Disappointing results
  |  First Published: March 2006

The fishing in Pittwater lately has been disappointing. West Head has seen a smattering of tailor, bream and on the odd day kingfish, mostly caught at anchor.

Drifting live squid over the side while catching yellowtail for bait has produced most of the kingies. The school was pretty small and so were the fish. Most were around the 55cm with the odd 64cm fish coming over the side of the boat.

The tailor have been smashing their way up the berley trail and 14g metal lures have done most of the damage.

The bream are under the schools of yakkas eating the leftovers that are drifting through the school and down to the ocean floor. Best bait in this area for bream has been prawns.

Barrenjoey has been providing local anglers with kingfish, tailor, salmon, bream and the odd keeper snapper.

The kingies and salmon are pouncing on trolled yakkas on the downriggers at a depth of 6m. There is a fair amount of time needed to track them down as they are constantly cruising the headland.

Keeper snapper are responding well to squid strips or heads and pilchards. If you are using pillies make sure that you check your lines often, as there are a lot of pickers and cuttlefish.

The Lion Island area has fished well for bream, tailor and flathead. Every now and then a school jewfish has been caught which is a little unusual for this area at this time of the year.

Inside Pittwater bream have been around most of the shallow moorings in Bayview with Mackeral Beach also worth a try. Baits to use are live nippers or whitebait. The rising tide has provided the best bite.

McCarrs Creek is still the place to try for jewfish as was proved by our local guru John. John caught two jewfish to 15kg last week but did mention it has been 8 months since his last capture. Both jewies fell to live squid fished just off the bottom in a fairly heavy burly trail.

The Supermarket, Kingfish Highway, The Wrecks and The Takeaway have all been areas that produce kingfish but the kingfish still haven’t come back in any sort of numbers after travelling pros removed 3.7 tonnes of kingfish in three nights.

The bays seem to be the areas to catch the few kingfish that are present as we pray that more fish will venture into the river.

Last year in March we saw big kingfish come into the river and hopefully this next month will see the same.


In February I mentioned the dreaded Caulerpa taxfolia weed in the river. This genetically modified weed was engineered in Germany for the aquarium industry. Unfortunately, this weed can be spread from the smallest piece that is accidentally pulled up on anchors and even fishing equipment.

If you do pull up a piece of this weed, place it in a sealed plastic bag and dispose of it once on land in a garbage bin.

The first reported outbreak was in Careel Bay and was thought to be under control. This weed has unfortunately now spread right through out the river. A map showing affected sites is on the Fisheries website and it’s quite disturbing.

If it isn’t brought under control soon Pittwater, the Hawkesbury River, Broken Bay, Brisbane Waters and Cowan Creek will all be affected. No fish or squid etc can live amongst this weed and with it’s easily spreading nature, it could soon see fishing areas wiped out or cordoned off to fishermen.

Palm Beach to Barrenjoey Head has been declared recently as a no fishing zone for commercial netters and this includes recreational prawning and crabbing.

Careel Bay has no anchor zones in the bay and it is important not to drift fish these areas as well. Fisheries are supposed to be educating the public with pamphlets and answering your questions. I haven’t seen any yet, have you?

This weed wiped out fishing areas in the Mediterranean in water down to 50m. With the deepest parts of Pittwater at 23m the whole river is under threat.

I have a problem with the way that the Fisheries bosses have ignored this topic, hoping that it’s going to fix itself.

They tried briefly when it first appeared a couple of years ago with salt and then divers to remove it by hand. Both times they failed and since have not done a lot to curb the spread.

Fisheries know the damage that can be done by this weed from studies conducted around the world and yet they still allow Pittwater to be trapped and netted further up the river. The department knows how widespread this weed is in Pittwater but is still willing to risk the future of this unique waterway by doing nothing.

I can’t believe that a governing body can place at risk not only the above-mentioned areas but also the tourism and jobs that go along with it.

I ask everyone to write or email The Estuaries Manager at Cronulla and ask why they are doing nothing to monitor the spread of this weed? Also ask how are they going to fix this problem.

With the spread of the Caulerpa weed I can’t promote drift fishing in Pittwater and can only suggest that this style of fishing be done in Broken Bay.


Kieran Jones shows off a very rare 81cm, 5kg kingfish that he released to fight another day.


Sue and Kelvin Ha had a ball catching some 62cm kingfish at West Head.

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