Mackerel add to the mix
  |  First Published: December 2007

This is a very productive time of year and we have already caught shark mackerel and spotted mackerel in Pittwater and Broken Bay.

The first shark mackerel showed up in late October and over the following weeks more were encountered as they moved along the river. The most recent one caught was at Sand Point where it ate a blue Rapala CD9 trolled at five knots. No wire was used because these fish were shying away from lures with wire attached.

These fish are on the surface at the start of the day but settle into deeper water as the sun rises.

Quite a few kingfish have been caught as well and everyone hopes the trend will continue.

The kingfish have been on fire some days but are travelling along the river, are easily spotted in the faint light of piccaninny sunrise. After their morning raids these fish return to deeper water and become harder to find.

Once they are located, though, these fish are not shy to take what they think is a free feed. West Head, Barrenjoey Head and the area from West Head to Longnose Point have all produced some very nice fish.

Last week Matthew McCartney, his father, Wayne, and father in-law Phil came aboard and we started out chasing a school of kingfish busting up the surface near Scotland Island.

The fish were all undersized but were a lot of fun on the Wave Worm Anaconda lures and 8lb mono. Our tactics were simple: Catch a few fish on soft plastics and squid strips and then, as the kings headed to deeper water, we would hunt for more squid to have another crack at them.

The squid were tough and with the only two we caught towed behind us, the change of the tide saw Longnose Point come to life with a double hook-up. In the red corner, portside, Wayne hooked up on 15kg Platypus Lo-Stretch mono and in the green corner, starboard, Matthew was struggling with a larger fish on 30lb Platypus Braid.

Both of these fish played dirty and to drive a boat when they were heading in opposite directions was a no-win situation so we sat and played the fish from a still boat.

After a solid five-minute fight, a 74cm fish was hoisted aboard and after another few minutes finally Matthew’s 80cm specimen was within net range. After some photos, the last of our squid strips were placed out on the downrigger and on the next pass over the same spot the biggest fish of the day decided it would show Phillip what kings are really capable of.

On the 20lb mono outfit the big fish took off after and left Phillip shaking on the floor. The drag on the Charter Special was set at 5kg strike and after retrieving the shredded leader Phillip tried to pull line off the reel but struggled.

After this lost fish the bite stopped and the rest of the school must have followed the lost fish to goodness knows where.


The squid remain a little hard to locate. Normally at this time of the year there would be quite a few around Barrenjoey Head, West Head, Mackeral Beach and The Basin but they are coming out to play only when they want.

The better areas seem to be Taylors Point, Careel Bay and Sand Point. Jigs in brighter colours are working well and the smaller, lighter jigs stay in the strike zone longer and therefore are working a treat.

While squidding in areas like Sand Point and Taylors Point, have a soft plastic or bait ready because kingies are showing up in 1m of water to harass squid and baitfish.

You also could do worse than throw around some soft plastics along the sand flats in Pittwater for flathead. The last hour of the tide run-out tide provides the best bite. The deep holes and drop offs are the areas to target the bigger fish.

Drifting for flathead is best done at the mouth of Pittwater or near Mackeral Beach. If you chose the Mackeral Beach drift, ensure you have a sealable plastic bag on board to store the menacing Caulerpa taxfolia weed that will get caught on your hook.

Other flathead areas include between Flint and Steel and Lion Island and between Umina and Box Head. Yellowtail and pilchards are the best baits.

The bream fishing in Pittwater is really picking up for those that catch live nippers or bloodworms. Best areas include West Head of a night, among the moorings at Bayview, Salt Pan Bay and McCarrs Creek. Burly is necessary to get the fish on the bite but then they can become ravenous.

Bloodworms are also catching some great whiting on the drift in Towlers Bay. Your hard-earned nippers will become victim to the masses of small snapper but once you come across the whiting, it all becomes worthwhile.

If you are coming to Pittwater, bring a crab trap along. Some very nice blue swimmers are being caught along the weed edges at Mackeral Beach, Towlers Bay and McCarrs Creek with fresh fish frames the best bait but a can of tuna also works.

Peter Le Blang operates Harbour & Estuary Fishing Charters out of Pittwater, phone 02 9999 2574 or visit www.estuaryfishingcharters.com.au.




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