Offshore still productive
  |  First Published: September 2013

It’s still prime time to fish Sydney offshore and all anglers will find many species to target as the westerly winds keep the swell down.

And a light westerly gives everyone a chance to venture wide, where good fish hold on the deeper reefs.

I plan all my trips around the weather. My life is the weather and in Sydney it will test you at times.

My bible is www.seabreeze.com.au, which I have found to be 95% accurate most days, but you need to check north from Sydney and south from Sydney to compare weather to give you a better idea on the day ahead.

Seabreeze allows me to forecast a few days ahead and plan upcoming trips.

It’s a great tool so use it – that’s what I keep telling my Dad after he rang me with his fishing report of a few good flathead caught in the Georges River from his Hobie kayak.

“I thought I was never going to get home, son,” he said. “The wind came up an hour after I left and I had to paddle home straight into 20 knots of westerly.”

I plan my days by looking at the wind and the swell. For offshore, I like swell about 1m and winds from south-west to north-west no stronger than 12 knots.

I find any wind that blows from the north-east around to the south is tricky in smaller boats once it gets up a little. Above 15 knots it’s not worth heading offshore and it’s better to fish Botany Bay.

Trolling the coast is rather slow until about September and that when the salmon school start showing in good numbers.

I start the day working soft plastics in 10m-20m along the coast north from Botany Bay, just motoring in close and allowing the westerly to push us out to 20m, working plastics as we drift.

I work three or four spots, heading north, before I pick a location to anchor and start a berley trail. Then we fish unweighted or lightly weighted baits in search of snapper and trevally.

Any spot that drops from 15m to 25m is worth a try. Give it 20 minutes with berley running and if results don’t come, move and try again further along.

This works for me and, yes, at times we work damn hard to find fish and some days it rains fish.

Once the early morning westerly backs down I head to the deeper reefs out in 65m and anchor and fish simple dropper rigs with one or two hooks baited with pilchards, squid or fish strips.

North from the Bay we do well on morwong, the odd snapper and flathead right as long as the bloody leatherjackets stay away.




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