One fish that should come on in good numbers over the next few months is the silver trevally. There are very underrated fish – they’re excellent fighters and, if they are prepared properly, are an excellent eating fish.
Silver trevally are found in the harbour only in their juvenile sizes, ranging up to 2kg but usually 0.5-1kg. They are a schooling fish so where you catch one you’ll usually find more. Although normally considered to be a winter fish, I find trevally to be far more prolific in spring. They’re a schooling fish so providing you keep the berley flowing there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to take half a dozen or more.
Trevally are a lot like yellowtail in the way they station themselves in a berley trail. Normally they feed from mid water to the bottom, but on a good day you can berley then right up to the back of the boat. Given this situation there's no need for heavily weighted rigs, which would simply take the bait away from the fish. The trick with trevally is to present the bait as if it were part of the berley trail. This means very lightly weighted rigs where there is flow in the water, and possibly even no weight at all in the quiet bays where there is little current.
Trevs prefer small soft baits like peeled prawn and pilchard fillets. They are the only fish I can think of that don't respond well to fresh baits; in a lot of cases they have shown a marked preference for packet bait over freshly caught and filleted bait. The exception to this is when you present them with a live yabby or blood worm which are second to none.
Trevally have a small, soft mouth so small hooks and light line are the way to go. I prefer a no. 4 VMC baitholder and 3-4kg line. The light line helps avoid pulling the small hooks from the soft mouth.
You'll find trevally right throughout the harbour depending on how much rain we've had. They like clear saline water, so after long dry spells they can be found in the upper reaches. After heavy rain they will be confined to the lower reaches.
Trevally should be bleed immediately and iced down straight away. Filleted and skinned then pan fried in egg and flour, they make an exceptional feed.
Morwong, normally an offshore species, have moved into the harbour and taken up residence around the deep reefs and headlands. They are running up to about 1.5kg and are caught almost exclusively on squid and peeled prawns. The best rig I have found is a light, two-dropper paternoster rig much like you would use when fishing for estuary leatherjackets. No. 6 baitholder hooks baited with a small piece of prawn fished on the bottom should do the trick. Try Quarantine Point and Dobroyd Reef.
Australian salmon have, in the last couple of years, become a year-round proposition but August/September are traditionally the months when they appear in the lower reaches of the Harbour and Broken Bay. The closing of the cannery at Eden has seen decreased commercial pressure on stocks and it appears that numbers have increased quite dramatically. Salmon fishing has been sensational lately and should continue right through Christmas and into January. They are massed from Quarantine to North Head in massive schools as I write this but traditionally will move further into the harbour and Balmoral in the coming months.
Keep an eye out for large flocks of sea birds working the surface as they are a good indication of the position of the Salmon schools. Although they are a little bit fussy at the moment they are a lot more catchable than they were a month ago. Flies and SP stickbaits are the best bet but they are just starting to look at metals like small Raiders which is great because the tiny soft plastic stickbaits are a nightmare to cast.
You will probably be sharing the school with many other boats, especially on weekends, so keep your wits about you in respect to navigation. Whatever you do don't go charging through the middle of the school as it will put the school down and attract plenty of verbal abuse your way from the other boats.
Well known and extremely accomplished offshore angler Vic Levett has commenced operation of his new charter service, Ocean Hunter Sportfishing. Operating out of a new a purpose built, state-of-the-art, OceanMax 24, Vic and his team specialize in offshore kings, mahi mahi and marlin in season. I’ve known Vic for over 20 years and can confidently recommend him if you are looking to experience the best of the Sydney light tackle offshore scene.