River returns to normal
  |  First Published: February 2013

Now that the river has returned to some sort of normality after a busy holiday period, we can start to enjoy it for its serenity and great fishing.

For those using lures and bait flathead have been abundant throughout the river and its tributaries this season. They are best located by using your sounder to find a sharp drop-off, then positioning the boat to cast lures or drop baits back over the edge.

Prawns are doing the damage for the bait fishos while pumpkinseed, motor oil, watermelon and gold minnows and grubs have been the standouts for soft plastic fishos.

Bream have been a bit slow and have been spread right up the tributaries. Anglers can expect to find these guys at the very top range of the salt water in the smaller creeks and rivers that flow into the Hawkesbury.

Using Google Maps and employing craft like canoes or kayaks can get you onto some real sweetwater where you can expect to encounter bream, flathead and estuary perch in the same water.

The bonus is that it’s generally seldom fished and more shaded by the overhead tree canopy so it’s far more enjoyable on warmer days.

Small surface lures, soft plastics and shallow-running crankbaits are the lures of choice here. Slowly drifting along casting into all the likely shady pockets and snags, often in only a metre or two of water, is as good as it gets in my books.

The bass have been a bit slow around the terraces with a lot of smaller fish beating the bigger ones to the lures. There are still good fish, especially at night using surface lures.

There are quite a number of locations that are accessible by land but the best method is to drift in a boat or canoe, casting over the weed beds and adjacent open water.


Down in the brackish reaches around Wisemans Ferry, jewfish, flathead and the odd bream have featured in captures.

The jewies are only small but they are in good numbers and the bigger schoolies shouldn’t be too far off coming back upstream.

Berowra has been fishing well and on a couple of recent charters we got a stack of flathead and the odd bream using small wriggler soft plastics and 3.5g blades around artificial structure and drop-offs.

The flats will be firing now so it’s time to get those small poppers and stickbaits out.

Long casts and a lot of stealth are required when pursuing whiting and bream around the shallows. I often find it better to get out and walk because it is less likely to spook the fish and the catch rates generally increase.

I got a real surprise while doing this on a flat in the Cowan system recently. I lucked out on the whiting but my Stiffy Popper got nailed by a 73cm flathead. I had heard of this but have never experienced the explosion and I must say it is spectacular.


Speaking of surface-feeding antics, the pelagics have kicked into gear with small frigates and mack tuna darting about the harbour and bays and the kingfish are off the headlands and patrolling Pittwater and Cowan.

Flatlining and downrigging have been successful for the kings over the past month and should continue so as long as the warm water hangs in close.

It pays to have a 2kg-4kg outfit rigged and ready with a 7g-10g metal slug or soft plastic stickbait for those mini-tuna that can pop up for 10 seconds and disappear in an instant. These fish make great live bait for XOS predators or fantastic fillet bait for a big jewie, shark or kingfish.

Bonito and tailor have been up to their usual bait stealing while downrigging and trolling for the kings. Most are a welcome surprise for my clients.

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