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  |  First Published: April 2006

The water over the past few months has been warmer then I can remember. The kingfish took a little break from their normal spots and headed to cooler deeper water, which made them a little hard to find.

I had to work harder than normal, missing the fish some days and then finding them the next. I’d like to thank the bream that saved me on many days. They seemed to bite better as the water got hotter but, hey, that was last month, let’s look into the action we can hope for this month.

Now the water temperature seems rather settled and hanging around 22°, this is just ideal for kings. I find April one of the better months to fish as many anglers’ minds turn to footy and the water is less crowed.

But all is still on offer and I am sure there is time between games to sneak a few hours on the water.

Bream are one of the most targeted species throughout our estuaries from border to border. There are so many anglers chasing them for sport on lure or on bait for the table, but they are one species that you can count on at this time of the year in Botany Bay or Port Hacking.

Flathead are on offer most of the year and you can catch them on soft plastics, live baits, strip baits, whitebait, pilchards, worms, nippers, squid, prawns and so on, but what bait is right? I use the bait that will produce the fish on the day but I find soft plastics are far easier – just grab one and cast away for an hour or so. It’s active fishing and a lot of fun.

But all the baits listed will work on their day and that can be anybody’s guess, Try drifting with bait on the bottom while you cast soft plastics and work the water that you are drifting towards. This method will cover plenty of the bottom, which is important when targeting flathead.

Deciding which is the best fish to chase at what time of the year can make the stress levels run high at times when you fish for a living. I know plenty of readers might think that mine must be the best job in the world but there is pressure: You have to find fish every outing, even on your days off fishing with mates – they still apply the pressure.

Then there are the people out there who don’t care what type of fish they catch or the size or number. Even if they catch nothing they don’t care, it’s all about the fun of the game. Their rewards are far greater than for any marlin landed or their first kingie or 80cm flathead they’ve just cast their arms off to catch. It’s the fun of just being out there on the water and we high-achieving adults tend to forget about that.

Kids just love fishing. My two boys live and breathe it, as do so many other kids around Australia. No need for all the flashy gear or even a boat, a simple handline will do. But it seems harder and harder each year to spare the time to take them fishing but we need to make time. It can be as simple as driving to your local waterhole to fish for carp or mullet or the local boat ramp or wharf to catch yellow tail or herring even down to the farm dam to catch yabbies – kids just love it.


Here are a few simple spots where Sydneysiders can take the kids out for a fish.

The first spot is the sand flats of Maianbar. At low tide there is heaps to do. My kids just love running about collecting as many soldier crabs as they can while I pump a few nippers for bait. As the tide starts to run in and the boys let go all the crabs after I explain to them, ‘They won’t live in our backyard, boys’, the flats come alive as the tide runs in.

Small whiting start to feed and they just love nippers. Remember that 27cm is the legal size for sand whiting and there’s a bag limit of 20. You will catch plenty that are under size there.

Add a little bread to the water and over the warmer months mullet are a great chance. Fish with a small float and a small piece of slightly moistened white bread pinched on a No 8 or No 10 hook. This is top fun. I started fishing down the South Coast this way, catching mullet for my Dad for bait, and spent many happy hours.

Or you could try one of the many public wharves around Port Hacking, they are top spot to fish. Around the pylons you will find leatherjackets, small bream, yellowtail and so on. Remember that kids are happy just to be there and it’s not about catching that big one or even a feed.

At Grays Point there are barbecues, picnic tables and plenty of beach to fish. This will give the kids a good chance at catching flathead, whiting, bream, mullet and a few good blue swimmer crabs. Best method entails four blue pilchards jammed into the foot of one of Mum’s old stockings, no need for hooks, just tie it on and cast it out. The crabs feed on the bait and become hooked on the stocking.

This spot makes for a great outing. It’s a great place to swim in Summer and the kids will spend more time in the water than fishing until the bite starts and then they will take over.

So over the next few months while it’s still warm enough, even for an hour after work, grab the kids and head to a local spot for some pressure-free, fun fishing.

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