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Crossover time
  |  First Published: May 2006



Summer and Winter species are now being caught, with the schools of Winter fish such as salmon, tailor and trevally mixing with the remaining kingfish, amberjacks, samson fish and bonito before they move off to warmer waters.

At this time of year kingfish hold deep around markers and structures. The best way to catch these is by feeding a small yellowtail, slimy mackerel or live squid down to the depth where the kings are holding. Instead of sitting around waiting for your live bait to go off, drop a weighted soft plastic or metal jig down and you will be surprised how often you hook up a king

Last week I spent a few days fishing with mate Adrian Clark on the Central Coast, where we planned to fish offshore. The weather intervened so we decided to fish around Broken Bay and Pittwater. We checked out the kingfish areas with my Matrix 97 sounder and found a good showing in a couple of spots and I noted how deep the fish were holding.

We dropped live baits down to the depth where the fish were. I find the Pioneer braid with a colour change every 10 metres a big advantage for this. After setting my live baits out I dropped weighted plastics or metal jigs to the bottom, keeping in contact with the jig on the descent for fish striking on the drop.

When the lure hit bottom, we gave it few winds and jigged it up and down with the rod. Often fish would slam the plastic on the first few lifts of the rod. If it did not, we would wind at high speed for about six turns and pause, give another couple lifts with the rod and often it did the trick.

In the shallower water I slowly sank an unweighted Bass Assassin Twitch and then worked it up slowly, putting action into it with the rod. It also pays to get a berley going because often baitfish and fish will swim up the trail

This type of fishing is very demanding on tackle so check all your knots, leaders, line and drag settings; if there’s a weakness it will cost you fish. I used a 6kg to 8kg Strudwick 7’6” Blue Water rod, the extra length helping to control the fish around the motor. The Shimano 6000 Sustain reel loaded with Pioneer braid and 50lb leader completed the outfit.

On the last day of our trip we decided to punch our way into a two-metre sea 22km out to the Broken Bay FAD. We could see small mahi mahi free-jumping so we ran a couple of Trollcraft lures out and trolled past the FAD.

Within an instant we had a double hook-up and after landing a 10 small mahi mahi we decided to give bait and soft plastics a run. Adrian used pillies on an unweighted hook floated down the berley and I retrieved a Bass Assassin on a jig down deep using a double-whip retrieve similar to when fishing for flathead. Adrian was hooking his share but I was having more fun on plastics.

SCHOOLING BASS, EPs

Bass and estuary perch should be caught in good numbers in May. They should be schooled up from Sackville to Wisemans Ferry.

This is the time of year a lot of bigger bass are caught, especially on soft plastics and flies worked around drop-offs and eddies.

Bream should be caught in good numbers and sizes around the oyster racks, pontoons and rocky shores. Small crankbaits and soft plastics cast close to structure will catch fish.

Tackle for bream and bass are similar, with only line and leader to be changed. I use 2kg to 4kg and 1kg to 3kg 6’6” and 7’ Strudwick Softbodz spin rods and Shimano Stradic 2500 reels loaded with 4lb and 8lb yellow braid. I downsize my line and leader to suit the conditions.

Don’t forget my on-water sports fishing schools, check the ad for details.

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