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Hot water, hot fun
  |  First Published: March 2013



Water up to almost 25° has hit our part of the coast and the fishing at times has been hectic.

As you can imagine, depending on the targeted species, the fish liven up or go quiet and seem to disappear.

Along the coast smaller kingfish have certainly been active but most fish have been caught from deeper water. Areas such as the Narrabeen Wrecks, Queenscliff, the Valiant, East Reef and the deeper reefs in 40m off Newport seem to have populations of smaller kingfish down deep in the cooler water.

The larger fish will be in the same areas but the numbers of sharks that show up is putting them off the bite.

Downrigging these areas with slimy mackerel or yellowtail is providing the odd decent keeper king.

We have been dropping jigs to the bottom once fish have been hooked and these extra couple of fighting fish can make the difference between a hot bite and a slow bite.

It has been imperative to get two or three fish hooked up to stir up the rest of the school and then everyone gets to have fun.

The big news for coastal fishers has been the baby black marlin showing up very close to the headlands.

One day recently we were lucky enough to have a small black tease us as we were downrigging slimies 200m off Whale Beach Headland. The 50kg-60kg black was happy to circle our boat and, no matter what was offered, would look only at our surface-trolled slimy.

Stories of kingfish hit by beakies are starting to come in as well so if you are going to venture offshore, even if it’s only for reef fish, take a few livies and balloons to keep your bait near the surface.

PITTWATER PRIMED

Along Pittwater the water has certainly warmed. The surface activity has been brilliant one day but absent the next.

Schools of bonito, salmon, kingfish and tailor have been in the usual bays along the western side of Pittwater if you get out early in the morning.

The fish have been very aggressive when surface feeding, smashing just about anything that hits the water. But the feeding doesn’t last long so a stealthy approach is best.

Areas to downrig in Pittwater are West Head, Soldiers Point, Mackerel Beach, Stokes Point, around Scotland Island and The Basin.

These areas should put you in with a chance of a kingfish but patience may be required.

Look on your sounder for balled-up baitfish and arches around them, mostly well off the bottom. If you can find this telltale of feeding fish on your sounder, deploy the downrigger ball to the same depth and hang on.

Strangely, in recent weeks we have found slimy mackerel and yellowtail to be the downfall of the odd kingfish in Pittwater. It is strange when the kings are refusing to eat small cuttlefish (‘kingfish Tim Tams’) and opt for surface-trolled slimies.

So gather a variety of baits to give yourself the best chance.

Squid fishing in Pittwater has picked up and they are a lot easier to catch now. Try The Basin, Careel Bay, Sand Point, Towlers Bay and the Palm Beach weed beds.

Most squid are small but are perfect for downrigging. The bigger ones seem to be hanging around the Palm Beach Wharf just on sunrise and in the shadows of the wharf light after dark.

FLATHEAD FLAT

The flathead fishing along Pittwater and Broken Bay has been a bit disappointing this year but the good news is that there are finally a few larger fish starting to show up along the river.

If you target the drop-offs at Palm Beach, Currawong Beach, Portuguese Beach and The Hill you should bag a few keepers. Dragging pilchards along the bottom is a great way to keep the family amused.

Soft plastics cast at The Basin and Careel Bay will produce some monsters but please, take a photo and send them back to make more fish for us all to catch.

SHARK ALERT

A friendly warning to those that like to swim along Pittwater: Check the area where you are going to swim doesn’t have schools of baitfish around before diving in. We have been catching quite a few sharks around the kingfish and these bronze whalers are very inquisitive.

They have been encountered in Lovett Bay, Towlers Bay and around Scotland Island, mainly at the northern end.

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