Red hot fishing!
  |  First Published: March 2007

The fishing in the harbour has been red hot, with schools of kingfish, salmon, bonito and tailor well up Harbour. We have had really cold water on the coast and this has concentrated the small baitfish and the pelagics up in and around most of the bays around the Bridge. These schools have been working the top, busting up small bait balls. There have also been plenty of kings around the markers.

In recent times the water outside has warmed up and we’ve been catching salmon, kings and bonito on trolled lures close to the headlands. As the water warms the saltwater pelagics can also start to hang deeper so it pays to fish deeper. I have been using some heavy sinkers to troll small live yellowtails, diving lures and Slugos down deep. When using these deepwater tactics in conjunction with conventional spread of trolling lures, I’ve picked up good numbers of kings, salmon, bonito and tailor.

I usually run two Rap CD 9s and a Slugo or popper run a long way back. This allows me to run extra lure in the middle down deep. I drop it down next to the transducer and watch it on the sounder to the depth that I want. You can change the angle that line goes down by adding a heaver lead held on by a snap.

The bream anglers have been catching plenty of fish around the Harbour around the moored boats. A popular method is casting Power Minnowsclose to the boat’s keel and letting them sink, watching there line for any movement. Most of the floating pontoons are also holding fish. Flathead have been caught up around Middle Harbour on larger soft plastics around the drop-offs.

The bass and estuary perch fishing in the middle sections of the river has been pretty average, with only a few fish caught on most outings. The water is like mud and it smells, so it’s hardly surprising the fishing has been poor. I don’t know how the poor old bass can live in it! Most of the dirty water comes down the sewer outlet we call South Creek and I’m afraid that Cattai Creek is going the same way, with all the houses and industry being built in its catchments. As soon as we get a good downfall the water turns to mud.

Around Windsor, bass are being caught around the weed beds and under the trees on small Taylor Made and Feralcatt diving and surface lures. These lures set the standard. The best colours have been green and yellow and purple in the divers, and darker colours for the surface. Both these diving lures float, so when you cast them let them sit for a few seconds then give them a twitch before winding them back. Often the bass will strike at the lure when it’s still on the surface.

The bass fishing around Penrith has been good with plenty of fish being caught above the weir around the rail bridge and the edges of the weed beds and further upriver. A lot of these fish have been falling to Jackals and Secret Creek spinnerbaits during the day. At night, the best lures have been Taylor Made surface walkers, small poopers and other surface flies and lures.

Give Fly a Try

When fishing for bass on surface flies, I like to fish the rising tide in the early morning and late afternoons. I’ve found that the bass look up on the rising tide for any small crabs or insects that inhabit the tidal zone between high and low. This doesn’t mean I fish only the rising tide though – I’ve had plenty of great days on surface fly on a falling tide.

I use weight forward floating lines with a 2m long, 8kg leader and tie a small popper or small surface fly. Cast your fly close to the shore, weed beds or in and under any overhang or snags. When the fly lands on the water, let it sit for a second or three before retrieving. The bass will often strike just after the fly lands or during the first few strips.

Flyfishing can really be a deadly way to catch estuary perch and bass. Late March is the time of the year that bass and EPs start to gather in schools to move downstream to spawn, and you can catch them in good numbers.

But first you have to find them. Just because you’ve caught fish in an area in seasons gone by doesn’t mean the fish will be there this season, but it’s a good place to start just the same. When looking for schools of bass and EPs in Autumn and early Winter I usually start looking up around Windsor and work my way downstream until I find them. This can take a few outings to find the area where the fish are gathering. I usually find quite few areas along the river that hold good numbers of fish, so give it a go.



Marty Bardeta with 73cm kingfish caught under Luna Park’s nose.


The lads were stoked with their catch of Hawkesbury tailor and salmon.


Gotta be happy with that – a nice harbour kingfish.

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