For many anglers, Port Hacking can be one of the hardest estuaries on the east coast of NSW to fish. Fishing it during the month of June, when the water is usually very clear, will make it even harder.
With the right approach though, you’ll do fine. All you need to do is keep it very simple and be prepared to move around a bit, and you will go home with a feed of fish. This goes if you are in a boat or off the shore. A number of times when I have been targeting leatherjackets and luderick in Port Hacking from the shore, I have had to move around to find the fish. Once you have located them you will know where to come back to on your next trip.
As an example, just the other day I started off fishing the baths at Gunnamatta Bay, then moved to Wallys Wharf, then onto Lilly Pilly Baths only to end up at the baths in Gymea Bay. Sure, I had to pack up and travel each time, but I went home with a few fish for tea.
The key to success the Port Hacking River is having quality baits. In no particular order, you should look at buying bloodworms, pink nippers, Hawkesbury River prawns, pilchards and chicken breast.
If you are going to catch your own bait you could pump your own nippers, go float fishing to catch sand mullet and garfish, or use a poddy mullet trap to catch poddy mullet. Cunje, crabs, green weed and cabbage can be collected off the rocks for drummer, groper, bream and luderick. Beach worms can be caught off a number of ocean beaches in the shire.
Make sure that you check out the NSW Fisheries regulations before you go, as there are a number of restrictions. For example, Shiprock is an aquatic reserve and Gunnamatta Bay has no pumping for pink nippers. You’ll find the regulations at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing.
If you are going to use bait and anchor in the Port Hacking, use berley every time. Once again you just need to keep it simple. All I use is either chicken pellets, white bread or old leftover pilchards. What’s even better is that you don’t need to have a berley bucket attached to your boat.
A small fine-netted bag with bread and pilchards, one of those metal berley cages, or your hand will do the job. Just remember, less is better.
If you are fishing out of a boat and you are after a few bream, trevally and luderick you could try the deeper water between the Ballast Heap and the nearby port marker, the drop-off on the northern side of the Lilly Pilly flats, the eastern and western sides of Yowie Bay, Gooseberry Bay in South West Arm, the northern side of North West Arm and Bonnie Vale.
For those of you fishing from the shore you could try Gunnamatta, Lilly Pilly and Gymea Baths, Lilly Pilly Point, Dee Ban Spit, the sand flats in Gunnamatta Bay, Jibbon Beach and the rocky shoreline from Sandshoes to Cronulla Point. Good catches of squid have been coming in from here as well.
The luderick are running in numbers at the moment in the Port Hacking. Whiting, bream, dart, tailor and salmon are being caught off Wanda and Greenhills beaches. Beach worms and blood worms have been the best baits. You could also try strips of mullet, tuna and pilly tails. Kurnell rocks are worth a shot for bream, trevally, drummer and luderick.
Close inshore you could try trolling for Australian salmon, tailor, kingfish and bonito close in behind the washes. Try trolling live squid, yellowtail or slimy mackerel. You could also try trolling whole pilchards and garfish, strips of squid or mullet. Overcast days, early morning and late afternoons will usually produce the better results. Small metal lures would also be worth a try.
Take the walk to Marley Beach for salmon and tailor off the beach. Whole pilchards and garfish are the go. If it is calm enough you could try fishing off the rocks for bream and trevally. Stanwell Park and Garie beaches have been producing bream, whiting, tailor and salmon on pilchards, mullet strips, worms and pink nippers.
If you don’t mind a bit of a walk you could trek into Burning Palms. Remember when leaving your car, you will need to have a parking permit from the Royal National Park. You will need to take all your bait in with you and make sure that you bring out all your rubbish.
Further south you could try Coalcliff Beach for bream and tarwhine. Coalcliff Point has been producing bream, trevally, yellowtail, squid, luderick and drummer.Reads: 645