Kings choosy as water warms
  |  First Published: November 2007

November on Pittwater is shaping up to be as good as or better than last month, with water that has been steady around 19° or 20° likely to be boosted by warmer currents due to lick our shores before long.

Good numbers of kingfish have been caught but on their day they can be hard to tempt.

Most fish are between 65cm and 75cm with the odd larger fish finding its freedom on encrusted mooring ropes. We have been using 80lb traces and these fish are still finding sharp areas to slice through the leaders with ease.

The better-sized kingfish have been caught near the mouth of Pittwater and in Broken Bay.

Areas to try inside Pittwater include Mackeral Beach, Soldiers Point, Barrenjoey Head and West Head. All these areas have held fish over the past month and they can be quite ferocious at the change of the tide.

At first light schools of kingfish often work the surface and can be caught on soft plastics or fresh squid heads. Unfortunately the kings can appear anywhere along the river and have even been caught in the 4-knot zone near Bayview.

For this reason it is better to have at least one rod rigged and ready with a 6” soft plastic to cast once a school is seen.

Although the preferred baits have been squid, on the odd day the fish have had a definite preference for small yellowtail. So you should catch a variety of baits to suit the mood of these spoiled fish.

Out in Broken Bay, kingfish have been caught at Barrenjoey Head, Lion Island and around Flint and Steel Reef. The Broken Bay kings have scoffed whatever is alive and too slow to move. Yellowtail, squid, slimy mackerel and garfish have all caught fish.

Most of the slimy mackerel have been caught around Lion Island and the other baits should be able to be gathered at West Head.


The other fish that have stayed around have been the good old salmon. These fish are still feeding deep but a yellowtail trolled on the downrigger has caught kingfish and salmon. These fish have not been common lately but they are still there to be caught.

Flathead are making a welcome showing. There are some nice big fish being caught, especially drift fishing.

The most common drift is between the headlands at the mouth of the river but the most successful drift is 100m out from West Head through to Lion Island. The next area in Broken Bay to try is between Umina and Box Head.

Inside Pittwater flatties can be caught at Mackeral Beach, The Basin, Towlers Bay and around the northern end of Scotland Island.

Big soft plastics catch big flathead in Pittwater and most of the drop-offs in front of the sandy beaches will hold a population of these large breeders. I really don’t have a favourite soft plastic for flathead but I do prefer big lures in darker colours cast over the sand flats and brighter colours in the deeper water.


For those who like to eat blue swimmers, get the traps out. There are quite a few crabs running at the moment and their size is pretty impressive. If you don’t have a fish frame for your trap then take a can or two of cat food tuna. Once you have tied the can in the trap, puncture the can to release a berley trail.

Remember to keep your traps out of the main channels of Pittwater or they will foul propellers of passing boats or will be taken by the authorities. The sandy bays in about 7m should see you go home with a feed of crabs.

But also remember not to set your trap in the Caulerpa weed zone from Stokes Point to the red channel marker off Palm Beach and back to Barrenjoey Headland. Anywhere inside that area carries this noxious weed and trapping or anchoring in there is forbidden.

This month we could see the start of the warmer-water pelagic fish and hopefully the commercial fishers will miss the run so we can all enjoy catching some wonderful species. The visitors include spotted mackerel, samson fish, amberjack and even cobia. Besides these, our usual kingfish and jewfish will also fire up.

If you are keen to catch some of these wonderful fish and don’t know where to start then call me on 0410 633 351 or visit www.estuaryfishing.com.au.


Harry showed the young blokes how it’s done with these two nice kingies.


Jimmy caught the smallest fish of the day but took home the biggest smile.


Renni can’t wait to get this king home for dinner.

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