Quality replaces quantity
  |  First Published: June 2007

Over the past two weeks we have caught over 80 kingfish from 65cm to 80cm in eight charters but in June we will see king numbers drop off – but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any around.

When the salmon schools arrive with bigger kingies in tow, I will be there like an excited child waiting to open his Christmas presents. Next month we will also see big bream, salmon, tailor, flounder and trevally being caught in Pittwater.

Most of these fish will be out of the bays along the river and will have made their way to the points and areas of current. How can I be so certain?

Every year Pittwater suffers from a brown, slimy weed that when I was growing up was always known as Winter weed. This stuff is all through the shallow areas all along the river and unless rain and bigger tides coincide, it hangs around for months.

The areas that will be better to target the species mentioned –mostly bottom fish – will be Soldiers Point through to West Head. Other areas and points will produce but if you are drifting, be sure to check your baits frequently for weed.

Anchoring at this time of the year usually means that we use fine berley and fish with floats or no sinkers. If you use unweighted baits you may have to move your bait every now and then to keep clear of the weed.

Soft plastics can be used very effectively at this time of year around the old boats moored throughout Pittwater. These crusted hulls are in less than 6m of water and the first one to target is normally the old rowboat moored at Palm Beach. Believe me, you will know the one when you see it.

An unweighted whitebait or prawn imitation in smaller sizes always seems to attract the attention of the local bream.


John dory will start to appear over the next month, use yellowtail, sweep or mados as baits. Areas to target are The Basin, Careel Bay, Palm Beach and, as the months progress, the dory will make their way up to Church Point.

To give yourself the best chance of catching one, berley to attract baitfish and the dory that shadow them. Have your bait suspended a metre off the bottom and use a flexible rod, because stiff rods don’t have as good a hook-up rate. Use A large sinker above the swivel to keep the rig under your boat and a trace of about 70cm.

Last month I was lucky enough to strike a 15kg kingfish while fishing on my own. I must apologise to all those people trying to have a quiet breakfast, as I know that all of my hooting and hollering must have disturbed you. If you saw my victory dance, I must apologise for that as well.

Anyway, my personal best kingfish for Pittwater was weighed and released to fight another day. Fish like those are too good to catch only once.

Michael Costa recently came aboard to learn some tricks he could try around Botany Bay and Sydney Harbour. We started the day collecting squid and with five in the livewell, we started our hunt. It only took 10 minutes before the starboard downrigger camera live bait was no more and in its place was a kingfish of 65cm which was released.

The next pass produced the fish that we were after, a lovely king of 80cm which well knew its territory deep among the moorings. The fish was finally subdued after an epic 10 minute battle and a fair amount of cunning play by yours truly.


I have found that after many years of targeting kingfish among moorings that ‘unfair’ tactics may have to be used. The most helpful tactic is commonsense when you think it over.

When we hook up with kingfish or any other line-ripping fish not only do we chase the fish, we try to beat it to the structure. I hook up a fish in an area that has a wreck or obvious mooring that may be an issue, I take the boat there before the fish can think about it.

Why? Fish normally pull in the opposite direction from where you are, i.e., run away from you. This means that if you are next to the problem area, it normally wont become an issue. If the fish does run back towards the structure, back off the area slowly with the fish as directly as underneath you as possible.

By keeping the fish under your boat you can normally guide it out of the danger zone. I hope this article inspires you brave the colder weather and enjoy catching some fish along Pittwater.

Peter Le Blang operates Harbour & Estuary Fishing Charters out of Pittwater, phone 02 9999 2574 or visit www.estuaryfishingcharters.com.au.

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