Everything from perch to pelagics
  |  First Published: December 2006

All our Summer fish should be on the bite, with the pelagics in Broken Bay and Sydney Harbour smashing into the bait schools.

Some of the better areas to try in Broken Bay include the reefs and bommies around Lion Island, Box Head and Little Box Head, East Reef, Barrenjoey Headland and in Pittwater. If by some miracle there are no other boats working the bait schools, look for the diving birds and rippling water.

In the Harbour good places to search are North Head and South Head, off Washaway Beach and in Rose Bay. There should be kings, bonito and tailor smashing into the bait schooling up in these areas

Offshore the mahi mahi should be around the FADs, providing great fun on light tackle. The best way to find out if the dollies are around is to chuck some pieces of pillies in the water and float an unweighted bait back into the berley trail. It will not take long to register a hit and a high-flying fish if they are around and if they’re not, move on to the next collection of fish trap floats or FAD.

There are a number of Fisheries FADs off this part of the coast. The Terrigal FAD is at S33° 30.032 E151° 38.592’ in 115m; the Sydney North one at S33° 35.554’ E151° 34.607’ in similar depth; Sydney Harbour is S33° 47.021' E151° 22.700' in 50m; Sydney East is S33° 59.316’ E151° 20.951’ in 98m, the Botany Bay Wide FAD is stationed at S33° 59.672’ E151° 26.743’in 140m and Sydney South is S34° 07.658’ E151° 23.254’ at a similar depth.


Meanwhile, up the Hawkesbury system, January is one of the best times to target bass, especially at dawn and dusk when the wake boarders and skiers are not on the water. Bass like smooth, undisturbed water which they use to look for any ripples caused by insects or other living things falling into water. This is prime time to cast surface lures and flies.

Late afternoon I start fishing with a small floating diving lures. With these you are able to target the bass on the surface and below by letting the lure sit for a few seconds when it hits the water. Give it a twitch to trigger any surface strikes before working it slowly back under the water.

As the sun drops I change to a Feralcatt or Taylor Made Surface Walker or a fizzer and wait for a bass to frighten the hell out of me with a monster surface strike. I like to let the surface lure sit still for few seconds before working it back with a few pauses on the way.

Remember not to strike until your line tightens. If you strike before that you will often pull the lure away before the fish is hooked. I know it’s hard not to strike after a bass has just belted hell out of your lure but it’s the only to let the fish come back for another go.


Bass fishing is great way to get kids into fishing. I find that kids love to be active and are always winding in their lines to check their bait. With bass fishing they are always retrieving and working their lures.

The only down side is that you will be busy removing lures from trees and other overhanging structure until they develop good casting skills.

When I was kid my Dad gave me a rod, reel and a casting plug and sent me out in the yard to cast at a bucket until I could perform fairly accurately before taking me bass fishing.

With kids or new anglers I take them to an area without much structure on the bank or I give them spinnerbaits if I am working area with plenty of trees and overhang. These lures are less snag-prone and relatively easy to cast and technique improvement is often clearly visible over a few hours.

There is nothing I like better than heading out for an afternoon and into the night with a mate in our kayaks to fish a small creek or swamp. We head off about three hours before dark and fish about three hours after, depending on how the fish are biting.

I start by casting small diving lures into shadowy areas, under trees and along the edges of weed beds and move to surface lures as the light fades and insect and baitfish life becomes more active.

I take a small pack with a torch, insect repellent, water, snacks and all my tackle needs.

This is a time when everyone heads off to their favourite holiday destination and most will travel many hours from their home port. So it’s a good idea to check your boat, engine, trailer, battery and fishing tackle well in advance.

There is nothing worse than having a wheel fall off, a motor that won’t start or fishing reels that have seized up and it can cost a lot of money to repair or replace things when you are miles from home.

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