Pelagics go deeper
  |  First Published: March 2006

In March the saltwater pelagics start to hang deeper so it pays to fish deeper.

I have been using some of Shipton Trading zip lock booms to get my lures down deeper. I have been surprised by the number fish, including kings, salmon, bonito and tailor I have been hooking when using the boom in conjunction with conventional spread of trolling lures I usually run two Troll Craft lures and a Slug-Go or popper run a long way back.

The zip boom allows me to run extra lure in the middle down deep. I drop it down next to the transducer and watch it on the sounder to the depth that I want. You can change the angle that the line goes down by adding a heaver snapper lead.

The amount of drop-back from the boom is also adjustable. Most good tackle shops have them and will explain how to use them.


Late March is when the bass and perch are starting to school up for their run down to the saltwater to breed. They will take most lures that you throw at them.

Most people believe that all the bass and perch move downstream at the same time. I think that bass move down in different schools any time from late March to late October or even early November.

I have caught fish that have spent their eggs as early as June and fish still in roe as late as November.

In March we start to target the bass and perch in the deeper water with soft plastics and deep flies. It’s common to catch and release 20 to 30 fish a day when you find these fish schooled up.

We find these fish in the colder months in the backwaters and eddies near drop-offs after a corner, or near structure that is out of the flow in water to 15 metres deep. I find most hang around three to seven metres. Sometimes the best of these fish will hang out in the running water as the tide slows.

I will often check an area out with my Humminbird Matrix 37 and if I find a concentration of fish I will give the area a good working over. I usually start with soft plastics worked deep, with a lift and drop of the rod tip keeping in contact with bottom.

Bass and perch will often hit on the drop so use a fluoro line so you can see the it move if the fish bites on the drop.

In the deeper water I like using a drop-shot rig to allows me a heaver weight without interfering with the action of the plastic. It is also good when the fish are timid. I will cast it out close to a snag, let it sink to the bottom, wind up the slack line and just shake the rod tip while it is sitting in the one spot. This will often draw the fish out of cover.


The proverbial substance has hit the fan and the Government has stopped commercial fishing in the Harbour for three months and has recommended catch and release and minimum human consumption. They have tested the prawns and some of the finned fish and found very high dioxin levels and are collecting most other species to test.

Even if they can clean up all the polluted areas, fish like bream will still be affected for a long time – up to 30 years – so it’s not going to go away in a hurry.

This will be great for the fish stocks in the Harbour as you can only imagine how great the fishing will be in five years if everyone releases the fish and the netters and trappers are stopped.

On the down side, all of the bait shops and fishing tour operators around the Harbour will find it difficult because most people who fish with bait like to keep a feed. These customers will head to other areas to fish.

We have been told for years by the Government how clean the Harbour is. People have set up their livelihoods based on what they have been told and have good reason to be bitter.

Some shops have spent hundreds of thousand dollars on stock and equipment and should be entitled to compensation from the Government .

• Anyone wanting to learn more about sport fishing for Sydney’s kingfish, bonito, salmon, tailor, bass can come to one of my on-water fishing schools. Numbers are limited so call me on 040 8334 892.


Tony had a lot of fun with this Harbour king from calm, deep water.


These three amigos had plenty of laughs and some good entertainment on the Hawkesbury.


This Pittwater king took a Troll Craft lure.

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