Festive family fishing time
  |  First Published: December 2016

Firstly, have a very safe and happy festive season filled with plenty of quality family and, of course, fishing time! Here’s what should be on offer from the ocean heads to the head waters.

Kingfish will be starting to make their presence known around Cowan Creek, Pittwater and the headlands. Live squid and yellowtail are the standout baits fished on the drift at anchor or down rigging.

Cast small soft plastics and metals on light spin tackle at surface feeding fish. Wheeling seagulls, turns and rapidly diving cormorants are a dead giveaway for some excellent sportfishing fun ahead. Blue swimmer crabs and the odd mud crab will be on offer for those setting traps and witches hats. Try the feeder creeks and upper reaches towards Wisemans for the muddies and the lower reaches of Broken Bay, Cowan and Berowra for the blue swimmers.

Please think about where you set your witches hat nets. Make sure they have enough rope to allow for high and low tide, and are out of the main current flow and high traffic areas. Fresh fish frames or heads from the previous trip make great trap baits. Alternatively, a fresh mullet from your local bait and tackle shop will still get the crabs interested.

Bream are abundant on the rock walls and reefs. Fresh pumped live nippers, live prawns and live crabs are the stand out baits on light leaders around 6-10lb. For those that like a more active approach, small soft plastics and deep crankbaits cast tight to structure and worked with twitches and pauses will bring some great blue nose bruisers undone. They’ll be pushing right up into the upper tidal reaches at this time of year, so don’t be afraid to paddle some skinny water for your bream fix.

Flathead will be revelling in the warm bait-rich estuarine waters and can be encountered from Broken Bay to Windsor at this time of year. They’re suckers for many different presentations from soft plastics, vibes, trolled or cast crankbaits to live baits of poddy mullet, tailor, yellowtail and prawns. Let’s not forget frozen prawns and pillies too! The biggest key is finding a nice drop off, creek mouth or reef edge to tempt your quarry. Use your sounder or a good set of polarised lenses to lead you to the most productive spots.

Estuary perch will be in the upper tidal water from Wisemans Ferry to North Richmond and holding in the many back eddies on the rock walls, weed beds and reefs. Try small 2-3” soft plastic grubs, minnows or paddle-tails on the run-out tide for best results.

You may encounter the odd tidal water bass while targeting perch. Most anglers enjoy the novelty. The main concentration of bass is right up into the sweetwater creeks that house the slower pool water. Trekking into small creeks on a day trip or pushing into the upper Nepean Gorge with a boat or kayak has been productive. You may even encounter the odd surviving trout that came down in the winter dam releases.

For an easy, quick family outing, a land-based session in the freshwater reaches from one of the many publicly accessible parks or wharves can yield good results using a simple bread bait fished on light line down a berley trail of bread. Minimal weight, if any, will get you more bites from species like mullet, herring (sprat), eel-tailed catfish and carp. The odd bass has been known to get in on the action at times too.

All in all, it’s a great month to wet a line and catch up on quality family and friend time. I’ll catch you in the new year!


Kingfish will be on many anglers’ Christmas wish lists. This one was caught from a surface bust up on light spin tackle and a soft plastic minnow.


Big bream are suckers for many different techniques, using light line for your chosen technique will be a good start to fooling fish of this calibre.


Big mulloway will be hunting Broken Bay this month. Big live and cut baits will be the best bet at tempting them.

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