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Fish hard for rewards
  |  First Published: August 2014



Once again the last month has seen the fishing great one day but garbage the next. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to enjoy time on the water and to meet new people but it is a little frustrating when the fish are on the sounder but refuse to play.

On the upside, the big kingfish are still in Pittwater – it’s just a matter of catching the right bait and presenting it to them when they are ‘hungry’. Once again there are big kingfish at The Motor off Palm Beach and along the western bays, and small live cuttlefish still seem to be the key to success.

These difficult little cuttlefish are caught along the rocky parts of Pittwater. They are best caught using 2g or smaller squid jigs whilst drifting the rocky areas. These small cuttlefish seem to be territorial and there only seems to be two to an area. To tempt one you have to keep your jigs within about 50cm from the bottom. Once you have one hooked they spin like a helicopter whilst squirting ink everywhere. How you get them onto the boat without having to spend hours scrubbing out stains is up to you and when you find a way, please let me know.

Once you have one or two cuttlefish, change your 2g squid jig to 2.5g and catch some squid on the deeper water drop-offs. If you don’t get to use the squid on kings once the cuttlefish have fired them up, you can take it home for a feed.

The large squid are still in attack mode and there are some monsters about. The Palm Beach weed beds is still a great area to try as is Careel Bay and The Basin. All of these areas have seen big squid caught, and as mentioned they are aggressive. We have caught them on a range of colours but the fluoro pink has been their favourite over the last month. This is usually a summer colour but hey – I use what works. The purple and black jigs are also working well.

A tip: quite often a large squid will have a mate or two following so make sure you have another rod rigged ready to cast or a mate on your boat with the same game plan.

At The Supermarket there are small kingfish still lurking about and they are eating small yellowtail, fish strips and prawns. These fish are tiny and seem to go off the chew once one is lost or too many boats anchor.

The surface schools have been absent over the last couple of weeks except for the odd chopper tailor being caught on Broken Bay near Flint and Steel. This is due to strange water conditions and temperatures as far as I can tell. We still have warm water along the coast but Pittwater has dropped to 17ºC compared with 19-20ºC along the coast. The salmon will start to show up again soon, as will the bonito.

For those wanting a feed while fishing flat water, try the drift from Walker Point to Lion Island. This area has still been the best area to gather a feed of flathead, and the last of the run-out tide is the time to try. We have been catching them on soft plastics as well as pilchards. The muddy drop-offs have provided the better drifts. The westerlies are dictating when to fish this area, and remember that the flathead is an ambush predator that sits with its head into the current. This is why the westerlies are dictating the fishing at the moment, and if you want to fish the incoming tide an electric motor or anchoring and using soft plastics will be your best chance if you don’t have a downrigger.

If you do have a downrigger, troll with the current and make sure that you use a deep diving lure that can puff up mud and sand as it goes along. The size of the lure is up to you but I suggest you start off with a lure around 8cm in length. My colour preference is pink for flathead as they seem to love it, but of course you should choose your own colour to suit the conditions.

OFFSHORE

On the reefs the snapper are starting to gather along the gravel ground in about 40-60m of water, but most of the fish we have found have been small. Once again the water temperature, even at the bottom, is warmer than what we would expect with sinkers coming up warm enough to warm cold hands. I am sure that the larger fish have been in the deeper water but weather conditions have hampered deep water reef fishing for us over the last few weeks.

There is the odd patch of teraglin still about and there are some morwong in the same areas. The trag have been keen for squid or cuttlefish strips and the mowies, nannygai and trevally have been keen on prawns or pilly pieces. The better areas to try seem to be either off East Reef off the Central Coast or The Long Reef through to Bluefish Point areas. The areas are changing all the time but hopefully this gives you a starting point when you hit the water.

I hope that this report sees you able to brave the chilly winds and venture out onto our wonderful waterways with family and friends.

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