Best wishes for the New Year. May your catches surpass all expectations! During the last 12 months we have scanned Botany Bay, offshore reefs, and the tributaries very closely, highlighting numerous locations that have stood the test of time, and I trust you have benefited from the experience.
Even the best-laid plans can sometimes fail for one reason or another though. We just need to try harder in order to excel!
Here are a few golden rules to help boost your catch rates in 2016.
1. Specialise, don’t generalise - target one or two seasonal fish species.
2. Balanced tackle - ensure your reel matches your rod; you can’t put a small reel on a heavy action rod and vice versa.
3. Wind and tide direction - make sure the tide is flowing the same direction as the wind otherwise your boat will be going around in circles.
4. Correct bait - live bait is always best, and the bait you gather yourself is unsurpassed. Check on the type of bait the fish are feeding on.
5. Berley - Keep it simple. Ordinary chicken pellets will do the job, but prawn or tuna nuggets work well also. Stale bread dangled at the back of your boat transom in a keeper net is a cheap and effective way to bring the fish, and keep them in your area – boiled wheat mixed with pollard and tuna oil works a treat.
6. Get the timing right - fish the right stage of the tide and the right time of day and you’ll boost your catch rates. The run-up is great as it allows fish to move in shallower areas like mangroves and submerged rock walls where they normally would not be able to feed. I’ve found that a change of tide, whether it be high or low, is ideal if coupled with daybreak or dusk.
The southern side of Botany Bay fishes well during the first few hours of an incoming tide, especially when there is a northeasterly breeze. The last couple of hours prior to the high tide are ideal for the patches, the logs, Towra close and Elephant Trunk, while the last few hours of the outgoing tide are a treat for the middle of the Georges heading into the bay. Possies like Towra wide, Primrose House and the old Mick Moylan’s Pub cockle beds relish these conditions.
If a westerly is blowing you can fish both land-based or by boat on the stretch between Dolls Point and Kyeemagh. This area is well protected and fishes well under these conditions. The run-out tide is best here.
Around the Cooks River entrance to the Runways we’ve found the first few hours of the run-out tide to be the best option, with a big ebb best. The Port Botany reclamation wall to La Perouse can be fished at any given time, as long as there is run on the water. I like a run-out tide in Yarra Bay, Astrolabe Cove and Bare Island if fishing for duskies. If fishing the Georges River, stick to the southern side during a making tide, or a northern side during an outgoing tide.
We experienced a hot and cold month, with some parties doing really well and others missing out. Como Bridge was definitely the standout possie for the month, with many school mulloway up to 10kg landed. Once again, Hawkesbury River squid strips have been doing the damage. Most mulloway were landed during the late afternoon and into the night, with slack tide fishing the best.
Some nice mulloway were also taken land-based just downstream from East Hills railbridge with one notable specimen nudging 17kg.
Surprises in the shape of big muddies and 60cm tailor have also created interest.
Whiting have been caught at night on the sand flats opposite Black Butt. I boated a dozen good elbow slappers during the run-up tide using blood worms, but also losing a couple of jewies in the process.
Estuary perch made a welcome appearance along the rock walls and boat pontoons near the entrance to the Woronora River and Jewfish Point with small vibes doing the damage.
Flatties around the 50cm mark were boated near the mangrove behind Shark Park in Woolooware Bay, Arthur Kelly providing the spoils on 80mm black and gold Squidgies.
Elsewhere in the bay, school flatties appeared near the yellow tidal gauge in front of Monterey but no big fish amongst them. Grasshopper Squidgies rigged on 3/8oz jigheads with 2/0 hooks are the best combo.
Blue swimmer crabs were netted along the Towra Beach, Sandringham Bay and Dolls Point parameters, and a few school prawns were scooped inside Carrs Park Baths and Coolum Beach.
Trevally are just poking their head outside with the artificial reef in Congwong Bay, the hot spot with blurters up to 45cm.
The mulloway are still available around the Marsh St bridge pylons at Tempe, and bluespot flatties were taken on the drift on the 40m mark just outside Botany Heads with the golf tee in the middle of the green tank on the Kurnell shoreline.
January is a top month to fish the Georges River, with the stretch from Kangaroo Point to Cranbrook the most prolific in the whole system.
Fished correctly, you should never have any trouble getting a feed from the spots I’ve mentioned.
1. Kangaroo Point – strictly a making tide possie. You can easily identify the area by fishing 50m out from the large pine tree. Bream and mulloway are the main species taken at this spot. It produces best early in the morning.
2. Connells Point - easily identified by the large, sloping rock near the entrance to Oatley Bay. This rock is often fished from the shore by luderick anglers, but it’s better fished from a boat around 60m out. Both tides produce, but the fishing is especially good for big whiting in season during the first of the outgoing tide.
3. Caravan Head Shore - fish the channel during the run-up tide anywhere between the shore and the first green channel marker. This location can yield excellent mulloway on fresh squid strips.
4. Northern end of Como Bridge - highly recommended! Fish this spot both tides directly under the new bridge. There is a deep hole with a mix of species including school mulloway and trevally.
5. Gungah Point - located on the northern side of the river, approximately 200m upstream from Como bridge. It’s identified by a very well kept boat shed; the only one on this point. Fish as light as possible on the run-out.
6. Jewfish Point - a very good run-out possie and can be identified by a sandstone boat shed on the point. To fish this spot correctly, moor fore and aft. Drop the stern pick over and drive into shore. Place your front anchor on the rocky shoreline, and pull out 15-20m in channel. The bottom is a mussel bed so expect to lose some gear. I recommend a long trace of around 180cm in length. Try a live poddy or yellowtail on the full or bottom of the tides for mulloway.
1. Centre moorings - best fished on a falling tide, around 200m west of centre buoy. Best fished during the day for bream, trevally, flathead etc.
2. Main channel - good, deep water with a fair tidal movement. Best fished on falling tides. Kingfish often frequent this area and can be found near the channel markers. Floating pilchards and pencil garfish will often entice them.
3. Brighton wide/Lidcombe - About 600m off the end of the airport extension and in line with the big President Towers units at Brighton Le Sands. This area has been dredged to make way for the desalination pipeline. There is also a large area of mussel beds which big bream inhabit. Move around until you find fish.
4. Towra Deep - 150m south of the red channel marker right out in the middle of the entrance to the Georges River. This area is on mussel beds and fishes best by day on both tides. I like pink nippers and cockles as bait.
5. Cook Park close in - can be fished from the shore along the retaining wall. When the bay is rough this spot fires for bream, whiting and trevally.
• For all your fishing needs, as well as the latest info on what’s biting, drop into Gabe’s Boating and Fishing at Narellan (4/1A Somerset Ave), or Silvania (268/264-276 Princes Hwy). You can also call them on (02) 4647 8755 or (02) 9522 5100 respectively, or visit the website at www.gbaf.com.au.Reads: 1937