Over the past month the big kingfish have still been around and we have been lucky enough to tangle with these 10kg specimens on a couple of charters, with the results being kings 1, humans 1.
The fish that we did land was caught at West Head on a small live cuttlefish trolled on on our downrigger camera at 4m. The first couple of trolls attracted no interest and the bait schools weren’t showing on our sounder so it really didn’t look promising.
I did the usual ‘last lap’ call and steered a closer-than-normal course along West Head. Right outside the lookout post, the 15kg outfit started howling and the king stripped 30m of line before it even knew it was hooked. Over the next 10 minutes Jason hung on for grim life while being dragged around the boat and line regularly was stripped from the reel in 10m bursts.
We started to chase down the fish and within a minute or two it was flapping on the floor and Jason and Bob were gasping in disbelief. The fish measured 95cm to the fork. This was Jason’s first kingfish and he was absolutely thrilled at how hard these fish pull. Jason, welcome to Australia, mate!
The kingfish are still around as I write and the water is hovering around 20° in Pittwater. There are schools of baitfish and on most occasions there will be predators close by.
The areas to target bigger kingfish have been around West Head, Sand Point and Longnose Point through to Portuguese Beach. The best bait by far has been garfish and trolling them on a Head Start (weighted trolling system) has produced most of the hits.
By using these heads a garfish can be rigged in a matter of seconds and will not spin. There are two versions, one with a diving bib that will work at 1.4m at 6 knots and the other is a surface splasher best placed right next to a teaser. The second-best bait to use has been small yellowtail or cuttlefish.
Most of the surface action has been at the mouth of the river first thing in the morning and small metal lures have been catching tailor and the odd salmon. The tailor have been quite large with fish of 55cm normal over the past few days. These larger tailor are better chased with 25g metal lures and heavier traces are required.
There are schools of salmon in Broken Bay most mornings but, as usual, they are a bit shy of lures. With persistence and using a variety of soft plastics, a few fish can usually be caught. Small flies under bubble floats can usually account for a few of the shy fish that swim the edges of the schools.
Remember to hook up one of these salmon as live bait and work it under the school for a chance at an XL kingfish, jewfish or shark. Some of these salmon are 1.5kg so take your heavy tackle and thick rubber bands for the downrigger.
Bream are everywhere through Broken Bay and Pittwater. In Broken Bay the larger fish are around the washy headlands and bread berley is working a treat. Best baits are fresh prawns or whitebait.
In Pittwater the larger bream are along the moorings at Palm Beach, Mackeral Beach and at Woody Point. The largest bream are a little hard to tempt and the average size of the smaller fish is around 30cm and these are eating live nippers on unweighted lines. In these same areas there are a lot of leatherjackets and baby snapper.
Wherever there are baby snapper it is worth trying for john dory. If you anchor, always set up a line with a john dory rig and you might be surprised at how many fish are down there.
The best bait to try for a john dory inside Pittwater would have to be a small yellowtail although sweep and even those annoying mados get eaten. Suspending the chosen live bait 1m to 1.5m off the bottom on a trace of about 1m is the norm.
Soapie jewfish should start to be caught in Pittwater over the coming months with the odd larger fish attacking our bigger live baits. The areas to target them are the same wrecks that produce kingfish in Summer.
The best area by far is The Wrecks, which consists of old aluminium boats and concrete blocks covered in marine growth and there’s a steep rise at the end. We fished this area last year and had a camera on a dead fresh squid head and watched a large jewfish come up the berley trail right up to the camera. The jewfish refused all offerings and was seen for only a minute or so but we then had the knowledge that they were in the area. The following weeks provided us with a few smaller fish to 4kg but the bigger boy evaded us but hopefully will visit us again this year.
McCarrs Creek is a spot bigger fish come from. The best baits here are live mullet or big live squid. Using floats or balloons can be great if you can avoid the moorings and a constant berley trail of finely mashed pilchards is needed to attract the baitfish and predators.
Another favourite in Pittwater is the moorings at The Basin, which at times is quite bountiful for jewfish. They never seem to be monsters but the odd 4kg to 5kg fish will be caught. The best baits here can change at the drop of a hat. I normally will be armed with live yellowtail, fresh squid and a variety of fresh frozen bait such as prawns, pilchards and whitebait.
I hope this information helps you take home a feed for the family and enjoy the wonderful place we all live in.
• Peter Le Blang operates Harbour & Estuary Fishing Charters out of Pittwater, phone 02 9999 2574 or visit www.estuaryfishingcharters.com.au.Reads: 689