Room for improvement
  |  First Published: February 2006

This month will hopefully see fishing in Pittwater improve. We have warm water, heaps of baitfish but the predators are not that easy to find at times.

Most of the baitfish have been in the larger bays with The Basin and Towlers Bay the best. These areas have seen surface action first thing in the morning with tailor being the main culprits. Reasonable tailor are devouring metal lures with the 14g and 21g River 2 Sea whitebait colour working a treat. Work the lure deeper for the larger fish.

If you are persistent and stay around the bait schools, salmon and kingfish can also be caught.

The best bait for the kingfish by far is live squid. Trolled four metres down, they don’t last long if a school of kingfish is encountered.

The salmon can be caught using soft plastics or flies. Shaggy Mullet flies cast to the edge of a working school have been the undoing of many salmon.

If you wish to use flies on your conventional tackle, just buy a water bubble from your local tackle store. It’s amazing that a $2 product can save you spending hundreds of dollars purchasing fly gear.

All of the usual haunts for kingfish have been a bit quiet. We have caught fish at all of the wrecks along the river but the kingies are not holding in any area for any length of time. The season seems to be running a month later than normal and this can only mean that there is better fishing ahead.

The Wrecks seems to be the easiest place to catch bream and leatherjackets. Unweighted prawns work the best for bream and squid pieces on the jackets. Don’t touch your lines with bait on your hands because the jackets will bite it off. If you try for a kingfish in this area use yellowtail, which won’t be stripped by the leatherjackets.

The Kingfish Highway has a lot of baitfish but the captures of pelagic fish have been patchy. One day you will catch five fish but the next you may get none.

The Supermarket has yielded few fish but those that have been caught have been around 70cm. We are still encountering some larger fish in this area but with little room to move, landing a larger fish is a lottery.

West Head is the place to pick up rat kingfish around the schools of yellowtail and slimy mackerel. We have occasionally been lucky enough to catch a larger fish around 5kg. This area has fished best at the last of the run-out tide.


There are some nice flathead around the Mackeral Beach area and between Lion Island and West Head. Whitebait, yellowtail and pilchards are the baits to use. Remember that with larger baits you will catch larger flathead.

Try using a big metal jig with the trebles removed instead of a sinker – the flashy lure attracts the larger fish.

Squid have been pretty easy and are all along the river. Try areas that have broken ground with weed or dense weed beds. The best jig is the 2.5 size in brighter colours. I say brighter colours because squid are actually colour blind. Marine biologists have tested this theory in the lab and it is true.

Squid actually see in shades, as do some colour-blind people. I would be interested to see if all species of squid are actually colour blind.

Areas to try for squid are West Head, Barrenjoey Head, The Basin, Mackeral Beach, Portuguese Beach and Sand Point.

Anyone thinking of fishing the Palm Beach weed beds should be aware that the noxious Caulerpa weed has hit this area. Under no circumstances should you anchor in the area as it only takes a smallest portion of the plant to drift away and start a new one. Drift fishing should also be done with caution.

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