Hot times on pelagics
  |  First Published: February 2013

December was quite strange, with very little surface action, and the kings took their time turning up in Botany Bay but never mind, all is good now.

At this time of year spinning the surface for tailor, bonito, trevally, salmon and kings on light tackle is a blast. My clients just love spotting fish and casting to them and the first timers can’t believe their eyes.

I have found over the years the run-out tide seems to produce better results because it pushes the bait out into the Bay, but at times any stage of the tide will fire so be ready.

Light spin gear and metal lures are all you need. We have landed kings, salmon and bonito with ease on this gear. When fighting the larger fish, taking your time is the trick.

Try to work the edges of feeding fish and avoid motoring through schools because your boat will send them down. I always try to drift towards the school, allowing the wind or tidal flow to help position my boat.

Surface action should stick around for quite a while so give it a shot – you will love it.

Kingfish are the ones all anglers are super-keen to catch over Summer and I am sure glad when I spot the first king for the season. After weeks of working live bait and squid, they turned up in late December, small fish at first but better ones will move into the Bay as Summer rolls on.

Bream are now well into their spawning trip and good numbers are about in the Bay. Both tides will fish well over the Summer in the day with bigger bream moving about after dark in the shallows.

We catch trevally all year; just anchor around structure and start a good berley trails on a rising or falling tide and if they’re about it won’t take long for them to turn up,

I also catch good numbers of bream and kings this time of year working a berley trail in the Bay.

Remember, the fisho who catches good fish week in and week out puts in the effort and good bait is so important.

Squid and live bait will be necessary if you are keen on catching kings. Bream love nippers, bloodworms, chicken strips, prawns and many other baits so have a few to mix it up on the day.

Trevally love many baits but Prawns and Pilchards are all I use, along with a good chicken pellet berley.


Offshore, drifting the deeper reefs can be very productive, especially for snapper and morwong. I have found tougher baits like salted pilchards, striped tuna, squid or fresh fish strips are ideal for this type of fishing. I use15kg braid, a Shimano 6000 OC Baitrunner and a Beastmaster BM 701 L spin rod.

Most of the areas where I drift are 40m-70m deep. The best days are when the seas are to 1m with light winds from the west; any wind over 12 knots can be tricky offshore.

Don’t wait for the ‘right’ tide or moon or any other theory, if the wind is below 12 knots it will be fine on the Bay or offshore. Run-in tide or run out makes no difference, its up to you to find the fish on the day.

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