Winter has finally caught up with us. There’s a distinctive hill in the air, and the water temperature is hovering around 14-15°C. This has obviously reduced the number of anglers trying their luck, but there’s always a loyal band of passionate diehards who brave the cold weather and reap the rewards.
This is the case in the upper reaches of Georges River, where bag limits of luderick have been the norm. Locals are cashing in on the run of fish between 30-35cm, with the odd 40cm specimen appearing in catches. I’m told the feeding habits have changed, with tides dictating terms. Land-based spots are the way to go, with the fishing no more than two boat lengths from the shore.
The rocky shoreline just downstream from the Alfords Point bridge is called Blackbutt, and it’s a good run-in ground. The further you get back from the point, the better. This has been the premier spot, with consistent catches right throughout the month. Other spots which have produced include Russell Jones, which has a permanent eddy right underneath the overhead wires; Bakers Rock on the other side of the river opposite Little Moon Bay; Lambeth Reserve along Henry Lawson Drive; Mickeys Point; and the wire fence.
Green weed has been at a premium, and almost impossible to find. Anglers have had to travel long distances to gather enough for a day’s fishing. One location which stands out, and which is not fished a lot, is Como Railway Bridge. For land-based anglers, either end of the bridge can be good to try, so long as the tides are not too big. Boaters will find the third pylon on the northern side the prime spot during the last of the run-in tide. This spot is best fished from off the pylon blocks on the bridge itself, where you can tie your boat alongside and fish in complete comfort.
Chipping Norton Lake to Liverpool Weir is another area which has been fishing particularly well for bream and flathead. Mainly fished from small boats and kayaks, this stretch has enormous potential as there is plenty of food in the shape of squirt worms, prawns and small poddy mullet for the fish to chase. There are several well-maintained boat ramps only a short distance from the fishing grounds.
You should also give Homestead Park a try. This is a long, rocky finger of land which extends into the lake. This is possibly the most consistent possie in the system, and all species can be taken here. There’s good country at Strong Park and along Wildlife Island as well. Rowley Park, Cabramatta Creek and William Long Bridge are good places to pump shirt worms, especially near the mangroves. Two Pipes Bend just upstream is another great spot.
The Woronora River, which has its entrance on the upstream side of Como Bridge, has been fishing well for school bream, luderick and the odd large flathead. Bonnet Bay has been the standout location and is a proven spot. I recommend that you fish side-on to the current on a run-out tide anywhere between the mouth of the bay and the front of the houses 100m downriver. Berley heavily and the fish will find you.
Another area which has been producing top catches of bream, whiting and flathead has been the stretch between Pelican Point and Towra Point. Peter McCormick, one of the local top rods, has been getting 12-20 mixed species per trip. Peter uses only live nippers, which he pumps from Douglas Park flats on the low tide, and fishes the incoming flow. At times he is in water that’s only 1ft deep, but that’s where the fish are. This is an area worth exploring as the sand keeps on shifting and new corridors are formed regularly, creating feeding passages for the fish. The old oyster leases behind Charters Island are always worth a try, as stud bream lurk here. However, they are difficult to land due to the rugged terrain.
The fishing in the bay itself hasn’t been too bad, with plenty of trevally and tailor on offer. The artificial reefs in Yarra Bay have been the main providers, with fish up to 45cm taking peeled prawns and ganged pilchards.
The same applies to the structures in Congwong Bay and Astrolabe Cove, with the latter providing bycatches of calamari squid on the weed bottom.
Yarra Bay continues to provide dusky flathead on the drift, with the eastern side the most productive. The 70cm Squidgy Pro Fish in grasshopper has been doing all the damage, especially when coupled with a 3/8oz, 2/0 jighead.
The airport runways have been fairly quiet, with only trumpeter whiting and the odd bream taken. The kings have disappeared, and may be found in Cooks River just above the road bridge.
The mulloway are still on at the Marsh Street bridge, and are taking 4” PowerBait Minnows in watermelon pearl, cast as close to the bridge as possible. The bridge is in close proximity to the Kyeemagh boat ramp and always fishes well at this time of year.
The offshore scene has been very good, with Browns Mountain the hot spot. Bianca Charters has been bagging out on gemfish and getting blue-eye trevalla to 28kg. For anyone that hasn’t had a feed of blue-eyes, you don’t know what you’re missing!
The only drawback is the number of boats which frequent this bump, so it may be better to fish during the week if you can. Other alternatives on the way include the Plonk Hole and Dumping Grounds. You should be able to get a feed of big Chinaman leatherjackets there.
The Pear has been the surprise packet with good catches of kingfish to 85cm reported consistently. This is good news for the smaller boats, which can get there in only 20 minutes from Botany Heads.
The charter boats have been doing well on blue-spot flathead with the Maroubra Wide, Mistral Point and Botany Heads faring well. The fish are not large, averaging 45cm, but there is no shortage of them. Prawns, strips of squid and pilchards are doing the job here.
The westerly winds will dictate your location and I would suggest Woolooware Bay as your best option. Target flathead, bream and whiting, in that order. The main time to fish for bream is on the big tides, as this sees them coming off the oyster leases as the water drops. Fish the channels any time of the tide or at any time of day, but leave the night fishing alone.
Flathead are the best picked up by drifting anywhere in the bay, depending on the tide and the wind. Just off Pelican Point there is a deep hole where good school mulloway can be taken. Bream and whiting will also fall for bloodworm bait.
Other options include the drift between Tom Uglys and Captain Cook bridges. The northern side of the river is the most productive with school flathead around the 1/2kg mark taking Hawkesbury prawns. This is a good spot to take the family and enjoy the day.
If you’re heading upriver, the Moons are your destination. They are sheltered from most winds and offer both deep and shallow water options. Luderick, bream, whiting and flathead can be taken in good numbers in relative comfort.
If you’re land-based, try the back of the tennis courts on Washington Drive, Bonnet Bay. This is a narrow stretch of the Woronora which produces consistently. It’s a very safe spot with a lot of possibilities. For the best results use live bait such as bloodworms or nippers.
The entrance and bridge at Cooks River produces many species. I have taken big whiting to 800g during the incoming tide using bloodworms on the southern side of the river approximately 100m upstream of the main road bridge. It’s a very comfortable possie, and if you want to brave the elements head to the northern side directly opposite for similar catches but during the outgoing tide at night.
I would suggest that you lower the breaking strain of your leaders a kilo or two. I have found that 2kg is ideal for bream and whiting, and 4kg is excellent for flathead. For school mulloway, 6kg is perfect. Sure, you may lose a few fish, but if you set your drag properly on your reel your losses should be minimal.
Your lead should be just enough to hold the bottom. I’ve found that a moving bait will account for many more fish.
Should you require further information, feel free to ring me at Gabe’s Boating & Fishing on 02 4647 8755 and I’ll be happy to answer your questions.Reads: 402