Starting to fire
  |  First Published: November 2016

Last month the fishing was sporadic again along Pittwater and Broken Bay. With the colder water behind us, it’s time to grab the rods and a handful of lures and hit the water.

This month we should start to see some larger kingfish become more active along the length of Pittwater. Normally each year, these fish can be seen first thing in the morning, cruising the edge of the weed beds hunting squid and ultra-small baitfish. We should also see schools of salmon and tailor on the surface first thing in the morning along Pittwater and Broken Bay on the high tide.

When chasing kingfish at this time of the year, it can be tricky to find them and get them to bite once found. This means that if you’re going to chase kingfish along Pittwater, you really have to cover your bases and take a variety of baits with you. It’s best to collect live squid and yellowtail before you start chasing the kingies. Downrigging is the most productive way to catch kingfish at this time of the year. Downrigging gives you the ability to cover a lot of ground with your bait presented mid water until a school of baitfish has been found.

If these baitfish are balled up or look like a soccer ball on your sounder, they’re under threat from larger predators. It’s worth setting your baits on your downrigger at the depth the school of baitfish have been found. Areas to catch yellowtail and sometimes slimy mackerel are at West Head, Mackerel Beach and Lion Island. Berley is required at the moment to attract yellowtail to your boat, but be careful with the amount of berley you do put in the water, as there’s a lot of mado and sweep when too much berley is in the water.

Areas to target squid the moment are the usual bays of Towlers Bay, Mackerel Beach, Palm Beach weed beds and on the ocean side of Barrenjoey Head. Squid are tricky at the moment. Some days we’re finding them eager to pounce on jigs, other days they’re mysteriously absent. If you’re having one of those days when you can’t find a squid there are things you can do to increase your chances.

The first is the easiest – simply apply scent to your jig just above the spikes. Another easy way to attract squid from further away is to grab one of your live yellowtail and hook it through the shoulder above lateral line. Place your rod in a rod holder and have the yellowtail swimming just below the surface so it pops up onto the surface every now and then. Keep an eye on this area as squid are generally aggressive and will steal your live yellowtail if you’re not watching. This method works extremely well over areas such as Palm Beach weed beds.

The areas to try for kingfish at the moment are changing every day, but the western side of Pittwater seems to be holding more fish than the moorings on the eastern side. This can change overnight as the season progresses. A lot of these fish will use the wrecks and mooring areas of Pittwater to hunt. Fishing on the bottom along Pittwater at the moment is trying to say the least. The shallow areas seem to be where most of the activity is happening with species such as flathead, bream and flounder encountered on the incoming tides. Better baits to use for these species at the moment are whitebait, fresh yellowtail fillets, prawns and of course, nippers.

Offshore fishing at the moment seems to be a little bit easier than fishing along the rivers. Along our coast, we’re starting to see some kingfish show up and there are big fish amongst them. Areas to try over the coming month will be West Reef, East Reef, Barrenjoey Head, Newport Reef and just about every reef to Sydney. If there are kingfish in an area, there’s usually some activity on the surface first thing in the morning. The better baits to use when chasing kingfish along the coast are yellowtail or slimy mackerel on most occasions. When the kingies are on the surface this is prime time to use poppers, soft plastics and other lures. Not only do you catch a lot of fish most the time, it’s visual as well, which adds another element to the excitement of catching kingies.

If you’re after a feed offshore, there are a number of species to be found. There are blue-spot flathead moving in over the sand, and they should be encountered over the next month in the 50m water mark. The closer reefs of 30m are seeing some snapper before sunrise along with nannygai, morwong and trevally. Out a little wider at the 60m mark, there are snapper pouncing on micro-jigs as well as flathead around the edges of the reef.

When fishing offshore, try and find signs of life on the bottom before sending your lines over the side of the vessel. When you find a patch of baitfish near the bottom, make sure you plot your path with your sounder so you can drift back over the area again once the bite thins out. As you can see, it’s worth getting out on the water to enjoy wonderful weather and catch a feed of fish for your family. Remember to limit your catch, not catch your limit.

I hope this report helps you get onto some fish in the coming months.


This lovely flathead was caught at the edge of the reef in 60m of water.


Bream of this size are haunting the shallower water.


Monster squid like this one are still being caught around the Basin.

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