Surface activity saves the day
  |  First Published: March 2016

This coming month should see some great fishing along our coast, especially in Pittwater. Normally in Pittwater we see the larger predators move in over the last part of February and first part of March. This year may be a little different though, as everything seems to be running late due to the water clarity.

The dumping of over 225mm of rain in two days back in January right along the east coast has seen the warm discoloured water being locked in close to the coast in some sections. Pittwater has been one of those areas that seems to finally clear and then it rains again and the Hawkesbury rivers dirty water flows back into Pittwater once again. 

The water has been a little discoloured of late but the fishing activity has been spread out along Pittwater and Broken Bay. There seems to be a bit of a mix of fish at the moment, with salmon and tailor pouncing on small metal lures in the 5-10g range and the kings preferring smaller soft plastics of 100-150mm long.

There can be a fair few casts between fish, but by changing lure sizes, colours and retrieve rates you should have a lot of fun. These same areas can see a variety of fish below the surface activity as well.

For those of you who haven’t tried a micro jig yet, now may be your time. Whether you place the rod in your rod holder and drift or aggressively work the lure, you will see these lures work very well. We use the 120g size lures and whilst drifting have caught bream, flathead, salmon, tailor, kingfish and mulloway. Most fish have been caught aggressively working the lure, sometimes up to 20m away from the surface action. Trust your sounder and look for baitfish balled up near the bottom for the best results.

Downrigging in Pittwater this year is seeing mixed results. Live squid are being shunned by kings on the odd day but small yellowtail or slimy mackerel are working on those hard days. So if you can grab some livies from the West Head area it may pay dividends by the end of the day.

Squid are plentiful along Pittwater at the moment and the better colours for jigs seem to be orange or pink. Both are fluoro colours, and I am sure that any fluoro or flashy hardbodied lure will work. The areas that seem to have the most squid on offer are Mackerel Beach, Palm Beach Ferry Wharf, Coasters Retreat and around both West Head and Barrenjoey Head. These last two areas can be very dangerous in certain seas and swells, so care should be taken when fishing them. Please watch your chosen area for a few minutes before heading in as on an outgoing tide and with a bit of a sea surge, your day can be ruined pretty quickly.

Once you have collected your bait, the areas to try are Soldiers Point to Longnose Point, Stokes Point, around Scotland Island, Lovett Bay and McCarrs Creek. With the warmer water on the surface, it has been better to drop your baits to the bottom third of the water column, but you will need to check your squid often. There are quite a few pickers that are stripping squid baits if they get too close to the weedy areas. To combat this, you could use live yellowtail or slimies as these baits will survive longer.

There are a heap of bottom fish starting to show themselves. If you are fishing after some rain, head to the deeper holes and fish the drop offs for flathead while drifting. Bait, soft plastics and micro jigs will see you coming home with a feed if you cover enough ground.

Drifting the Palm Beach drop off on an outgoing tide and around the weed edges on a rising tide should also see you tangle with a few big fish.

Mulloway are still being caught along the channels of Pittwater and also in the deeper holes. The reef area near Tailors Point and Currawong Beach has seen a few smaller fish caught while drifting for flathead. Pittwater is not known for big mulloway, but there is the odd big fish hooked from time to time. For your best chance, try fishing the top of the tide change and make sure one of your baits is live squid.

Along our coast, reef fishing has been great on most days. There are a lot of slimy mackerel schools over some reefs in water depths of about 80m, which in turn has attracted quite a few predatory fish. Snapper, samsonfish, flathead and morwong are being caught on most outings. If you are unlucky enough to head out when the current is raging, come back into 30-40m of water. There seems to be enough fish there to keep most anglers happy.

Kings are once again along the coast and are being caught using live yellowtail or slimies, soft plastics, metals and poppers. In fact, they seem to be smashing just about everything thrown at them. Most fish are in the smaller size brackets at the moment, but by covering ground and trying a few different tactics you should be able to locate a feed.

The better areas to target along the coast are Barrenjoey Headland, Whale Beach Headland, Newport Reef, bommies at Mona Vale, West Reef, East Reef and the odd fish has come from the Skillion at Terrigal areas.

I hope that this information helps you track down a feed and sees you enjoying our wonderful part of the coast in the near future.

• Peter Le Blang operates Harbour and Estuary Fishing Charters, phone 02 9999 2574 or 0410 633 351, visit www.estuaryfishingcharters.com.au

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