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Great weather for fishing
  |  First Published: August 2015



The colder water has moved into Pittwater and along the coast, but there are some great fish to catch.

With the calm morning conditions it has been easy to spot the schools of salmon and tailor feeding on the surface. It has been easier to find a bite first thing, and as the morning progresses the bite tapers off. Most of the action has been in Broken Bay towards Lion Island and the seagulls give away the location of the fish. The tailor are smashing anything that moves and the salmon (when they show) are eating floated pilchard pieces, small lures of all kinds, and soft plastics.

If you are lucky enough to find a school on the surface, go into stealth mode so you don’t spook the fish. If you get sick of catching the surface feeders, try dropping a 65g micro jig under the school near or touching the bottom; you may be surprised at what you hook up to.

In previous years we have caught trevally, flathead, kingfish, mulloway and bream on soft plastics and baits, so micro jigs will be a great lure to try, or just have sit in your rod holder while you drift along.

We are still seeing kingfish being caught, but the bite has slowed although the size of fish has increased dramatically. Once again these yellow tailed missiles are only eating when and what they want, which can be a little frustrating. The 1 bait that they find hard to refuse at this time of the year is small live cuttlefish. These little ink machines seem to get slammed when nothing else gets touched.

The areas to target kingfish at the moment is still around Scotland Island, mainly on the western side and along the western shoreline from Longnose Point through to Sinclair Point. The fish seem to be cruising the shallower water near the weed fringes and the rocky shoreline.

The other species worth chasing on Pittwater are bream, winter whiting and blackfish. The public wharves along Pittwater are starting to see schools of blackfish, which are responding well to green weed. It has been important to berley to get them active. For the wharf fisherman, the better spots are Church Point (wooden wharf) and Careel Bay Wharf. For the boater, Woody or Rocky Point and the edge of the weed beds from Mackerel Beach to West Head have been great places to start.

Hairtail are on the chew again for those that love the cold! The schools have moved around a bit, but once you find a school of yellowtail the hairtail aren’t far away. The deeper water in Jerusalem Bay is a great place to start and once again there is more than hairtail to be caught. While you are floating down pilchard fillets or the like, try placing a larger live bait on the bottom further down the berley trail. There are mulloway that will find the chance at an easy feed irresistible. Other areas that have seen captures are at Waratah Bay and along Smiths Creek. They seem to be a bit spread out this year, but that is because the bait schools are spread throughout the system as well.

If you want to catch a hairtail but can’t handle the cold nights, try fishing the last part of the afternoon on a tide change (high tide seems to be the best). Quite often you will see a few being caught at the change of the tide, especially if nightfall is within an hour or 2.

Don’t forget that hairtail are quite responsive to lures as well. Flutter jigs, barra spoons and soft plastics will all work. Barra spoons are 1 of my favourite ways to catch hairtail. With the slow sink rate and fluttering action on the drop, these lures stay in the strike zone for a great deal of time. With gentle lifts of the rod, they can be deadly when a school of hairies come to play.

Recently Dave Butfield, Robbie Rochow (Newcastle Knights), Louie (Otto’s Bait and Tackle) and I headed along the coast to target kingfish, and snapper as a backup plan.

The morning started at Newport Reef and ended late in the afternoon at Long Reef. The day started slowly, but Robbie woke us all up when he cast out his soft plastic, let it hit the bottom and was onto a decent fish as we were downrigging. After a spirited battle a 60cm snapper was brought aboard.

We also managed to find a school of kingfish on the surface at Narrabeen North. The hoodlums we milling around on the top for a while and took a real liking to live yellowtail. Once again the bite only lasted for a short time. After an hour or 2 of searching what now seemed like a desert, we finally hit pay dirt. Robbie managed to catch the fish of the day, a lovely specimen of 108cm.

Offshore, the reef fishing has been a bit patchy unfortunately, but will change for the better over the next weeks when the current picks up a little. The old saying of no run no fun is very true for reef fishing.

There are some decent snapper waiting to be caught in the shallower grounds (20-30m) and the bigger fish will be found just before or as the sun rises. After the sun is higher in the sky, the bite can sometimes occur in the deeper water (60-80m), especially around a tide change.

The best bait for snapper at the moment is squid or cuttlefish. If you can anchor at the edge of the reef to gravel or sand so you can drift down the offerings unweighted, you should do well.

The deeper water is seeing morwong, nannygai, trevally and the odd patch of flathead being caught as well. Pilchards and squid strips seem to be the best baits.

The better reefs for the shallower water are Newport, Mona Vale and Long Reef, and the deeper water areas such as The Container, The Ordinance Grounds and The Gravel Grounds of Queenscliff are working well when there is a little bit of current.

We are running our mid-week winter specials for those wanting to book the full boat of 5 people from Monday to Friday. Call me on (0410) 633 351.

1

Kingfish like this are feeding along the weed edges.

2

A mixed bag like this can still be caught in Pittwater. Watch for surface activity.

3

Robbie with his hard-earned kingfish. It was an epic battle, so watch Fish & Hunt to see it.

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