Gentleman’s hours
  |  First Published: August 2013

The cold of winter is biting across Sydney, causing many anglers to pull back a little, but early starts are not needed as I have found on many trips.

One species that seems to be at its best over the cooler months is trevally. Big schools push into the bay and school up around structure like the Drums, Trevally Alley, the Third Runway and the oil wharf just to name a few spots. It’s all about the tide, and as long as it’s pushing in or out you will find trevally feeding – but it’s up to you to move about to find them. Anchor at the spot you intend to fish and start a burley trail of pellets, bream and pilchard cubes, keeping it all as fine as possible. Then float a bait down the trail using the smallest lead on top of your hook for best results. Small soft plastics like the Squidgy Wrigglers or small blades will also work well if fished down a burley trail. However you fish for them, trevally are great fun on light tackle and the kids will be hooked.

One species that I find in good numbers over winter is the dusky flathead. The shore line of Brighton, Silver Beach and Towra are all spots that will produce well if you’re willing to put in the effort. These days I estimate around 90% of all flathead caught here are taken on soft plastics.

Drifting and working lures can be a top way to spend a few hours on the water, and I have now started running Lure Fishing Schools on Botany Bay. We start the day working larger plastics, hoping to hook a snapper along the entrance to Botany Bay and use the sounder to fish the right bottom. We also troll with hardbodies for tailor or salmon, jig for squid, use blades and plastics for a range of species, and discuss which lures and locations will deliver the best results. If you’d like to know more, feel free to send me an email at --e-mail address hidden-- .

Deep sea fishing at this time of the year can be red hot, as snapper, morwong, flathead, trevally and many other species school on and around our deeper reefs along Sydney’s coast. Wintertime provides great conditions and I love any wind with a ‘w’ in it. This will flatten the swell out. It can blow up to 20 knots from the west and in close along the cliffs, and you will have a great day as long as the swell is less than 1m. Anchor, start a good burley trail and fish light and you will find trevally, snapper, tailor, kings and many other species at times. It really is a top way to fish.

When the winds drop, head wide and set up a dropper rig. I use 15kg Schneider braid and a 15kg leader and 2/0 circle hooks, and squid or pilchard baits as bait.

You can opt to drift, but one problem with this is that fish school up and you will drift past them hooking a few. I would rather anchor after finding the fish, because if you get it right you can catch good numbers of fish. To help keen offshore anglers find and catch fish in 20-70m of water, I’ve started a monthly Deep Sea Fishing School where I share my methods, rigs and the right gear needed.

Winter time can be great on the water, so rug up and head out. There’s heaps on offer, and whether you’re catching fish or watching the whales heading north, it all makes for a top day on the water.

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