Spring is upon us once again, and it’s time to start catching fish! Last month saw the water temperature slowly climb and even after the opening of Warragamba Dam into Pittwater it still remains a toasty 18°C.
With warmer water, the small fry baitfish and micro squid are starting to be chased by kingfish, tailor, and salmon just to name a few. Kingfish are starting to come on the bite but most are feeding on those small 2mm long baitfish making them almost impossible to catch. There have been a few kingfish that we’ve been able to tempt by thinking outside the box. If you find a school of kings on the surface slurping on micro baitfish, get as close as you can with the motors off and throw around some small pilchard pieces towards the feeding fish. Throw the next small handful closer towards your boat and with the third handful a piece of pilchard on a hook to float down as well. It hasn’t worked every time but it is worth trying. These fish are spooked by boats, not motors so it is important to be patient and create a sense of security for the fish. I have seen kayak frustrated fishermen paddle in towards the school only to have them dive and pop up 20m away.
The other successful method has been to down rig live squid in the area of the surface activity. When the fish have been feeding on the surface we have only been lowering our baits to 10ft. Kingfish prefer to eat baits that are above them rather than below them and when they are feeding on the surface, baits higher in the water column have worked better than lower down. You only have to stay in the area of activity and by turning off the motors and drifting you are in with a real chance of catching a few. The usual areas of Stokes Point, Soldiers Point and through to Longnose Point as well as around the Scotland Island have all been areas of kingfish captures. The key has been to trust your sounder and have small live squid. Micro jigs will start to work very well in the next month or two as there are many thumb nail sized squid starting to come out of the weed beds to float around with the flotsam in the bays. The predators will be found hunting in these areas as well as anywhere with drifting weed.
With the small squid imitation that is on most of the assist hooks, these lures will find quite a few fish over the coming month or two. Squid are hard to catch along Pittwater at the moment due to the brown algae that is covering the weed beds. The areas of faster water flow seem to be better. The areas to try for squid are The Basin Palm Beach weed beds, Barrenjoey Headland, West Head, and Sand Point. These areas are home to small squid so small jigs are needed on most occasions. Squid jigs of 2g are perfect and the better colours have been changing from one outing to the next but my suggestion is to start with the fluoro colours of orange or pink but if you have no follows don’t be afraid to go to the natural olive green or brown colours.
Fishing for your bread and butter species is easier towards the mouth of Pittwater rather than towards Scotland Island. Algae makes it difficult to fish because as soon as your bait hits the bottom it is engulfed in brown slimy mess. The area on the Pittwater side of West Head is the better area to anchor and berley. In front of Portuguese Beach through to Sand Point has been a better drift. Check your baits often so you can remove any slime before fish have a chance to refuses it. If you are like me and prefer to avoid the algae, Broken Bay is fishing well for flathead, school mulloway, and bream. The drift from Patonga through to Lion Island is seeing flathead and a few lucky people have encountered the odd school of mulloway on squid. Flint and Steel is fishing well on the incoming tide for flathead and the odd school mulloway while fishing the edge of the reef. If you use a weighted berley bucket and lower it near the bottom there are a few trevally still about to catch. Flint and Steel sees a fair amount of current most of the tide and at the moment it’s the last and first hour of the tide change that seems to be working the best.
If you can poke you head offshore, the reef fishing is still producing some great fish. Morwong are again making their presence known when fishing 60m or more. There are a few snapper still being caught in a variety of depths but most seem to be just over legal. Flathead are starting to bite their heads off again in water from 50–70m and there is no best bait. When you find the area where they are laying they are chewing on just about anything. Micro jigs, soft plastics, prawns, squid strips, pilchard pieces are all working when dragged along the bottom. If you are after big kingfish this is the month when we start seeing them at the inner reefs making their way with the warmer water and baitfish into our harbours, rivers and bays. There are some spots left on our boat if you want to chase a few and have a chance at that fish of a lifetime. I hope this report sees you all revved up and eager to get on the water to enjoy our wonderful part of the world.Reads: 755