Sad news for Sydney Harbour fishos this month with the collapse of the western Wedding Cake channel marker.
This iconic watermark had been a popular and productive spot for Harbour anglers dating back to the early 20th Century. ‘Old mate’ in 1910 would have pulled boatloads of bream, jew and ‘nuisance’ kingies from these towering twin channel markers with views of a Harbour void of the bridge and the Opera House. Both cakes, the eastern near Watsons Bay and the western near Clifton Gardens, were due for replacement this year and it’s my guess that maintenance was allowed to slip.
Unfortunately the western cake was also the better fish producer, being nearer to the deeper western channel. We pulled hundreds of kings over the years. It was also a top producer of dory, blackfish, bream and trevally.
The wreckage was cleared, much to my disappointment, and a modern buoy-style marker now replaces the old cake. I’m not sure whether they were scheduled to be replaced with replicas or modern markers but, given time, either will produce fish again.
They should be replaced as original. Along with the Harbour Bridge, the various headland gun emplacements, Garden Island, the quarantine station, Sow and Pigs Reef and the Opera House, they form the corner stones of Sydney Harbour’s character.
On the fishing front, things have improved dramatically with the return of the warm water. A horrible, unseasonably cold current flooded the coast around Sydney just before Christmas, plummeting water down to 16° and causing a total shutdown. But now we’ve settled into a great season.
Kings are in plague proportions. The close coastal reefs, headlands and right through to the mangrove reaches of Middle Harbour are thick with them. There are some bigger fish up to 13kg around the Heads, particularly the Quarantine Station, but otherwise the majority range from just legal 60cm to quality fish of 80cm or 4kg.
There have been lots of kings working the surface around Clifton Gardens and Rushcutters Bay but by the time you read this they should have settled around the marker buoys and deeper structure.
Flatties have been great this year and their obviously increased numbers could be linked to the removal of the pro fishers from the Harbour. Rose Bay is one major beneficiary of the commercial ban because the pros used to hit it relentlessly due to its shallow, structure-free bottom.
We’ve been nailing heaps of flatties between 40cm and 80 cm on Tsunami Swim Shads around the Blue Hole near the Catalina restaurant.
Rushcutters Bay continues to fire and is a great spot for boat- and shore-based anglers. There’s a series of holes in the sandbank that runs along the break wall on Darling Point. They are easy to find, just look for the darker water. Balmoral and North Harbour are also worth a look.
There are still plenty of jewfish around the Harbour’s wrecks and reefs but Summer fish tend to be smaller than Winter fish. Working the pylons at night on Roseville, Fig Tree, Gladesville and Silverwater bridges with surface and shallow-running lures is productive.
Fishing the holes at Blues Point, The Spit, Putney and Middle Harbour with fresh squid baits on the turn of the high tide should produce the goods.Reads: 2509