starting to slacken off.

Don’t be surprised to catch the odd flathead all the way to Windsor this month because they spread out early in September following months without decent rain.

The prawns came up-river in late August and early September and although they were small, they turned on some great fishing on the tidal water bass, estuary perch, flathead and the odd bream.

Soft plastics to 3” that resemble these tasty morsels are the best starting point. I really favour curl-tail grubs because they have action on the lift and the drop, which requires less angler input and produces great results time and again.

The flats will start to fire in Pittwater, Cowan and Berowra. The bream, flathead and whiting should be willing to climb on surface or sub-surface presentations.

I prefer slightly larger surface stickbaits, which cast further and seem to attract a better class of fish and I’ll take quality over quantity any day.

Small crank baits, blades and soft plastics all have their day in the sub-surface realm; it’s just a matter of seeing what the fish want at the time.

If you like casting around structure for bream, the oyster leases in Berowra, Marramarra and Mooney Mooney creeks will be home to a few blue-nosed bruisers.

You can get away with fishing heavier leaders in the dirty water found around the leases. Start with 10lb and go heavier if you’re losing more than you’re winning.

Just be mindful that the thicker the leader the more it will affect your lures action and the fewer bites you will get. It’s a bit of a trade-off sometimes.


The kingfish have moved inshore in recent weeks. Live yakkas and squid are their preferred baits.

Go loaded for bear because these hoodlums are getting bigger by the year. Downrigging and flatlining will be the best methods of presenting baits to active fish.

If they are a little slow to take trolled baits, a slow drift with live and strip baits may be the ticket to get them to bite. Just make sure your rod holders are up to the task because these guys hit hard and fast.

The bass are going gangbusters in the freshwater reaches above Windsor, hitting most offerings although the jig spinner/soft plastic combo is a standout.

Early mornings and late afternoons are producing some nice fish on surface lures.

Anglers are noting a significant reduction in weed beds this season so it seems the fresh at the beginning of the year has done these reaches a world of good.

The sweetwater creeks will be holding some nice fish, too. There’s nothing better than grabbing a handful of lures, a spin outfit and a backpack with the essentials and hitting your favourite creek to get away from the Summer activity on the main river.

There’s something for everyone this month so get out there and enjoy the diverse fisheries this mighty river system offers.

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