Winter species on the chew
  |  First Published: June 2006

These cold nights and mild days are just wonderful and it’s just great to get out on the water. We are now getting all the Winter species on our local patch.

Tailor are well ensconced at West Head, Box Head and Lion Island and choppers abound in the Hawkesbury.

Salmon are there but it is hit-and-miss finding the schools. In a month or so they will be bigger and in greater numbers. A few have been taken blind trolling and these fish are not surfacing to give the angler a clue to their whereabouts.

I have been out a couple of times for john dory and we are so lucky that these table delicacies call Pittwater home during Winter. Places to target include The Basin, Mackerel Beach, West Head and the port marker off Palm Beach.

All these are recognised bait grounds and the ghostly dory patrol the fringes looking for a sick or tardy fish to leave the school, then the massive mouth opens and sucks in litres of water plus the meal.

There’s no fight in the dory but the reward is in the eating. Live yellowtail suspended under a bobby cork will always seek out fish. Vary the depth, starting at the bottom, until fish are found. Berley heavily to attract bait and the dory will soon follow.

At the time of writing hairtail are still conspicuous by their absence. We’ve had too many years now when these prehistoric-looking fish have been nearly non-existent.

I think it’s a natural cycle and they will return one Winter not too far away. They are not a fish targeted by pros and I’m sure it won’t be long before they are gracing Cowan Creek and the bays in numbers again.

Broken Bay Game Fishing Club member Ron Kovacs took out a visitor from Holland he met on the internet. They had a great day out with plenty of fish taken. The amazing thing was the visitor was visually impaired but it didn’t stop this keen angler having a great day out.

Nils Stromlan relishes his few days off from the Buddha Belly at Terry Hills and fishes between the ’Joey, Lion Island and Box Head. Very rarely does this restaurateur return without a feed as he employs super-light gear and virtually no weight.


Beach anglers get brand-new formations when the seas are up. I love this as I find surf bream come in real close on the making tide for a forage into the new gutters.

Worm or pipi baits work well on a long trace which allows the baits to waft naturally in the current.

I target areas on the beach that have rocky outcrops because this is where the surf bream like to aggregate. You do get hung up occasionally and have to re-rig but in the end you usually have more fish.

Although it’s Winter, big blue-nose whiting are still there. However, fish are few and far between at the moment and it could be frustrating to target them specifically.

The lack of rain has seen catfish slowly diminish in the Hawkesbury, which has allowed baits to seek out the plump bream that are just starting to come on.

For the bottom-bashers, drifting is still the way to cover territory for flathead. Try the Juno Point to Brooklyn drift on an incoming tide using strips of slimy mackerel, tuna or tailor.

Fishing near Berowra, Lance Jansen trolled up three flathead, two tailor and a bream on plastics. A near-windless day, bright sunshine and a feed of fish; Lance reckons it doesn’t get much better than that.

Two flathead going 2.6kg and 1.9kg were taken from Narrabeen Lake recently on cut baits by young angler Luke. Meanwhile, one kayak paddler trolled down the southern shore for no result, showing you have to be at the right place at the right time.

Small blackfish are in the main channel but they’re not really worth targeting. Daniel Wright proved there are still some honker whiting in the lake when he landed a bumper catch on ultra-light tackle.

Bayview boat ramp is a great launch facility. In fact it’s the only place to launch for the whole of Pittwater if you have a vessel over five metres. However, there are occasional reports of vandalised trailers and cars which have been left overnight, so beware.

I wish they would turn the water back on in the washdown bays and supply us with decent fish-cleaning tables so at least we feel like we are getting our dollars’ worth from those cash-hungry parking meters.

• Monthly tip: When the bite gets hot, remember to keep the berley going. If you don’t, the action may well shut down and you’ll have to start all over again.

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