It’s been a long time coming but the warm water has finally arrived and is crashing into the rivers and coastline. With the warmer water the pelagic species are firing up, and there is some great fishing to be had by those anglers willing to start early and get off the water before the northeast sea breeze kicks in around lunchtime.
Our charters have started as usual, gathering live baits so we can travel along the coast targeting kingfish. Besides the kings, there are a few oddball species starting to show up already. There are bonito still hanging around, but for those of you that love to hear a screaming reel, mac tuna and striped tuna are also taking cast or trolled Shimano Waxwing lures as well as bibbed hardbody lures.
The areas along the coast to try for pelagic species are dictated by the schools of baitfish. Not every headland has baitfish so it may take a bit of searching before you find a school of panicking slimy mackerel or yellowtail. However, once you’ve found them, you can rest assured the bigger boys won’t be that far away.
The areas that have been most successful for us over the last couple of weeks are Long Reef through to Newport Reef. Whale Headland has been a bit of a hit-and-miss affair over the past month, but when the fish have shown up there have been quite a few bigger specimens lurking beneath the schools of baitfish. The best method to target some of the bigger fish is to grab a small slimy mackerel and downrig it underneath the school of baitfish.
The predators haven’t been driving the baitfish to the surface but have been feeding on them down deep in the cooler water. I recommend putting Glow-Bait on your livebait to make it a stand out target.
Wider offshore there is quite a bit of activity for those fishing the bottom. For the snapper fishermen, if you start early, anchor and float down baits there are some fish to 5kg to be caught. The areas we’ve tried have varied from charter to charter, but a great depth to start at is 40m. If the action is slow, try moving out to 60-80m and start again.
There is a lot of current out wider. Sometimes the strong current has meant that we’ve had to fish the shallower water as it’s no fun to fish with sinkers heavier than 12oz. For those who do persist there are snapper, flathead and nannygai, but with such heavy weight you have to use braid if you want to feel the bite.
Pittwater is also firing up. Unfortunately the commercial fishermen are still making it difficult for fish to move into Pittwater, as the pros are still emptying the river of baitfish, squid and your bread-and-butter species.
So, in short, if you want to fish along Pittwater, be prepared to travel to find baitfish. If the levels of food for the predators aren’t that great, the predators will move on and find better grounds – and so should you.
For those who like chasing kingfish along Pittwater, the better areas to try are along the Kingfish Highway, The Supermarket and The Motor at Palm Beach. There are fish to play with as the sun rises at Barrenjoey Headland, and these smaller kingfish want to play with yellowtail or squid strips. These fish normally make an appearance on the surface every 20 minutes or so, and can also be targeted with soft plastics or my favourite, Shimano Waxwings in the silver pattern.
Flathead are being caught on the run-out tide at the drop-off at Palm Beach, and drifting up the drop-off using soft plastics has been very productive. On occasions when we have used pilchards or prawns, there have been way too many smaller pickers about, stripping our baits before a flathead has been found. Other areas to try for a flathead are Towlers Bay, The Hill and the drift in front of Portuguese Beach.
Broken Bay is starting to fire up as well. The better areas to fish have been Flint and Steel, Middle Grounds, Juno Point, Gunya Point and Walkers Point. All of these areas have fish to be caught, ranging from flathead and jewfish through to bream and flathead. To target jewfish, use fresh squid heads or butterflied slimy or yellowtail, and pick the change of the tide for your best chance. If you are going to fish for a jewie or 3, remember to scout around an area first to find structure or a drop-off. Make sure that you anchor accurately, and if that means re-setting the anchor a few times – so be it. Accurate anchoring will provide you with the chance to catch jewfish at other times of the tide instead of just on the change of the tide.
I hope this article sees you wanting to hit the coast and our wonderful waterways. If you are after some of the above mentioned species, give us a call and let us show you a great day on the water with friends and family.