Plenty to catch in July
  |  First Published: July 2014

The cooling water temperatures along our coast are seeing the water temperatures drop along Pittwater as well. Instead of putting the fishing gear away though, we should simply target different species. There will be a host of schooling fish arriving soon into areas such as Broken Bay, Pittwater, Cowan Creek and The Hawkesbury River.

We are starting to get a few signs that the species are changing with more tailor, salmon and frigates all making short appearances along Pittwater. These fish are chasing small baitfish and can be frustrating to target as they are spread out and not feeding as a school. Small, clear soft plastics will be your best chance if you are lucky enough to be in an area where they surface.

The last month has seen some very big squid being caught and they are feeding aggressively so colour doesn’t seem to matter. Most bays along Pittwater have a few to offer. Just target the deep water drop-offs where there’s some weed or rocks and it won’t take long to find out if there are any about. The areas to try are along Pittwater are Towlers Bay, Portuguese Beach, The Basin, Mackerel Beach and Palm Beach weed beds.

For those who can drift along Broken Bay, the Pearl Beach area is seeing a few monsters being caught while drifting for flathead. The other area that is seeing quite a few being caught is the Barrenjoey Headland area. Find some baitfish and start casting or drop down a paternoster rig for your chance at two.

This same area has seen big kingfish lurking around. The obvious bait for them is squid, and squid heads are great baits that allow you to still take home the hoods to eat.

There are some nice kingfish along Pittwater as well but they are being pretty fussy. It is amazing how many times live cuttlefish have been smashed compared to similar sized squid when fishing Pittwater. These small, crunchy mouthfuls are on the top of the kings’ menus at this time of the year so if you do catch a couple, don’t put them on light tackle.

The bigger fish are still mobile throughout Pittwater and once again seem to prowl along the Palm Beach to Basin area. Downrigging is still the best way to find the fish but patience is needed to get a hit (unless you have a cuttlefish). I have had most success downrigging the baits only 2-3m off the bottom.

Along the coast the kingfish bite seems to have moved out to deeper water but there still are a few big kingfish hanging under the suds. These big shallow water fish can respond well to large soft plastics worked erratically. Poppers and metals will also see you in with a chance, just remember to berley as you go if you can. By drifting slowly and releasing a berley trail, if you do get a few fish to rise you have more options to entice the fish to strike. If he is in your berley trail, that means the fish is hungry – and finding hungry fish is half the task.

As mentioned earlier there are quite a few fish to be targeted along Broken Bay. We have been catching flathead, tailor and the odd small mulloway whilst drifting the Patonga area. The flatties are a great eating size with most being 45-50cm. Dragging pilchards or casting soft plastics will see you go home with a feed. The hardest part at the moment has been to hold the baits on the bottom because of the drift speed created by westerly winds and a run-out tide. Try to fish the slacker parts of the tide for your best chance.

Flint and Steel is seeing trevally, bream, tailor and once again some small mulloway when using fresh caught bait, fishing the change of the tide and using berley. Trevallies are eating peeled prawns, bream are eating fresh fish fillets and tailor seem to pounce on anything that is ripped through the water.

The offshore reef fishing has been a little slow one day but a bonanza the next. The current is playing a big part at the moment and as a result there have been some great captures of snapper. The water depths to target have been in 30-40m of water on most occasions, but be prepared to go as deep as 60m to find a decent feed. The gravel grounds will be a great place to drift a few baits as will Long reef, Mona Vale and Newport. Off the Central Coast, East Reef would be a good place to start.

Morwong are starting to show up on most charters in water depths of 50m+, so the water is changing from day to day. The better baits on the reefs at the moment seem to be fresh caught squid, pike fillets and pilchards. Prawns are working well on nannygai and small snapper.

I hope this report sees you all eager to grab some fishing gear, the kids and enjoy our wonderful part of the coast.


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