Autumn madness in Pittwater
  |  First Published: April 2017

What a difference a few weeks can make in the world of fishing! Along Pittwater, fishing has certainly improved as well as out on Broken Bay and along the coast. Kingfish are finally showing themselves, and on most occasions they have been hungry. The usual scenario applies, and that is to get out and find some surface action at first light and then catch some squid, yellowtail or slimies to downrig for a decent kingfish on Pittwater.

The surface activity on Broken Bay is hard to pass up at the moment, with boils and activity coming from kings, bonito, salmon and tailor. Using metal lures in the 10-20g range will see you hauling them over the side. Remember to drift towards the surface activity with your motor off, and often the fish will come to you.

If you are going to cast out a soft plastic, be prepared for the toothy critters to rip it apart pretty quickly. If you want to target kings amongst the melee, I recommend using a popper instead. Not only is it a great visual way to fish that excites all anglers, it’s also cheaper than constantly replacing plastics.

If you use a 90g micro jig and work it near the bottom you may be lucky enough to tangle with a flathead or mulloway, as well as being in the hunt for those species that are smashing the surface. Drifting the areas where there is surface action using bait will also see a few decent fish caught. If you can remember to place a live bait out on the bottom as you drift and cast for surface feeders, you will have both bases covered.

Targeting squid along Pittwater will be a little trickier than in previous months, but the same areas are still producing a few. Barrenjoey Head on the ocean side of the headland seems to be one of the easier areas to pick up a few using paternoster rigs and drifting around the schools of baitfish.

On Pittwater Palm Beach weed beds, The Basin, Mackerel Beach and Careel Bay seem to be the better areas when targeting squid along Pittwater. The better coloured jigs to use still seem to be the fluoro colours for the cloth jigs, and the clear or pilchard coloured hardbodied jigs.

If you’re after yellowtail, you can get them at West Head, Box Head and Barrenjoey Head. Alternatively, if you are staying on Pittwater, Mackeral Beach and near Palm Beach ferry wharves will see a few rise in your berley trail. Next time you are catching some live baits, deploy the first one in mid-water and you may get a surprise visit from a rogue king or other pelagic species.

Once you have gathered enough bait to start chasing some yellow-tailed thugs, the areas to try are the Kingfish Highway, the Supermarket and around Scotland Island. The other area to try is at Towlers Bay. Cover your ground and watch the sounder for balled-up baitfish, and stay close by. The bigger kings seem to be popping up around the sporadic surface activity, so watch for localised bird activity.

For those of you that want to target flathead and suchlike, the Pittwater drop-off between Mackerel Beach and Palm Beach is seeing a few caught. If you want to cast a few soft plastics, Towlers Bay and Careel Bay are two great areas to start.

There are mulloway showing up on Pittwater, and they are best targeted on the change of the tide. Using a fine, oily berley trail in an area with current such as Stokes Point will see you in with a real chance. The better bait to use has been live squid, but I am sure a slab of bonito will also work a treat.

With all of the action on Broken Bay, the Flint and Steel area is starting to fire up. Anchoring at the edge of the reef will see a variety of fish caught. You can encounter mulloway, flathead, flounder, bream and trevally in this area, as well as passing schools of pelagic species. Use berley in a weighted berley bucket near the bottom as the current races through, and raise the berley bucket higher in the water column as the current backs off. By doing this, the change of the tide will see a hot bite if there are any fish lurking around the area.

The last month has seen decent fishing at Juno Point, Elanoras Bluff, The Middle Grounds and Walker Point. All of these areas are known mulloway areas, and produce other species as well. Whiting, bream, tailor and flathead are regularly caught in these areas by anglers waiting for a blistering mulloway run.

Along our part of the coast the kings are playing at most prominent headlands. The better fishing has been at Newport Reef, Barrenjoey Head, Whale Beach and Mona Vale Reef. Downrigging or slowly towing live baits on the surface has been the best way to find the hungry fish. While slowly trolling, just cast out poppers or soft plastics and create some surface activity to excite the fish. Squid strips are also catching fish once a school is found, which saves your live baits for when the next school needs to be found.

Fishing for snapper and other bottom-dwellers has also started to fire up in water depths of 30-60m. Finding baitfish before deploying lines is essential. The species that are being caught are a bit of a mixed bag, but there are snapper, morwong, the odd teraglin, flathead and trevally. If you head to the Ordinance Grounds there’s still the odd rock bar cod to be caught as well.

As you can see, the fishing has really picked up a notch or two, and it’s certainly worth dangling a line. If you want some help maximising your catch rates, feel free to call us so I can show you some of the great fishing on offer at the moment.

• Peter Le Blang operates Harbour and Estuary Fishing Charters, phone 02 9999 2574 or 0410 633 351, visit www.estuaryfishing charters.com.au

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