Fishing along Pittwater and Broken Bay has been a little tricky to say the least over the last month. Over the next month, we’ll see better fishing, if you’re prepared to put up with the chilly mornings.
The next month or two should see the salmon schools arrive in Pittwater and Broken Bay. With all the surface activity, other species liven up as well. Normally, there should be salmon, but we’ll also see tailor and the odd kingfish show up as well.
The water temperature along the coast and in Broken Bay is reasonable, but when travelling into the rivers, there’s a noticeable decrease in temperature. With the run-in tide bringing all the warmer water into Broken Bay, the mouth of Pittwater is a great place to start fishing.
If you’re on the water first thing in the morning, watch for working birds that will give away where fish are feeding. When you approach the schools of fish, it’s important to use stealth. Place your boat upwind of the schools and most of the time, if you turn your motors off, schools will work towards you. In the past, we’ve had schools of baitfish take cover hard up against our boat hull. This certainly attracts the predators, sometimes you don't even have to cast out to hook-up.
If the schools are playing hardball on the surface, try allowing your lure to sink before the retrieve. When the tailor and salmon no longer interest you, drop a few baits over the side, or lures, and work the bottom. There are normally flathead, trevally, sometimes bream, and if you're lucky, a mulloway lurking.
Quite often, anglers are so fixated with surface activity that we forget to throw a bait or two, to see if there’s something bigger beneath. It can be a pain to remember when charging from one school to another, but it’s worth it, especially near live bait.
There are some kingfish still in Pittwater, but with the huge difference in temperatures, it’s best to target them on the rising tide. As usual, the fish encountered at this time of year are larger specimens. They didn't get that way because they eat everything that goes past them. These cagey beasts need to be fed small live calamari, if you can find both predator and prey. For kingfish, try areas along the bays of Pittwater. You need to cover a lot of ground to find an interested fish, but once the fish are on board, time is well spent.
Small yellowtail are in, with a good chance of being swallowed. Small cuttlefish are definitely worth tracking down. Small cuttlefish are difficult to find and catch. With patience, a good pair of sunglasses and some confidence, on most occasions you will find a few. Try the rocky foreshores along the river and smaller jigs around 1.8g.
Unfortunately, cuttlefish can be reluctant to rise more than a metre off the bottom. This can equate to lost jigs, so make sure you take a few backups. Not only are these little ink machines difficult to find, but also difficult to keep on the jigs. They spin like a helicopter and somehow de-hook themselves on many occasions. As mentioned, they’re ink machines, so make sure you’re not fond of your clothes. Prepare for a big clean up on the boat.
There are big squid to be caught along Pittwater, in the deeper weed beds especially. If you can get out to Barrenjoey Head, there are nice specimens to be caught while drifting, once a patch of baitfish is located near the bottom. The natural colours, or flashy pilchard types are the better jigs to use, if you’re using hardbodies.
Offshore, it’s been a lot easier to catch a feed. Although the bite is patchy, there have been great snapper caught on the closer grounds, in water depths of less than 30m and before the sun rises. The deeper reefs have seen good captures of snapper, morwong, flathead, trevally and even kingfish. It’s important to find baitfish before deploying your lines, so that you will be in with a better chance at a catch.
The reefs in water depths of 20-40m are worth targeting, on the way to water depths around 80m. If you find fish in the first couple spots you visit, stay in the area until the fishing slows. Try drifting the edge of the reefs wherever possible if you can't find baitfish to drop on. The edge of the reef will give you the best possible chance to catch the above list of fish.
Areas to try at the moment are Avalon Reef, Reggies, Mona Vale Reef first thing in the morning. As the morning progresses, try the Container, Esmeralda Wreck, the Ordinance Ground, the trap grounds off Broken Bay and the drifting grounds off Long Reef. Normal baits of pilchards or squid are working great. Take a handful of prawns as pan sized snapper love them, so do morwong, trevally and others.
Grab a beanie and jumper, and hit the water to enjoy our wonderful part of the coast.
Big squid like this one are sitting on the edge of weed beds, near deep water.
Jazz with a lovely big flounder caught near the mouth of Pittwater.
Dinner or bait? This one survived to be dinner.