River or ocean?
  |  First Published: December 2014

Last month proved to be a great time to go fishing, both along the coast and in the rivers.

Pittwater really turned on a show for a solid week, with kingfish slurping small baitfish off the surface, yet refusing most lures and soft plastics thrown at them. If you were lucky enough to find a squid or two, odds are you hooked some kings as well.

This month though, the kings are a little more difficult to find — unless you head out into Broken Bay. Schools have been seen on the surface early in still conditions, but are feeding deeper as the morning moves on.

The best lures seem to be standard white soft plastics, but if you want to have some real fun, cast a popper or walk-the-dog-style stickbait and be blown away at the strikes.

Most fish are undersized, so after having a warm up, hunt down some bigger versions along the headlands and, on the smaller tides and change of the run-in, Flint and Steel. Other areas to try are Barrenjoey Headland, Whale Beach Headland, Newport Reef, Long Reef, and West and East reefs.

The bigger models are smashing slimy mackerel fished on downriggers along Broken Bay and the coast, but squid are still preferred back inside Pittwater.

These have been difficult to catch over the last couple of months, but the good news is that they are bigger now and willing to attack jigs. The best colour has been orange with pink, and the pilchard hardbody jigs are not bad either. Areas to try are Careel Bay, The Basin, Mackerel Beach, West Head and the fringes along Barrenjoey.

For people that love to catch flathead, bream and jewfish, now is the time to hit the water. Bream are in the shallows of the creeks and bays along Pittwater, and with all the bugs and cicadas flying about, surface poppers are working a treat. McCarrs Creek is a great little area on a quiet day, but you really have to start early and hit the shallow weed areas before the sun gets too high.

If you prefer bait, try using bread berley and bread cubes. If you can keep the seagulls away, there will be some great fish plucking bits off the surface. The berley is also attracting mullet, and in turn some flathead are showing up.

If targeting flathead, you could do worse than cast soft plastics or lures at the weed fringes and over the sand and mudflats on a dropping tide. There are also the points along Pittwater as well. Longnose Point, Portuguese Beach, the deep channel between Mackerel Beach and Palm Beach will be areas to target on a rising tide. On a dropping tide, try dragging a bait around and cast a lure ahead of where you are travelling at Towlers Bay shallows, The Hill, Stokes Point, Sand Point and the dropoff in the middle of the river between Stokes Point and Soldiers Point. All can produce decent flathead as well as other species.

Mulloway are starting to come from the usual haunts at Broken Bay, with areas to try being Walkers Point, Flint and Steel, Juno Point, Box Head, Lion Island Reef and Elanoras Bluff. These are best fished the hour either side of a tide change. The better baits will be big squid heads, live yellowtail, slimy mackerel, tailor, mullet, or a big slab of tuna. Make sure that the fillets and dead baits are checked often, as there will be small fish about trying to strip and shred anything that can’t escape.

Offshore on the reefs, the fishing has been a little sporadic due to the winds and tides not co-operating with each other. We have had a couple of surprise captures in 40m of water at Boultons Reef in the form of small pearl perch though. I will be hitting the ‘pearly’ grounds over the next month and hopefully put our customers onto a few.

Other species that seem to be about are pan-sized snapper to 40cm, tiger flathead, marbled flathead, trevally, the odd morwong, samsonfish and kingfish, and blue spot flathead over the sand.

The shallower water has been better than the deeper water due to the strong north/south current. If you are lucky enough to strike a day when the current has backed off, try Broken Bay Trap Grounds, The Ordinance Grounds and the reefs off the Central Coast in 80-100m of water.

The shallower reef areas to try are Boultons, The Container, Newport Reef, Mona Vale Wreck, the wrecks off Narrabeen, as well as Long Reef. The best depth of water seems to be 30-40m, but don’t be afraid to try shallower, as the warm water right along our part of the coast is bringing in some decent fish.

I hope this report sees you excited and eager to get out on the water to enjoy our wonderful part of the world.


This kingfish couldn’t resist the inky charm of a small live squid.


No matter who you are, a kingfish always gets the heart racing and puts a smile on your face that lasts for days.


Paul with his first decent Pittwater kingfish. Nice one!

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