Looking back, it was a very slow start to the season with the holiday break producing very few fish. However, the season is in full swing now and fish are coming in from everywhere!
Anglers getting multiple catches of snapper amongst other fish have been employing a continual stream of berley. I recommend Newport Reef, East Reef Wide, Southerners and most of the drop-offs off Long Reef, especially Jurassic Park and Good Property. Red spot whiting, although small, are still very tasty and are showing on some of the flathead drift grounds like Mona Vale and Narrabeen.
If you’re after leatherjackets, the Wrecks off Narrabeen will have them in good supply in March. Fish long-shank hooks on dropper rigs baited with peeled prawn.
The tides, wind and currents have been all over the place in recent months and it’s been hard to position and keep boats over drop-offs and pinnacles etc. Drifters have fared better with catches of nannygai from Newport Reef Wide and the Slaughterhouse off Mona Vale.
East Reef has been producing the odd sporadic kingfish on the outgoing tide but there have been long waits between hits. Squid is a must here, cut into long strips, tasselled at the end and allowed to flap invitingly as it searches the water column. Small kingfish are domiciled at Manly Bommie and flyfishers are having a ball on Surf Candies and Clousers.
Fishing the FADs out wide south-east of the Heads, Ron Kovac managed three mahi mahi with the biggest reaching 68cm. Dollies are prominent at Esmeralda, Broken Bay Wide, the wave marker at Long Reef and Terrigal Wide. Edward Ingram has been outfishing his father Phil on the kingies at Trawleys Reef. Using live yellowtail, Edward has managed fish nearly every outing. Evenings have seen Edward fish the reef off Avalon for jewfish from 8 to 12kg.
The whiting are back in force with some great catches coming in from Mona Vale, Warriewood and Harbord or freshwater beaches. Work the edges of gutters on the rising tide. Allow at least half a metre of trace to give baits a wafting action and employ just enough lead to hold then release repeatedly.
Occasional clumps of tailor have been frequent in Pittwater. Seagulls are a dead giveaway to where the schools are located. Even when the birds are just sitting on the surface, you can bet fish are close by and it’s worth a few blind casts. Drifting in Careel Bay, Lance Jansen picked up a 60cm flathead on a live yellowtail. Lance reports that surface fish weren’t anywhere to be seen when he was on the water but kingfish were prevalent round West Head.
There have been reports of good sized bream taken in the darker hours from the mouth of McCarrs Creek. Pumped nippers seem to work best and a steady stream of chook pellet berley will increase the catch rate. Tim Minors hit Flint and Steel for a 5kg jewfish last week. Tim and his father Greg are a gun team and know Broken Bay Reef like the back of their hand.
Oscar and son Liam (10) did an overnight trip on their small half cabin run-about pumping nippers in close to the mouth of Smiths Creek. Things got a bit quiet before the smallest line took off at 11pm. Liam grabbed the line and after a few tense minutes he landed a modestly sized jewfish, caught on a nipper! First jewie ever too!
In Narrabeen Lagoon’s main channel there are small chopper tailor locked in by the closed entrance. Big dusky flathead are domiciled at the western side of the lagoon and there have been some ‘Happy Moments’ caught from the Narrabeen Bridge. These fish are so named because if you get pricked by one, its toxin will take you on a little mind altering trip!
Phil Ingram, kayaking at the back of the lagoon, nailed a rare black bream trolling micro lures – his first ever of the species.
• Monthly tip: When tying leaders to main line, mono or braid, you need a knot that is strong, maintains the line’s breaking strain and passes through rod guides easily. I the five-turn surgeon’s knot. To see how to knit it together visit http://myweb.cableone.net/stairway/index_flyfishingknots.html.Reads: 2161