The weather may have started to cool down a bit from those scorching hot days in the latter part of January and in the early weeks of February, but the fishing will still be hot in Southern Sydney.
Salmon, tailor and mulloway have been coming in off the beaches from Wanda to Boat Harbour in the north during the early hours of the morning. The best baits have been whole pilchards and fresh squid.
Marley, Garie and Wattamolla beaches in the Royal National Park will be worth a shot during the day for bream and dart. Just remember to check the opening and closing times of the gates at these beaches, as they do change throughout the year.
Further south you could try Stanwell Park and Coalcliff beaches for bream, dart and the odd salmon and tailor. Beach worms and blood worms work for the bream and dart, and whole pilchards are the most effective bait for the tailor and salmon.
Around Botany Bay and the middle to lower half of the Port Hacking you will be able to chase bream, tailor, Australian salmon, kingfish, dusky flathead, whiting and mulloway. Further upstream in the Georges River you should mainly concentrate on dusky flathead, bream, mulloway and the odd luderick or two.
If you are targeting trevally in Botany Bay, I find that silver trevally tend to prefer to feed more actively in the cleaner waters rather than discoloured and muddy waters. It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s the run-up or run-out tide. To stay with this cleaner water, I pull up the anchor about three to four times and move my position during the run-out. If there has been a lot of rain and the water is very discoloured, you will need to chase the cleaner water to have the best chance of success.
This can mean that instead of pulling up anchor and moving about three or four times on the run-out tide, I sometimes have to move up to seven times just to stay with the cleaner water. On the start of the run-out tide I might start near the drop-off at Towra Point, then move to the sticks, the deep water at the Drums, Trevally Alley, Bare Island and then finish off at Henry Head.
If you are after a few dusky flathead, I would try drifting along the shoreline from the entrance to the Cooks River to Dolls Point. The best baits would be whitebait, half pilchards, pink nippers and blood worms. You could also try pieces of chicken fillet.
For the land-based anglers, try both sides of the bridges at Taren Point, Blakehurst, Como and Alfords Point. Bream, dusky flathead and plenty of small tailor are about.
In the Georges River, you could try either side of the old punt at Lugarno, the Moons, the Georges River State Park (parking here costs money), the M5 bridge and Cattle Duffers. Bream, whiting, flathead, mud crabs, flounder and the odd mulloway can be caught here. Try using a strip of mullet or tuna, or use whole or half pilchards.
In the Port Hacking, there are plenty of trevally, bream and whiting. The two main rigs that I use when chasing any of these species are a small running ball sinker down on the top of the bait, and a running sinker (no. 2-4) onto a swivel and a fluorocarbon leader of approximately 1-1.5m in length.
If you target bream and flathead and the water is a bit discoloured, change the types of baits you use. As many of you know, I love using peeled Hawkesbury River prawns, but I find that when there is a fair amount of fresh in the water, the peeled prawns will go soft and also turn very pale. They lose their natural texture, smell and looks.
This is the time when I don’t peel my prawns, but leave them whole. To help keep them on the hook, I do a couple of half hitches around the tail.
Other baits that I prefer to use are chicken and mullet gut that has been soaked in a small amount of tuna oil, chicken strips marinated in Parmesan cheese and strips of fresh tuna and mullet.
When I chase bream and flathead with hardbodied lures, blades and soft plastics when the water is discoloured, I slow down the speed that I work the artificials. Additionally, I always apply a spray scent or gel. Try and think the same as you would when using bait. I sometimes cast out a blade and just let it sit on the bottom, only to have a fish pick it up and swim off with it.
Whenever I bait fish from the shore or out of a boat, I always berley with whole chicken, dog pellets, mashed-up white bread or pilchard cubes. When it comes to fishing in dirty water, I put a small amount of water into a bucket, drop in the chicken pellets and white bread and let them soak for a while. I will then add mashed-up pilchards to the mix. Once this is all mixed up together I will then make them into small balls. This size is somewhere between a tennis ball and a golf ball.
You will need to get the mix to the right consistency, so it doesn’t ooze through your finger or break up. It’s then just a matter of throwing out a couple of balls every five minutes.
Don’t let March go by without getting out for a fish. If you have some pictures of fish that you have caught and you would like to get them in the NSWFM magazine, all you need to do is send them to me at --e-mail address hidden-- with what you caught it on and where you caught it. For example, you may have caught a dusky flathead on a ZMan soft plastic wide off Towra Point.Reads: 735