Over the last few weeks, Pittwater has been a great place to be fishing. With the seasonal warm water, the predators have been active and giving anglers a chance to catch a decent feed.
The most active species around the neighbourhood has been the kingfish. The schools are making their presence known first light most mornings towards the mouth of Pittwater. The surface feeders are of a smaller size and most are just under legal, but with a bit of patience some larger ones can be found on a baitfish school close by.
If you want to have some fun with light tackle, the smaller kings are readily pouncing on small surface poppers, 4” white soft plastics, and even 20g metal lures. The schools are starting to get a bit wary of boats and boat traffic, so please use stealth mode when you arrive and find others already fishing.
Other fish to target in the same feeding frenzies are salmon, tailor, amberjack, samsonfish and flathead. All of these species have been encountered during the melees, but vary the depth of lure or bait for a chance at different fish.
The areas that they having been working best of late seem to be towards the mouth of Pittwater. The area from Palm Beach through to Careel Bay seems to be where most of the action is happening.
Those wanting to target a flathead or 2 will be happy to hear that there are some decent models in Pittwater and Broken Bay. The better way to find one on Pittwater has been to drift the dropoffs of Portuguese Beach, Palm Beach, The Hill and the dropoffs in Towlers and Lovett bays. The best bait has been the humble pilchard, but if you are after a bit of extra fun, try using soft plastics. Hopping these lures along the bottom and over the steep dropoffs has been the easiest way to get a smile on your dial. Not only is this style of fishing active and addictive, it covers more ground than just dragging a bait around.
On the low tide, try the points along Pittwater. Soldiers Point, Stokes Point, Longnose Point and Taylors Point are all areas to investigate on a dropping tide.
The bigger kingfish are still cruising along Pittwater and Broken Bay, but are proving hard to tempt once again. These big kings don’t get big because they eat everything in their path, but because they are selective feeders. Sure, when a feeding frenzy is on, they will be in the mix of fish, but they can be very selective about what they eat when on their normal cruise. For this reason I suggest that before you start chasing a metre-plus kingfish, you cover your bases and catch squid, slimies and yellowtail to see what they want on the day.
The areas where we have encountered a few big kingfish are Barrenjoey Head, West Head, The Basin, and along the western side of Pittwater between Soldiers Point and Scotland Island. Use 2 downriggers to cover the ground and vary both the baits used, as well as dropback distances and depths. There are quite a few pickers around the various wrecks along Pittwater, and checking the baits often will ensure that when you find a monster king there is something left on the hooks for him to play with.
Squid have been a fair bit easier of late, and the best colour has been pink for the cloth jigs and the pilchard colour for the hardbodies. To help send these squid into a feeding frenzy, use scent on the jigs. I find that Halco Paste is a great scent that doesn’t eat away at the cloth, and squid just love it. On many occasions we have clients wind in squid all the way to the boat without being hooked at all. They just hang onto the jig and suck at the areas that have scent applied.
Broken Bay and the Hawkesbury River have been seeing mulloway caught, as well as some great flathead. The mulloway are hungry for squid heads, but the pickers on the day determine how successful you will be. If you find that your favourite area has a lot of rubbish fish about, change your baits over to butterflied yellowtail or slimies. The pickers will still have a chew, but they are less likely to rip the baits to bits. The smaller mulloway are being caught on prawns meant for bream, and small squid strips. Just remember that all mulloway under 70cm have to be released.
Best areas to try are Croppy Point, Gunya Point, the Railway Bridge, Bar Point, Pumpkin Point and Little Settlement.
Offshore, the warm water has seen a lot of species show up and the pelagics are going nuts in close to the coast. The mahimahi are on at the FADs, but if you travel around a little and find some fish trap buoys, there seems to be better fish under less pressure.
While you are trying to catch a few fish off the surface, it can be a good idea to drop a bait to the bottom as well. The reef fishing has been a bit funny this year, with cold-water species still being caught in areas that should have warm-water species showing up. At the moment there are still morwong, nannygai, trevally, teraglin and flathead being boated in water depths of 40–70m. Closer to the coast, the species are the same, but you also have a great chance at samsonfish. The samsons have shown up in huge numbers this year, and although they aren’t all that big (55cm), they still put up a great fight and are lovely to eat.
You never know what you’ll catch until you get out on the water and try!
Children love catching fish, but really get excited when a kingfish comes aboard.
Steve Starling and the Offroad fellas joined us for a day’s fishing and loved nailing some Pittwater kingfish.Reads: 581