Over the past month most of our activity has been offshore, due to the dolphin and seal raids along Pittwater and Broken Bay.
We have hit the deeper water on a few occasions and been lucky enough to have avoided the dreaded leatherjackets.
On those few days we fished the Trap Grounds off Broken Bay for decent snapper, morwong, flathead and trevally.
Other spots are working – when the jackets are absent – include the Ordinance Grounds off Dee Why and the broken reef in 60m-80 m off Long Reef.
As you all know I love chasing kingfish for my clients and over the past month we have caught quite a few along the coast.
We have been targeting them along the headlands from Avalon through to Dee Why and if the dolphins are absent, the fishing is great.
And you can target kingfish with the downriggers and can also cast out lures for other fish, such as tailor, bonito and, of course, salmon.
Most of our recent captures have been from Mona Vale through to Narrabeen and then from Long Reef through to Dee Why. You have to cover a bit of ground but when the right area is found, the numbers of gathered baitfish are astounding.
Long Reef has suffered from masses of sweep that have shown up early in huge numbers. Many people have been working these sweep schools without realising it and their hard-earned fresh squid are being devoured in the blink of an eye.
My suggestion is to learn what yellowtail or slimy mackerel look like on your sounder.
I have found that when not being hunted, yellowtail and slimies gather in long, dense schools that I have learned to distinguish on my sounder. Most of the time sweep mark from top to bottom of your screen and don’t show as that squashed oval signal.
There are some great fish to be caught in Pittwater at the moment but patience is required. Water sometimes below 16° seems to slow most fishes’ appetites but bream, trevally, luderick, salmon and tailor are just a few that can normally be caught.
The best time to try for most of these species is on the run-in tide because the water along the coast is still warmer than what’s in Pittwater.
That warmer water seems to liven up the area from Mackerel Beach through to Long Nose Point for trevally and bream.
The salmon are on the surface most mornings in Broken Bay but with dolphins and seals about, the schools are a little shy. Clear soft plastics about 20mm long are working best.
Flint and Steel, the Middle Ground and the entrance to the Hawkesbury are also starting to liven up on an incoming tide.
Over the next few months we should start to see an increase in jewfish captures. At the moment there are a few around that are being caught when targeting bream using fresh prawns.
Flint and Steel is producing tailor, trevally, and bream and, if you are fishing the edge of the reef, some school jewfish and flathead are starting to appear.
Over the past month Cowan Creek has seen some hot hairtail bites.
The usual areas of Jerusalem Bay, Illawong Bay, Waratah Bay and Smith Creek have all produced some great fish.
This may be your last chance to get tangled with one of these chrome bars before they disappear when the warm water arrives. The usual baits of pilchard fillets, yellowtail fillets or live yellowtail drifted or suspended at different depths will see you in with a real chance.
The kingfish along Pittwater are still there and with the water super-clear, they seem to be hanging around the deeper areas and drop-offs.
The western side of Pittwater is the better area but there has been the odd kingfish caught among the moorings.
At the moment you really have to trust your technique and your sounder. When a school of baitfish have been found, the kingfish have been marking deeper than the school, not that far off the bottom.
Lowering the downrigger so that your live bait is between the two usually will get a response out of a predator.
One trick to try is when you know your bait is in the right zone and you haven’t had a hit, try raising and lowering the downrigger as quickly as you can. This attracts their attention and can trigger a violent strike.
Another trick is to idle over the grounds and snap the rubber band connection to the downrigger and have your live bait swim about with reel’s bail arm open or in fee spool.
These tricks can be the difference between a hit and chance at a decent kingfish, or a zero.
Squid can be caught along Pittwater but again it’s the western side that seems to be holding the most.
There aren’t many small squid along the river at the moment but the better areas seem to be along the weed fringe at West Head and Barrenjoey Head.
Gold to orange seem to be outperforming most of the colours and the better sizes are the 2-2.5.
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