Kings checkmate on the reefs in August
  |  First Published: August 2016

Some serious water temperature drops have invaded Sydney’s north side this month with most of our winter species arriving in good numbers and all on the lookout for a feed! Big schools of salmon, slimy mackerel, tailor and trevally are frequenting local reefs and shorelines with plenty of reports flowing in. Winter is one of the better times of year to catch fish. It’s all about changing target species and tactics, follow these tips to keep you in the zone to catch some good fish during the colder months.

The offshore scene is still quieter than preferred on the tuna front but as we all know, when the fish arrive the season goes off with a bang. Some reports of yellowfin are filtering through with fish up to 65kg. Although the fish are located quite wide, most reports have come from the bigger boats. The westerly breezes always flatten the sea at this time of year, which gets a lot more trailer boat anglers into the action.

The local inshore reefs are absolutely alive with trevally, kingfish, snapper and teraglin. Long Reef and the 12-Mile Reef have produced some good kings that take live and dead bait. Luke Ashley headed out with the Oceanhunter guys and had a mad session on the hoodlum fish recently. Fishouttawater junior staff member Zane Levett has been getting into the fish and has landed a number of good teraglin during a midday session. Peter Binks and David Rothwell landed some good-sized winter kings using live yakkas for bait. They hooked some great fish to 102cm, while some of the bigger models earned their freedom with serious runs to the bottom. Surface casting stickbaits has proved to be a popular winter technique, and small boat anglers targeting kingfish, spinning outfits in the 50-80lb range has become a popular practice with lures averaging up to 150g in weight. Floating and sinking versions of these lures are popular, but don’t forget the old popper still attracts plenty of attention – there’s nothing like a visual surface strike from a big fish.

Harbour fishers have been catching some good squid around the harbour entrance and some decent flathead inside Manly from Quarantine to the heads. The current conditions have the bream going nuts so be sure to fish deep and get below the freshwater to the salt using a good berley trail to entice them – strip fillet baits and half pilchards lightly weighted have been successful. Target species aren’t always available, so be prepared to catch other fish like trevally as schools of them are moving into and around our estuaries. Simple rig changes and line class reductions are often all that is required to have a successful trip. Dropping water temperatures will bring certain species on the chew, as well as turn some off as Simon Peters found out while chasing flatties at Balmoral. After working plastics on the bottom for an hour Simon started a berley trail, which after only 5-minutes was stacked five fish high with trevally. A quick rig change to an unweighted hook with some yakka fillet on it and a mad session commenced. A dozen trevally were landed in 25-minutes with a few kept for the plate – keeping an open mind soon turned nothing into something.

The beaches are really turning it on this winter and it is well worth rugging up and heading out for a session. Rob Haslam and Tim Ossington fished Dee Why for an early evening beach trip recently and weren’t disappointed, as there were some good fish to be caught. The guys used mullet fillets for bait and landed salmon, flathead and tailor in a 3 hour session where bites were frequent. Taking a couple of outfits will double your chances when the bite is slow and it’ll give you the option of trying different baits and working different depths. It also pays to move around, fish are opportunistic feeders and it normally doesn’t take too long for them to find your bait.

Our rock platforms have been quiet, which I expect is due to the recent pounding from the swell. But we are still getting frequent reports of kings, salmon and tailor. Remember, safety is paramount when you front the ocean’s angriest edge, fishing in pairs and rock boots are a given at most locations. If you seek any further information on fishing the stones don’t hesitate to call, as we are more than happy to educate on all factors involved – on (02) 9949 9488.
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