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Kings: Why stop at 65cm?
  |  First Published: October 2007



It was a wonderful day back in August when NSW Fisheries declared the new size and bag limits.

It was great to see the legal length for kingfish raised to 65cm (nose to tip of tail) to allow for fish to mature and even get a chance to spawn. Although I applaud this decision I would truly love to see this measurement increase to 70cm. This would allow these fish at least one chance at breeding before they are able to be kept.

Kingfish are in Broken Bay as I write and West Head is finally starting to produce some action. The reason for the lack of decent fish has been dolphins. These graceful creatures have been working the area since the salmon showed up briefly in Pittwater and since then have been happy to cruise Broken Bay and eat whatever is unfortunate enough to cross their paths.

The kingfish have, as usual, taken a liking to small squid inside Pittwater, while around West Head and Broken Bay, yellowtail have caught most fish.

Inside Pittwater, the areas to try have been from The Basin through to Palm Beach. The fish have been on the surface most mornings but become more difficult to catch as the day wears on.

When the kingies are feeding on the surface they can be tempted with fresh squid heads or smaller soft plastics. Small poppers are also working on the odd day.

Squid have been difficult to catch for a while but with smaller jigs and a little scent, the odd one has been caught. The areas to recommend to you are few, as most of these kingfish Tim Tams have been caught along the vast weed beds of Palm Beach. Please remember not to anchor here because it is a no-anchor zone due to the Caulerpa weed infestation. When bought on board this weed must be sealed in a plastic bag and thrown in a rubbish bin well away from the water. Please do not throw this weed back into the water.

Recently the Dewar family climbed aboard for a charter on Pittwater. The three children had never been on a boat before and the excitement showed on their faces. Hannah, the youngest, squealed from one end of Pittwater to the other and thought it was better than any amusement ride. Unfortunately the kingfish were nowhere to be found but we did find trevally on the bite and the children were thrilled at how hard these fish fight, especially on light tackle.

Trevally can be caught easily in Pittwater providing you use a fair amount of berley and fish close to structure. Peeled prawns have been best with whitebait also catching a few.

BIG FLATHEAD

Larger flathead are starting to move into the river and can be caught on a variety of methods. Soft plastics is one of the more exciting and active ways and you have no doubt read in many magazines of the best techniques to use to snare a large flattie so I wont bore you with my technique.

What I will mention, though, is that downriggers aren’t just great for kingfish and jewfish but are also brilliant on flathead. All that’s required is a deep-diving lure. It really is as simple as knowing the depth that the lure dives and setting the downrigger so the lure puffs up sand as it travels.

Around Broken Bay the areas to try are between the headlands of West Head and Barrenjoey and between Lion Island and Box Head. Both these areas are well-known drifting grounds and as long as the lure is puffing up sand as it goes, a feed of flathead can normally be found pretty quickly.

Always troll with the current or, if you must head into it, zigzag across the main flow.. This form of fishing can also produce jewfish from the deeper holes.

BLACKFISH

Luderick showed up in numbers in August and are still hanging around. The better areas to watch a float are Woody Point and Rocky Point when fishing from a boat or at Church Point wooden ferry wharf or Bayview Wharf for the land-based angler. Local weed is catching most of the better fish but some have taken the ever-diminishing cabbage weed.

The tide has not been important for boat anglers providing berley is used, but for the land-based angler, the last of the rising tide through to the last hour before the low should result in a feed.

In about four weeks we should be operating a new 7.9m Fisher plate alloy boat which will give us greater options for chasing larger fish in more comfort. We will also be able to offer charters for mahi mahi, jigging and estuary and offshore downrigging to name just a few more options. I will keep you posted.

The next few months are when everyone gets out onto the water and starts chasing the pelagic species that come on the menu in the warmer water. Hopefully this year the kingfish, cobia, spotted mackerel, amberjack and samson fish will show up again and produce a great season after such a promising start.

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