Take the kids out fishing
  |  First Published: February 2014

Over the last month the weather has been sporadic and so has the fishing.

Along our part of the coast the kingfish have been a fair bit smaller than in previous years. Still, the run of smaller fish has been great for casting lures, and has been delivering explosive surface action. The smaller kingfish seem to be along just about every headland from Barrenjoey Headland through to Sydney Heads. The better areas have been Newport Reef and Long Reef.

The baits to downrig in these areas have been slimy mackerel or small yellowtail. The bigger baits aren’t seeing much action but when they do, it’s worth the wait.

Along Pittwater we are finding schools of kingfish and on most flat mornings they are cruising the surface giving anglers a chance at catching a few. They are easy to spook and still seem to be favouring the western side of the river from Longnose Point through to Sinclair Point. The better lures to use have been flashy Shimano Waxwings or small walk-the-dog style surface lures. We’ve found that a 6” Slug-Go gets the fish that are down a bit deeper if you allow it to sink out of sight first. Most of the fish you’ll encounter at this time of the year are smaller specimens, but by working the depths there are normally a couple of better specimens to be found.

For those who downrig Pittwater, the better areas to try have been at Portuguese Beach, Soldiers Point, Stokes Point, The Kingfish Highway and Careel Bay.

Freshly caught squid is still working far better than any other bait when downrigging along Pittwater, but once you go out onto Broken Bay, slimy mackerel and yellowtail are the baits that you want.

Catching squid along Pittwater has become a little easier in recent weeks. There are patches of squid at Careel Bay, Mackerel Beach, Towlers Bay and The Basin. If the water colour is like pea soup the brighter colours work very well, with pink or orange the stand-outs. In the shallows and clearer water the more natural colours work better than the brighter colours. Remember to swipe the jig just above the barbs with some Halco Catch Scent paste before you start your session. I find that these scents stay on for hours and they don’t seem to damage the cloth covering like some of the spray scents do.

Flathead are still being caught along Pittwater’s many drop-offs. The easiest to find is the large sand bar at the mouth of Pittwater. This area has a deeper channel along the western side in front of Mackerel Beach and a very steep drop-off that runs from Palm Beach across to Sinclair Point. This is the better area to try for a flathead while drifting around casting soft plastics. The same area is also producing whiting and some bream around the weed bed edges. Please be aware that much of this area is a no anchor zone, so drifting is the better method.

Out on the reefs along Broken Bay we are once again finding kingfish. However, for the mulloway angler, Lion Island Reef, Flint and Steel, Elanoras Bluff and Juno Point are all starting to fire up. The change of the tide is the best time to try but you must have fresh caught bait to give yourself a chance at a decent mulloway. Please remember that the recent rule changes make your new size limit 70cm for these fish.

Further offshore along the reefs we are seeing a variety of fish being caught. Snapper are there for those who wish to fish the gravel grounds off Queenscliff. The foul ground in the same area has been seeing some decent fish but an early morning start is needed.

Boultons is seeing a variety of fish being caught. Tailor, nannygai, flathead, teraglin and plate-sized snapper are all being caught on most occasions. The reefs further north are also seeing the same species being caught. Fish the reefs that are 40-60m deep for the best results.

Over the sand the blue-spot flathead have been a little tricky to find, but when you do locate them you’ll find quite a few are in the same area.

The better bait to use for flathead has been your humble pillie, with squid running a close second. I love to catch these fish using soft plastics and there are 2 ways you can do it. The first way is to attach your paddle tail soft plastic to your normal paternoster rig. Just thread it onto the hook like you normally would.

The second is to use 4oz Elevator heads and to use Berkley Nemesis soft plastics. Cast well ahead of the boat and work the lure along the bottom with hops and pauses or (the lazy way) drift along and just lift the rod from time to time. You must make sure that you do stay in contact with the bottom and let out more line when appropriate.

I hope this report sees you grabbing the kids and getting out onto our wonderful waterways and coast to catch some future memories.

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