Double check before you take off for a fish
  |  First Published: November 2016

As the weather warms up, many anglers will think about going for a fish. Some anglers will grab their rod and reel outfits, put them into vehicles and grab a bit of bait. They take off to go fishing, and realise once that they’re there, the reel doesn’t work properly or the rod is missing a guide or maybe the line is has started to perish.

To avoid this happening, you should clean and service your gear before you put it away. It doesn’t take long to give the outfit a once over to check that everything’s in working order. It may be just a couple of turns of the reel to make sure the reel is working. If not, it would be a good idea to take it to your local tackle shop and get it serviced.

I fish all year round, so my outfits are cleaned and washed down after each outing. Before putting them away, I give the outfits a light spray with Inox and wipe them down with a rag. The Inox doesn’t damage the outfit or put the fish off the bite.

The next thing you should check out is whether you have enough terminal tackle in your box. If you don’t, get yourself down to your local tackle shop and stock up. You could do without sinkers and swivels, but there’s nothing worse than running out of hooks.

The Port Hacking River has been a bit on the dirty side, but the coming and goings of the tides should have cleaned up the water a fair bit. This cleaner water will start to bring in baitfish like pilchards, whitebait and glassies. This will bring the Australian salmon, tailor, bonito and kingfish. Make sure that you have a few small metals and soft plastics at the ready for when the bust-ups occur.

During November, you’ll find that the dusky flathead numbers start to increase as the females move down towards the entrance to spawn. Live poddy mullet, nippers and bloodworms would be my first choice for flathead, closely followed by strips of chicken, mullet, tuna and bonito. You could also try using whole and half pilchards. If you prefer to fish with artificials, don’t forget to use a slightly larger soft plastic like the Gulp 5” and 7” Shads and the 3” and 6.5” Nemesis. Most of all, don’t forget to mix up those colours.

Whiting will also increase in numbers throughout the Port Hacking River this month. Best baits have been blood, tube and beach worms, but don’t forget you can pump up to 100 pink nippers. Whiting can’t resist a well presented bait at the edge of a drop-off or over the flats. As the weather gets warmer, try using a few small surface poppers over the weed beds for bream, whiting and dusky flathead.

For those of you that can get offshore, sand flathead have been lining up in the 30-50m depth. There have been good catches of morwong, snapper, pigfish and leatherjackets on the close reefs just off Marley and Wattamolla. If you don’t have a boat to fish offshore, try a charter. Give Scotty Lyons a call or Roland Persson from All at Sea Charters.

The beaches from Stanwell Park in the south to Bondi in the north will fire up this month with whiting and bream during the day, and Australian salmon and tailor in early and late. The best bait by far is the beach worm. If you have trouble catching them, give Mac’s Bait Bar a call at Blakehurst and see if they have any in. If not, call Alex Bellissimo on 0408 283 616, book a morning with him and learn how to catch beach worms. Alex would have to be the best around.

The Georges River is producing whiting, bream, flounder and dusky flathead at the Moons. There are still a few luderick on the chew on green weed. Picnic Point is also worth a shot on the rising tide. If you’d like to try for a mulloway or two, get some fresh mullet or squid, head down to the Captain Cook, Tom Uglys, Como, Alfords Point or M5 bridges and get a line in the water. The best time to target them is an hour either side of the top or bottom of the tides.

Bass and estuary perch will start to take surface lures over the next few months. Dust off those poppers and surface walkers and get amongst a few.

Botany Bay has started to turn up the heat – whiting, dusky flathead, bream and the ever-reliable silver trevally will be at their usual haunts. Try the oil wharf and Bare Island on the run-out tide and the end of the third runway and wide off Towra Point on the run-in tide. Peeled prawns and pillie tails would be the go. You could also try using oily baits like mullet, tuna and bonito.

For more information on what’s going on in Southern Sydney, send me an email at --e-mail address hidden--


This proud angler caught a 50cm+ snapper the Humps off Stanwell Park.


Kingfish have started to show back up in the Port Hacking River. Keep an eye out for feeding birds.


Female flathead start to move downstream from the Georges River and into Botany Bay. This 80cm beauty was caught and released.

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