Salmon save the day
  |  First Published: July 2006

Fishing around Sydney in July can be difficult with most of the Summer species moved on to warmer waters, but you can usually find salmon schools in most bays, inlets and off beaches.

When you find a school of salmon working the top, take the time to see what direction and speed the fish are travelling. Don’t rush into the middle of the feeding school because often this will put the fish down for the day, making you tremendously unpopular with other anglers.

Most schools work into the wind so position the boat up-wind and wait for the fish to come to you. Often the boat will be surrounded by fish. Cast your lure or fly in front of the fish because this is where they are looking for a feed, not behind them.

If you are trolling lures or live baits, run your line long and work around the outside of the school and cut in front of the fish so your line will run through the school without having to drive your boat through them.

Over the past couple weeks we have been hooking salmon and good tailor at North Head and South Head, particularly on Trollcraft lures. When we hook up we have been casting metals and soft plastics around as the hooked fish is being retrieved. Often salmon and tailor will have a few mates following them and even the odd kingfish.

Good tailor have also been caught around Lion Island and West Head with some showing up in Pittwater and Cowan Creek.

Good bream and flathead have also been caught up the Parramatta and Lane Cove rivers, mostly on soft plastic around the wharfs and pontoons. Pumpkinseed and motor oil seem to be the best colours. Middle Harbour has good bream and trevally near the wharf poles and under the piers


July is also the time I pull out my fly rod and head down to the middle sections of the Hawkesbury to tangle with a few bass and perch. I like to fly-fish for the estuary perch when the big tides are running out hard. This is when the fish will hold in the quiet water or eddies. The inside of a corner that has a drop-off and a back eddy is a classic spot for EPs to ambush any bait that swims past. Find that quiet water with current running past.

If you catch a few, note the time and tide and move on to the next likely spot and do the same. You will find that different areas will hold fish on falling or rising tides. I fish deeper for bass and perch in the colder months and have found that they hang wider than when it’s warmer .

The best way to get your fly in front of them is with an extra-fast-sink line, something with a sink rate of at least 100mm per second and preferably 150mm. We use the fastest-sinking line to quickly get down to the to the depth where the fish are holding. It is also important to know the sink rate of your line so you can count down so your fly to the depth of the fish.

We also catch most of our bigger bass in Winter. A lot of these fish are in deep back eddies where floating debris builds up and prawns or baitfish hang around or under the debris. Surface lures and flies worked in these areas and will catch their fair share of big bass so keep your eye open for any surface movement

It is very important to have a good sounder to find the fish and mark their depth. My Humminbird 37 Matrix gives a wide bottom coverage and works well for this.


Scout Boats have arrived and you can check these great US-made fishing boats at the Sydney Boat Show from August 3 at the Sportsfishing Boats Australia stand. Scout builds sport fishing, fish ’n’ ski, walkaround, flats and bay models from 14’ to 28’. We are seeking regional and interstate dealers interested in selling these outstanding boats so call me on 0408 334 892 or Peter on 02 4721 0455 or visit the Australian Bass Angler at Penrith.

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