Berleying up a storm
  |  First Published: March 2014

Over the past few years Botany Bay has undergone a number of changes. One of these was the extension of Port Botany, which has taken away many great fishing spots. In the northern section of the bay in this area you could get out of those northerly winds and drift for flathead while using baits or lures. It was a place that you could troll for tailor salmon and kingfish.

The Port Authority has also closed off another great area to boating – the area on the southeastern side of the entrance to Port Botany. It was a great place to target leatherjackets, luderick and squid, and you could also troll in close to the entrance and break walls for salmon, tailor and kingfish. To find out the details of these closures you can go to www.maritime.nsw.gov.au/docs/maps/botanybay_front.pdf and see where you can and can’t go in a boat.

The suspended fish cages adjacent to the hot water outlet and the oil wharf are also gone. These cages acted as a great fish attractant; the feeding of the caged fish brought in bream, trevally, snapper, tailor, salmon and kingfish.

Another thing you’ll need to take note of when fishing Botany Bay is that the Open Waters area starts from a line drawn from the starboard marker on Bare Island and over to Inscription Point at Kurnell. There are many great fishing spots just outside of the Open Waters area for the boating angler, and you need to remember that NSW Maritime laws are different when you venture into Open Waters. If you are not sure what you should have on board, I suggest you visit www.maritime.nsw.gov.au/sbh and click on Safety Equipment. Some of the items you need (but not all) are 2L of fresh drinking water per person, a compass and a map or chart of the area. I have heard a couple of complaints from anglers who were fined for not having these items so take five minutes and go and have a look.

For those of you who fish the Port Hacking area, you too will need to have a look at the NSW Maritime maps of the Port Hacking as you may not be familiar of where the Open Waters area starts. The line is drawn between Port Hacking Point in the south and across to the southern side of the baths at Oak Park Cronulla. Check out www.maritime.nsw.gov.au/docs/maps/porthack_front.pdf to view the map.


As the weather starts to cool down a bit many anglers will start to think about packing up the gear and putting it away until the start of spring. It is also a time of fewer crowds on the water due to the fact that many parents are taking their kids to soccer, footy and netball.

However, for many of us this is a time when we put away the summer fishing gear and start getting the gear out to chase drummer, bream, luderick and trevally off the rocks and in the estuaries.

I can’t stress enough that when you go bait fishing you will need to have some kind of berley trail going, whether you are fishing from a boat or off the shore. It could be something as simple as a small bucket of chicken layer pellets that you have brought from a produce or pet store. I buy a 40kg bag of chicken layer pellets but only take out enough for each session. If you prefer, you could mix in chopped-up pilchards or prawn heads while adding tuna oil. It all works, but I tend to keep it simple. If the current is moving a fair bit I just throw a handful in every five minutes, but if the current is slow I add water to the bucket and then throw out a handful of the now mixed up chicken pellets.

The bream and silver trevally should start to congregate in certain areas of Botany Bay this month. Places worth a shot include the oil wharf, Bare Island, Monoliex Point, the end of the third runway, Silver Beach, Dolls Point Beach, Taren Point, the Cooks River break wall, and Captain Cook and Tom Uglys bridges. All of these spots will produce fish on the run-out or run-in tides. I tend to prefer the run-out tides.

Hopefully there should be a few kingfish taking live baits in these areas as well. Squid, yellowtail, garfish and slimies will do the job. If you can’t catch any of these try using an Alvey bait trap to catch yourself a few poddy mullet.

Kurnell Point and Bare Island would be worth targeting luderick and drummer on a rising tide. You will just need to keep an eye on the swell while fishing off here.

Luderick will have started to show up in the Port Hacking. You don’t have to just use green weed to be successful on the luderick – try going out to the rocks at Cronulla and getting some green cabbage. Most of the time it works just as well.

The beaches from Cronulla to Greenhills will be worth a shot either early in the morning or a couple of hours before sunset for bream, trevally, salmon, tailor and whiting. I have found the best three baits are pink nippers, beachworms and bloodworms.

If you would like more information on where to go in the southern areas of Sydney, send me an email to --e-mail address hidden-- and I will try to help you out.

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