Work hard, think smart for mixed bags
  |  First Published: August 2006

Water temperatures of around 14° have hit Pittwater of late but by chasing a variety of fish, we have found a feed on most occasions.

Salmon schools have been showing up in Broken Bay on most mornings but have been hard to tempt. Small metal lures have been sparking little or no interest from the mass of schooling salmon, so we have been using small flies and soft plastics to catch them.

White Felty’s Eye Flies or Epoxy Bunnies are attracting most of the hits. To cast these flies on conventional tackle requires a plastic bubble float that can be filled with water. The bubbles act as a casting weight and when retrieved make small splashes that attract the attention of the hungry pack.

With the fly following about a metre back, it normally doesn’t take too long to find the mouth of one of the cruising bullets. The bubbles can be bought from most tackle shops for about $5 a pack.

Tailor are around the washes but most are of only 35cm, which is still great fun on the lighter tackle. Small 20g metal lures are catching most of the fish.

After catching these pelagics, we have been placing a live salmon on the Walker Strike Vision downrigger and trolling around the huge school watching the screen for takers. So far we have had none but we have seen a shark come in for a look and one flash that had to be a kingie race past.

These new downriggers are amazing to use and are quickly becoming an essential item for our charters. I can now see if fish are interested in the bait or lure being trolled and a number of times I have been able to tell what bait school we are fishing around. It’s great to see these bait schools and change the baits over to match what’s down there.

The reverse has also worked, by changing over a yellowtail to a slimy mackerel so the slimy was the odd one out. That way the slimy becomes a target instead of being a one in a hundred shot near the balled-up school.


This is also a great time to use soft plastics. Recently George Holman brought his two children on charter for a day of fishing plastics. The task was to find fish on Cowan Creek, which is where they prefer to fish.

First stop was Cottage Point and the target was flathead. It took only three casts before Sam was onto the first fish of the day. Unfortunately it was a tailor but he was pretty impressed with the legal fish and let it go.

After a new soft plastic was rigged, Sam cast back to the same area for another tailor, which was a little larger and put up a better fight. He decided to keep this one and checked the lure before casting again. Two turns of the reel and Sam was onto his third fish, a 42cm flathead.

Now George and Jenny were getting a little frustrated but Jenny finally cast to the same drop-off that Sam had been working and was soon tight onto a lovely 60cm flathead. Both kids fished very well; score: kids 6, Dad 1.

If you want to fish Pittwater over the next month, be prepared to go for a mixed Bag bream, tailor, salmon, john dory, flathead and flounder can be found at the mouth of the river and first few bays in.

Fresh or live baits are almost a must at this time of year. In Winter you can’t get better bait than live nippers or bloodworms.

The dreaded Winter weed is still around a lot of the bays farther up- river so if you start to bring this slime up on your lines, move to greener pastures.


If you’re after bigger fish like kingfish or jewfish, you will need to catch live baits and be patient. We have picked up a couple of kingfish in Pittwater in the past month but these fish have been very frustrating indeed. The secret bait has been small cuttlefish, placed on the downrigger. A lot of time and patience is needed to catch bait and fish.

A few very large kingfish are in the river but these guys didn’t get big because they are dumb. They seem to be cruising in and out of Broken Bay and because of the cold water, they don’t need to eat as much or as often.

The Wrecks have a fair number of trevally at present but each year they seem to last only a couple of weeks before moving on. Leatherjackets can be caught around most of the structure in the river and are devouring anything that doesn’t move quickly enough.  

Luderick are still about at places like Rocky Point, Church Point and Bayview but finding some local weed is a task.

If you would like to come out and learn some new techniques and areas, we are only a phone call away on 02 9999 2574 or visit www.estuaryfishingcharters.com.au. Bring along your video camera and take home a copy of the Strike Vision footage to watch.

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