Mull over a mulloway trip
  |  First Published: April 2016

I hope you all had a great Easter break with plenty of opportunities to get out and wet a line with friends and family. The return to normal Eastern Standard Time from daylight savings is the start of the mulloway season on my boat and we have already had some great school mulloway action.

Fresh and live baits fished an hour either side of the tide change will put anglers in contention for mulloway. Focus your efforts towards the bottom end of the system around Brooklyn, Berowra and Cowan if there is still a lot of fresh in the system. If it remains dry, head up past Spencer and towards Wisemans Ferry and put yourself in the thick of the action.

Alternatively, throwing soft plastics around the tide changes is also effective. Sounding out drop-offs, reefs and deep rock walls will get you away from the crowds. If that sounds like too much work, head straight to the road and rail bridges and thoroughly work each pylon on the tide change. Heavy jigheads of 7-21g with large curl tail grubs, paddle-tails and jerk shads are the most effective.

Flathead have stayed consistent and are a reliable standby if the mulloway don’t want to play. They can be found drifting off Patonga and the middle ground off Juno or near broken reef, drop-offs and on the flats at high tide further up the system. Fresh baits of prawns, salted pilchards and whitebait plus strips of mullet work well. Live poddy mullet, herring and yakka are the standout live baits, but be sure to rig them on a twin hook rig to maximise your chances. If you’re drifting with baits, try casting a soft plastic around. The key is to make regular contact with the bottom; this will help you to cover more ground. Colour is not as important as action when chasing flatties. Grub and paddle-tails have the most inbuilt action and are the most effective for this style of fishing.

The bream will build in numbers and size as we head closer to winter. Falling water temperatures will trigger them to feed ravenously on most morsels that come their way. The rock walls in the lower reaches have been the stage for some great performances and a few curtain closers too! Curl-tail grubs and prawn imitations around 2-3” are the way to fool a few, just make sure to select the right jighead to get the tail working and a seductive drift action. The oyster leases and shallow flats will still house some great bream. Try Berowra, Marramarra, Mooney Mooney and Mullet creeks with shallow crankbaits, surface poppers and lightly weighted soft plastics.

The kingfish, bonito and salmon have been going strong around Barrenjoey, Pittwater and Box Head. Slow trolling yakka and squid on the flat line or downrigger has been the gun technique for the kings. Shallow running minnows around 12-15cm and Christmas tree skirts trolled at a reasonable pace should help you find the salmon and bonito. Troll as close to the washes as is safe to find the better concentrations of fish. They will be using the washes as cover to ambush their prey so it makes sense to run your spread in this zone.

In the upper tidal reaches, the estuary perch and bass will start to school up for their annual spawning run. They will gather on the abundant rock walls and deep weed edges in the tidal sections from Windsor to Lower Portland. Casting small soft plastic grubs and minnows tight to structure and waiting for that tell-tale tick in the line between twitches is great fun and very rewarding when you happen on a school.

Fishing the sweet water has been great with fish well into the headwaters this season. Discovering new creeks using Google satellite maps is always helpful and can get you into some untouched, out of the way places! Surface lures have been getting smashed on touchdown, which doesn’t leave much hope if you cast over a tree branch or snag!

All in all, it’s been a great start to autumn and it should continue to improve this month on the Hawkesbury.

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