Bay action at its best
  |  First Published: April 2007

April in Botany Bay is normally rather good and the weather tends to be the same – warm days with cool starts and pretty hot fishing.

The fishing is at its best with just about everything on the bite. Kings are still in great numbers, bream are still running, spinning the shallows for Flathead is always good. Surface action is on most days somewhere on the Bay and I find that the silver trevally will start to pick up a little as the days cool down.

April is the start of the soccer, netball and football season in Sydney and many anglers are tied up running kids around to games. This take a good half-day for most parents; I know because my wife is the one running around most weekends while I’m out fishing (working!).

Other than a weekday, Saturdays are my pick to be out fishing. Saturday mornings will tend to be rather busy and a lot harder to fish at most spots due to the number of boats but there are still plenty of fish available if you think smart.

Many people ask me what tide is best to fish in Botany Bay. I usually reply that as log as the water is moving in or out, fish will feed. Remember that I fish three to four days a week and the tide is always different and I still have to find fish for my clients – it’s just a matter of moving around to find them.

If I had to pick a tide to fish the Bay I would go for a 10am high water. This will give you a rising tide for the morning and then a run out after, so you are able to fish both tides in the one outing.

With a 6am start with a 10am high, I would first target bream in the middle of Botany Bay. You can drop anchor, starting just wide off Towra Point and making sure you have good run in the water.

Here I use is a No 5 ball sinker, small swivel, a trace around 1.5m and a No 1or 1/0 hook.

No need to fish to heavy, 4kg to 6kg line is plenty. I like Schneider Fine Line; the colour is right and it’s quite thin for its breaking strain. I have landed kings up to 80cm on this line many times when the kingie makes a mistake and swims away from structure. But remember, we are targeting bream or trevally with this outfit.

In one session on the bream I might move four or five times and end up over towards the Third Runway or up around The Sticks. You need to move around to find the fish at times.


After a bream session, I go straight to the bait grounds and fill the tank with small live yellowtail and I always try for a squid in the same area.

Kingfish are next and everyone is keen to do battle with these guys. If I just hang a small livebait under the boat about 2m off the bottom the kingies can find it and then I just set it and forget it.

Rigs for kings need to be a little heavier. Line of 15kg and up is fine. Remember that you will find kingies around structure and you will need the muscle of a heavy outfit because they love ripping line off your reel and busting you off around that structure.

Trevally hang in the same area so a good berley trail of pellets and chopped pilchards should bring them on the bite. Because you are now fishing deeper water you will need a rig that will have your bait floating along with the berley so don’t fish too heavy.

Spots that produce kings and trevally include Bare Island, the Oil Wharf, Watts Reef, Sutherland Point and Trevally Alley (the container wall). I fish these spots all the time and they all produce but remember, you will need to move around to improve your catch rate.


In the middle of the day it’s time to spend the last hour or so targeting flathead. My pick is Towra Point because the wind is normally up a little, providing the ideal drift to cover plenty of ground. This is very important when looking for lizards.

The best colour for a soft plastic can provide many anglers with a tough choice. I have found that the colour that is on the end of your line will catch more fish than the one that is still in your tackle box!

My thoughts are that if any plastic lands within the feeding circle of a hungry flathead and that if you are putting life into your lure, you are in with a good chance.

After years of fishing for them I have never seen one colour stand out. Most days I have up to six on board and we normally spend the last hour spinning the flathead grounds with six different colours and shapes.

Squidgies are my pick plastic and any style between 80mm and 100mm is fine. I spin with 6kg outfit, the same one I used for the bream and trevally. I use a Shimano 3500 BaitRunner and a Taipan Extreme 6’6” spin rod. This outfit might be a little heavy and if you are spinning all day you might drop down in reel size for a lighter outfit.

If all this sounds like too much to take on board but you would like to learn more, come to one of my fishing schools at Hunts Marine at Blakehurst. This course combines a night of theory on the first Monday of the month followed by a full day of fishing practical on Botany Bay. Call to book because spots fill fast. Visit www.fishingsydney.com.au where you can find fresh reports weekly.

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