For many of us who fish inside Botany Bay the 2011/12 kingfish season was the worst on my records since the kingfish traps and everyone is hoping this year will be much better.
In Port Hacking and offshore the kingfish have been great. Maybe because of the Port Botany extensions or because cold water is staying longer than normal, is has been a fairly lousy year for Bay kingfish.
I don’t have a favourite way of targeting kings. I troll, cast poppers and soft plastics, jig and it’s hard to go past live-baiting.
I sometimes anchor off Molineaux Point in the Bay. In close to the wall I use only a reef pick with no chain attached and if I’m out on the sand I use a sand anchor on a long chain.
Nothing is worse than getting your sand anchor caught in among the rocks, unless it’s maybe having your sand anchor drag because you don’t have a long enough chain.
Once I position the boat I lay out a berley trail and feed out lightly weighted soft plastics in a similar way that I would if I were fishing bait in a berley trail.
The kingfish come up the trail, pick up your offering and take off so be ready to engage the drag so you stop the fish from getting to the rocks.
I use a 1/8oz jig head on a 5/0 or 7/0 heavy hook with a 5” PowerBait Jerkshad, 4” Berkley Power Minnow, 9” Slug-Go or a Squidgy Flick Bait.
You could try drifting directly over where the bottom of the breakwall meets the sand. An electric motor helps or you could just idle along in and out of gear on the main engine, just jigging where the wall meets the sand.
Use a 1/4oz or 3/8oz jig head here and don’t get in the way of the anchored boats and their ropes or drift into their berley trails.
We should see a big increase in the numbers of flathead in Botany Bay, Port Hacking and the Georges and Woronora rivers. I troll, cast poppers and soft plastics, jig for them and live-bait.
Lure fishing is one of the most enjoyable and satisfying methods of catching flathead. There is nothing like trolling a bibbed minnow along a drop-off or seagrass bed and waiting for a strike from a dusky that has just exploded out of the sand to engulf the lure.
I have used many different sizes and shapes of hard lures and have found you need to have a variety of colours in your tackle box.
One of my local haunts is Port Hacking and most of the time this small waterway is so clear that you can see the ripples in the sand 6m below. What you won’t see is the flathead lying in ambush.
When the water is fairly clear and shallow (1m-3m) I use darker lures with a tight shimmy but if the water has been discoloured by rain I use a lure with a wide sway and a built-in rattle.
In deeper water (3m-5m) I use a lure with a lot of action that can be trolled at 1-3 knots and hits the bottom or rides 5cm above it. Generally I use brighter lures on clear water days and darker lures when the water is dirty.
The NSW DPI has detected a species of algae which produces paralytic shellfish poisoning toxins above safe levels for human consumption in shellfish from Botany Bay.
The NSW Food Authority has warned people against eating oysters, mussels, cockles, clams or the gut of rock lobster or abalone taken from the Bay or the Georges River. It's also warning people against eating periwinkles, sea urchins or crabs.
Cooking won't destroy the toxins, it said. Anyone who has eaten these creatures and experiences tingling in the mouth, pins and needles, unsteadiness on the feet, weakness of the arms or legs and nausea should seek medical assistance.