Post-holiday easy fishing
  |  First Published: February 2017

Now that the river has returned to some sort of normality after a busy holiday period, we can enjoy its serenity and great fishing. Flathead have been abundant throughout the main river and its tributaries this season for those using lures and baits.

Flathead are best found with a sounder. Look for a sharp drop off then position the boat to either cast lures or drop baits back over the edge. Prawns are doing the damage for the bait fishers while pumpkinseed, motor oil, watermelon and gold minnows and grubs have been the standouts for soft plastic fishos.

Bream have been a bit slow, as they have spread right up the tributaries. Anglers can expect to find these guys at the very top range of the salt water in the smaller creeks and rivers that flow into the Hawkesbury. Use Google Maps and small water craft like a canoe or kayak to get onto some real sweet water where you can expect to encounter bream, flathead and EPs in the same water!

The added bonus is that it’s fished less and shaded from the overhead tree canopies, so it’s far more enjoyable on those warmer days. Small surface lures, soft plastics and shallow running crankbaits are the lures of choice here. Slowly drift along and cast into all the likely shady pockets and snags that are often in 1-2m of water. This is as good as it gets in my books!

Bass have been a bit slow around the terraces with peak summer water temperatures. A lot of the smaller fish beat the bigger ones to your lures. Despite this there are still good fish to be had, especially at night with surface lures. There are quite a number of locations that are accessible by land, but the best method is to drift in a boat or canoe/kayak casting over the weed beds and adjacent open water.

There have been good reports of quality fish from the Nepean Gorge, thanks to the fish ladder at the weir and the decent rain we had during late winter and early spring, which triggered a good upstream migration this season. A lot of fish also made it into the sweet water streams, so a good hike into the headwaters should be well rewarded with some skinny water battlers.

Back down in the brackish reaches around Wisemans Ferry, mulloway, flathead and the odd bream and EP have been caught. The mulloway are only small, but are in good numbers and the bigger schoolies shouldn’t be too far off, coming back upstream after their summer spawn run.

Berowra has been fishing well with a couple of recent charters getting a stack of flathead and occasional bream using small wriggler soft plastics and 3.5g blades around the artificial structure and drop offs. The flats will be firing right now, so it’s time to get those small surface poppers and stickbaits out. Long casts and stealth are required when pursuing whiting and bream around the shallows. I often find it better to get out and walk – it’s less noticeable to the fish and the catch rates increase.

Speaking of surface feeding antics, pelagics will be kicking into gear with small frigates and mac tuna darting about the harbours and bays. Kingfish will be on the headlands or patrolling Pittwater and Cowan. Flat lining and down rigging have been successful for the kingfish over the last month and should continue as long as the warm water hangs in close.

It pays to have a small 2-4kg outfit rigged and ready with a 7-10g metal slug or soft plastic stickbait for those mini tuna that can pop up for ten seconds then disappear in an instant. They make great live baits for XOS fish or fantastic fillet baits for a big mulloway, shark or kingfish.

Bonito and tailor have been up to their usual bait stealing while down rigging and trolling for the kings. Most are a welcome surprise for my clients and their arms thank them for it.

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