Holiday hotspots on the Hawkesbury
  |  First Published: December 2015

Another great year of fishing is drawing to a close and the start of a new one, inspires expectations of that next big capture and the techniques that are necessary to employ to get that monster. For most, it’s a great time to catch up with friends and family over the Christmas holiday break, eat and drink too much, sleep in and maybe harass a fish or two when the opportunity arises.

When that holiday timing does arise try your luck tempting a bream or whiting from the flats on surface poppers and stick baits or try a sub-surface offering of a lightly weighted soft plastic grub or creature bait. Selecting shallow tidal flats that incorporate some weedy areas on the top of the tide will put you in the mix to enjoy this very visual style of fishing. Places like Pittwater, Cowan, Brisbane Waters, Narrabeen lakes and Berowra all have suitable tidal flats to try your luck.

On the subject of surface fishing, the bass have been going great this year with plenty of average sized fish from 25- 35cm plus the odd better fish to 40cm+ readily taking surface lures and flies in the upper Nepean from North Richmond to well above the Gorge. If they are being stubborn and not actively taking surface presentations then a shallow running crank bait or jig spin/soft plastic combo has been working well. When the main river gets too busy with other recreational users you can usually find some peace and solitude in the small sweet water streams. The better ones take some effort to access but the results and stunning natural surrounds are well worth the effort.

Flathead have been biting well leading up to this month – a trend that should continue throughout the festive season. They will be making their way back up stream after the spawn run in spring and taking up residence on the many sand bars and drop offs from Wisemans to Windsor in the main river and throughout the brackish reaches of the creeks and feeder streams that make up the massive arterial system. Soft plastics and bibless minnows are great for casting and covering water to find those active concentrations. Make sure to maintain regular contact with the bottom where predators lie in wait to ambush unsuspecting victims. Anchoring up and fishing light tackle with fresh frozen or live baits of prawn is a very effective way of tempting some nice flathead to the boat. Check and replace your leader regularly when on a hot flattie bite as the next one could be that monster you have been waiting to get a picture and bragging rights with.

The better sized mulloway will start to get thin in the upper reaches this month with the smaller soapies (under the legal 70cm size) taking over and becoming ravenous. The bigger models will be heading back down to the near shore reefs and beaches to commence their annual spawn with plenty of anglers trying their luck in the Broken Bay area. Eleanor’s Bluff, Flint and Steel, Juno, Gunya, Wobby shores and the rail bridges will all have their day and it’s the most prepared anglers that will get the best results. Quality tackle and a bait tank full of livies will put you in the game. Tailor, pike, squid, yakkas, mullet and herring are all favourites but it’s anyone’s guess which one will be eaten first when that school of brutes finds your spread.

Kingfish have been biting well with lures and baits both accounting for good fish from day to day. Sometimes they surface feed on small bait fish, soft plastics, and surface lures with an erratic retrieve and the next day a live squid on the downrigger gets the hits. Having a few tricks up your sleeve with the ability to change your technique and approach from hour to hour will have your reels screaming and smiles all round.

Blue swimmers and mud crabs have been pretty good so far this season with plenty of guys getting into them. To be most effective keep your dilly/witches hats away from high traffic and current areas. Working your pots every half hour seems to be best to save big tangles and to find where the best concentrations of blue swimmer crabs are on any given day. Try areas from lower Cowan creek all the way to Spencer. For the mud crabs the feeder creeks and gutters tend to produce better from Berowra up to and above Wisemans ferry if it remains dry. Setting them overnight with fresh fish frames caught the same day produces better results.

I hope this gives you some ideas to help you get into a few piscatorial delights over the festive season. Be safe on our roads and on the water, and catch you next year!

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