An abundance of activity
  |  First Published: December 2013

This month usually sees an abundance of pelagic activity in the lower reaches around broken bay, Cowan and Pittwater. Frigate mackerel, mac tuna, salmon, tailor and kingfish will be actively feeding in the warm waters that lick the east coast. Throw in the odd northern visitor in the form of spotted mackerel and cobia, and a day of live baiting and lure casting can be a real lucky dip.

Live yakkas and slimy mackerel are prime baits for flatlining, downrigging or setting up at anchor. They are quite easy to catch by simply setting up a fine particle berley trail of bread or chook pellets, and using either a bait jig or a long-shank hook on a handline with a small piece of prawn.

If the live bait is tricky or hard to locate, lures are your next best option for finding some summertime speedsters. Diving birds will lead you to the action, where small metal slices and slim soft plastic stickbaits cast on light spinning tackle can provide hours of fun and aching forearms.

Sinking a larger offering like a 7-10” soft plastic stickbait under the action can yield some interesting results on the right day. Kingfish, cobia and even mulloway (jewfish) will be attracted by the activity created on the surface.

Keeping it up top, the surface fishing on the flats will be heating up as well. Pittwater, Cowan and Berowra all have productive sand and weed flats for luring bream, whiting and the odd flathead. Small poppers and walk-the-dog stickbaits are proven fish takers, and the choice on the tackle shop walls are endless. Try to keep your offering as small a practical to be able to cast a reasonable distance to these flighty fish. All colours will have their day, but I find the clear/ translucent colour schemes to be the most consistent.

If the surface bite isn’t happening, a slow-rolled shallow crankbait can get you back into the action. Another alternative is a very lightly weighted soft plastic that imitates a prawn or yabby, slowly twitched across the bottom. Keep your approach as stealthy as possible and avoid any unnecessary loud noises. Mooring the boat up and wading is a common tactic for a stealthy approach.

The main river has been fishing reasonably well from the rail bridges to Wisemans ferry, with plenty of reports of quality eating-sized flathead and the odd bream and school jew falling for both bait and lures. Focus your efforts around the prime times of dawn and dusk when the sun is low in the sky and boat traffic is at a minimum.

It can get quite busy on the Hawkesbury, with most ski parks and boat ramps loaded with holidaymakers in the upper reaches near Wisemans ferry. Alternatively, a night-time session in the lower reaches can prove rewarding for those targeting the elusive mulloway. Live baits and big fresh cut baits rigged on stout tackle can take some huge mulloway on the full and new moon phases this month. Don’t forget the bug spray though – the mozzies can be a nuisance after dark.

The bass had a great opportunity in late November and early December to migrate back to their sweetwater haunts, with several good dumps of rain putting enough water over the shallow rapids for them to negotiate their way upstream. Small surface lures that represent the abundant cicadas can be fished all day in those smaller creeks and streams that have a dense canopy to keep the bright sunshine out.

The other standout lure for working the skinny water is a 1/8oz spinnerbait with a single gold Colorado blade. They tend to be quite snag-resistant and can be fished at any depth, making them one of the most versatile lures for this style of fishing.

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