Baiting blue-nose bruisers
  |  First Published: August 2014

It has been a great winter with relatively stable weather and great catches to boot. Mulloway were in good numbers and size throughout June and July, with multiple 1m+ fish gracing the deck of my boat. The best was 144cm, caught by lucky client Nathan Bradley on a live 40cm tailor. Seeing as it was a short fight time and the hook was well positioned in the corner of the jaw, Nathan chose to tag and release this awesome fish in excellent condition.

Most of the larger fish have come on big live baits of tailor, pike and yakkas but there are still a few being caught on soft plastics and vibes. Working the tide changes in a variety of different locations is the key to finding active schools of mulloway on the Hawkesbury.

The school mulloway have been active up to and beyond Wisemans ferry with a lot of sub-legal soapy jew getting in the way of the legal 70cm+ fish. Still a lot of fun though on light tackle and small soft plastics and blades. A few guys have been doing well with frozen Hawkesbury prawns fished on light tackle in a berley trail, with fish up to 90cm giving them and their tackle a real work out.


Bream will be moving back into the lower reaches this month, filtering along the lower rock walls and gradually flooding back into the system as the month progresses. There will be some blue-nose bruisers amongst them if other years are anything to go by.

Fresh prawns and live bait like nippers will yield better results in a steady berley trail along the rock walls using light line and leaders.

Lure anglers will do well along the walls and deeper structure using plastics and blades. Cast your lure in tight to structure and let it sink into the zone, and then move it with subtle lifts and twitches to entice a strike. Small curl tail grubs like the super tough Z-Mans and 3-4” minnows rigged on fine wire jigheads are the go.


Flathead have been popping up all over the place. They are still in the creeks with Cowan, Berowra, Mooney and Mangrove all still yielding quality tablefish along with the main river from Wisemans ferry to Broken Bay. Hoping soft plastics across the bottom and down drop-offs is the key to regularly finding flathead and other species. You may have to slow your retrieve down to dead slow this month to get them to react, or use some scented plastics like Gulp.

Blades can also be a great tool for finding winter flathead as they are small in profile but get down in the flathead’s face, emitting vibrations and flash. All you need to do is make small lifts to get the blade working then let it flutter back to the bottom. I find running the drag at a lighter setting when using these lures helps me to stay connected.


Tailor and salmon have been showing up in small schools out in the open and in the washes, harassing baitfish at West Head, Barrenjoey and Lion Island. Casting and trolling are both versatile methods on their day, using either poppers, metal slices or shallow running minnows like Rapala X-Raps. Keep it light and you will get a lot more hits and hook-ups.

If there is any prevailing wind when you come across a surface feeding school try to position you boat upwind and turn your engine off (you’ll notice the difference in your catch rate). This gives you a stealthy approach and a long cast with light lures to tempt these often fussy feeders. Once the school goes past, motor around the outside of the action and reposition for round two… or three!

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