Go explore, there’s plenty to find!
  |  First Published: January 2016

I hope you all had a safe and enjoyable Christmas and New Year period with plenty of time to catch up with friends, family and of course time to fish.

Flathead have been abundant throughout the main river and its tributaries this season for those using lures and baits. Use your sounder to target them by finding a sharp drop-off, then positioning the boat to either cast lures or drop baits back over the edge. Prawns are doing the damage for the bait fishos while pumpkin seed, motor oil, watermelon and gold minnows and grubs have been the standout for soft plastic aficionados.

Bream fishing has been a bit slow, as they have spread right up the tributaries. Anglers can expect to find these little fighters at the very top range of the salt water in the smaller creeks and rivers that flow into the Hawkesbury. Use Google Maps and small watercraft like a canoe or kayak to get you onto some real sweet water where you can expect to encounter bream, flathead and EPs! The added bonus is that these areas are generally fished less and are shaded by the overhead tree canopy – a far more enjoyable environment to fish on those warmer days.

Small surface lures, soft plastics and shallow running crankbaits are the lures of choice here. Slowly drifting along, casting into all the likely shady pockets and snags, often only in a metre or two of water, is as good as it gets in my books!

The bass have been a bit slow around the terraces with a lot of smaller fish beating the bigger ones to the lures. Despite this, there are still good fish to be had, especially at night with surface lures. There are quite a number of locations that are accessible by land but the best method is to drift in a boat or canoe (or kayak) and cast over the weed beds and adjacent to open water.

Back down in the brackish reaches around Wisemans ferry, mulloway, flathead and the odd bream have featured in captures. The mulloway are only small but are in good numbers and the bigger schoolies shouldn’t be too far off coming back upstream.

Berowra has been fishing well, with a couple of recent charters finding a stack of flathead and the odd bream caught on small wriggler soft plastics and 3.5g blades around the man-made structure and drop-offs. The flats will be firing right now so it’s time to get those small surface poppers and stickbaits out. Long casts and a lot of stealth is required to pursue whiting and bream around the shallows. I often find it better to get out and walk as this is a less intimidating way to approach the fish and will generally increase your catch rate.

Speaking of surface feeding antics, the pelagics have kicked into gear with small frigates and mac tuna darting about the harbours and bays. The kingfish are off the headlands and patrolling Pittwater and Cowan. Flatlining and downrigging live baits of yakka, slimies or squid have been the most successful method to catch kingfish over the last month, which should continue as long as the warm water stays.

While targeting the larger species it can pay to have a small 2-4kg outfit rigged and ready with a 7-10g metal slug or soft plastic stickbait for those mini tuna that can pop up for 10 seconds then disappear in an instant. They make great live baits for XOS fish or fantastic fillet baits for a big mulloway, sharks or kingfish.

Bonito and tailor have been up to their usual bait stealing antics, with anglers encountering them while downrigging and trolling for kings. Most are a welcome surprise for my clients and their arms thank them for it!

The mud crabs have been thick this season with most guys getting into a few. Set your pots at creek mouths and at the ends of rock walls from Spencer to Wisemans. Try using fresh fish frames or chicken carcasses and an overnight set should see you eating chili mud crab a day or two later.

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