Harbour mulloway on the run
  |  First Published: June 2016

The harbour is currently experiencing some of the best fishing of the season with water temperatures holding up longer than usual. Kings are still around in good numbers, and we’ve had some good runs of salmon, mulloway and flathead.

The squid fishing has been phenomenal, and they’re a top mulloway and king bait. However, it’s worth putting out a variety of baits during the ‘change of seasons’ period.

Now’s the best time of year to target mulloway in the upper reaches of the Harbour and Middle Harbour. The mulloway follow the mullet run upstream and it’s no coincidence that some of the best mulloway spots are near the areas of the greatest mullet concentrations. If you are chasing mulloway through the daylight hours, there’s no question that fresh squid bait should be your first choice. Live squid aren’t necessary, as most daytime mulloway are caught on strips of the tube or ultimately the heads and guts. If you are after really big mulloway, then live squid and big live baits like mullet or pike are the way to go.

Night fishing is a different matter, and while I’m sure that squid are still the best bait, they are hard to use because tailor and many other non-target species hammer them. Generally you can’t keep a bait in the water long enough to attract a mulloway. The good news is that tailor make great live baits so that if you do lose your squid baits to tailor at least you can put the tailor straight back out live. Don’t be scared to use big tailor for live bait, as even a 10kg mulloway will have no problem swallowing a 1kg tailor.

In North Harbour, try Fairlight Point, Reef Beach and Cannae Point. Through Middle Harbour the hole at the Spit, Killarney Point, Seaforth Bluff, Pickering Point and under the power lines above Roseville Bridge will be the places to start. In the Main Harbour head to Neilson Point, Clifton Gardens, the red marker inside South Head, Blues Point, Balls Head and the deep holes around Gladesville.

The mornings and evenings are starting to chill but water temperatures will remain high for quite a while after the land has cooled down. Due to the nature of the currents, winter in the water comes sometime after winter on the land. This means that our activity will slow down, regardless of the fact that there is still some excellent fishing to be had through May and June. I know it’s tough to drag yourself out of bed, but at least for the next month the fishing will still be worth the effort – especially on the lower reaches of the harbour where the currents have the most influence.

The shallow upper reaches are more affected by air temperature, and will have begun to start to shut down about mid-May. Although fish numbers will be down, this time of year has always accounted for the best quality fish of the season. My diary shows that April - June produced the biggest mulloway, flathead and particularly bream for last year. So if you are after trophy fish then now is the time to concentrate your efforts.

This time of year is also the season for mixed bags as the first of the winter species start to move in and mingle with the remnants of the summer fish.

These species include John dory, tailor, trevally, morwong and drummer. The dory have already started to make an appearance with the odd one picked up around Balmoral Beach and North Harbour.

There’s also some whopping flathead around at the moment that should continue into the cooler months. Flathead spend most of their lives buried up to their eyes in sand or mud. To their prey they are virtually undetectable and when you combine this with a cavernous needle lined mouth and lightning fast reflexes you come up with what could possibly be the ultimate piscatorial predator. This makes them very susceptible to lure fishing and big live baits.

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