With the colder water arriving, fishing has slowed a little but the species that are comfortable in the cool are moving in.
Salmon, tailor and bonito seem to show up when you least expect them, so make sure you are armed with an outfit pre-rigged with a 15g-25g metal lure. When these fish have been on the surface they have been easy to hook – once you can get close enough.
When a school of surface-feeding fish is found it is always worth dropping a bait or soft plastic to the bottom to see if you can find any following fish that are picking up the scraps.
Sometimes there is nothing but often you will encounter flathead, trevally and, if the gods are smiling on you, a jewfish or big king.
Fishing for kingfish in Pittwater and Broken Bay at the moment is a little tricky. Small live cuttlefish are still the best bait by far but these little critters are hard to find and to catch.
The odd kingfish has eaten a yellowtail but not very often. Squid are still catching fish but with small ones scarce, using strips and half-heads from the larger ones is the way to go along Pittwater.
We have been seeing plenty of kingfish on the sounders but they don’t all want to play. As usual, to catch a Winter kingfish in Pittwater you have to cover ground to find a hungry fish. Anglers who are persistent will have success and there are some 85cm-95cm fish to be caught on their day.
The areas to start are the Motor, Stokes Point, Soldiers Point, the Supermarket and Portuguese Beach. These areas are producing best when the schools of salmon and tailor are working the surface.
Barrenjoey Head will turn up a monster or two, especially now that the big squid are close inshore.
Prime areas for squid in Pittwater are a little scarce this month but the weed beds at Palm Beach are often worthwhile. This large area is best fished on the run-in tide.
Cast towards the sand patches; the squid that are among the weed will ponce on a jig that is in a clear area.
The better colours at the moment seem to be the natural tones, as well as blue or green, in size 2 or 2.5.
This time of year we see a lot of bigger squid and Barrenjoey Headland can be a great place to target these.
If the seas are calm and you are careful, you can drift along the Barrenjoey Headland shoreline casting towards the kelp beds. Please have one eye on the sea at all times in this area because surges can have you in difficulty pretty quickly.
The safer option is to drift along the deeper water on the ocean side of Barrenjoey Head using two jigs at a time on paternoster rigs. You can gather a feed of squid very quickly.
While drifting for squid, put the first one caught back down in case a big kingfish is present and hungry.
There are still a few flathead about in Broken Bay for those that like to drift about soaking a pillie. Water of 12m or less seems to have a few larger ones to 50cm.
The reef fishing offshore has been brilliant one day but tough the next.
Unfortunately there are leatherjackets about destroying a good bite. The odd patch of reef has been devoid of them but many other fish aren’t there, either.
The answer is to hope you are lucky and miss out on running into these Aussie piranhas; on your sounder look for clouds of them along the bottom.
If you aren’t sure what the sounder is showing you, lower down only one line and make sure it’s not our mates.
Areas to try are Boultons Reef, the Ordinance Grounds, Newport Reef and Mona Vale.
Water of 30m or less seems to have fewer jackets and if you start before sunrise with a good berley trail, you could catch some decent snapper. The numbers aren’t huge but fish of up to 4kg have been caught by the early fishos.
Floating down pilchards, cuttlefish, and squid will see turn up one or two if they are about. Soft plastics can also be a great way to catch them, providing the wind isn’t up to make the drift too fast. Areas to try are Avalon, Newport Reef, Narrabeen and Long Reef.
Over the next month or two we should see a few hairtail show up in Cowan Creek. They showed up last year in great numbers, as they did the year before, so keep your fingers crossed.
We will be targeting them this year in areas such as Jerusalem Bay, Smiths Creek, Coal and Candle Creek and Waratah Bay. These areas will all produce a decent bite at some stage of their stay and if you haven’t fished these areas before, I suggest you visit first during daylight.
During Winter Cowan Creek normally suffers from fog and this can make the area very scary to navigate at night. You are better off grabbing a spot during daylight, and make sure you have a plotter or working GPS so you can slowly go home along the same plot trail you made when you arrived.Reads: 1512