Try early for tailor and bream
  |  First Published: August 2006

Deep in the middle of Winter, the mornings are fresh and the wind blows from the snow peaks. It’s bloody lovely out on Botany Bay and I just about have the place to myself, apart from a handful of diehard earlybirds.

I often wonder why I start at 6am at this time of the year. The fishing seems better once the sun hits the sky, so why not kick off at 8am and then just fish a little later? But 6am seems the ideal time; it give you time to anchor and set up just as it is getting light and I just like that early start.

Bream and tailor seem to bite better in this early period. I find that the bream are out feeding along the bottom and a good berley trail of pellets or soaked wheat should keep them keen.

Why do we soak the wheat ? You must because it will expand two or three times its size and if the bream feed on the dry stuff it will kill them. I normally add twice as much water as wheat and then leave it overnight ready for the next morning.

Chicken laying pellets work fine for me. There less time involved in getting them ready and pellets will keep forever in a sealed bin at home.

Tailor feed a little higher in the water column so I always berley with chopped pilchards and if they turn up, the tailor bite can be red-hot. Tailor are schooling fish and move up the trail right to the boat, making it hard to fish the bottom for bream,

I normally fish with ganged hooks and blue pilchards for the tailor and just float the bait down the trail. Once the tailor move off, it’s back to the bream on the bottom.

So the early morning can be a little cool at times, but good for tailor and bream.

Some days we start at 6am and don’t find fish until 9am. I think it’s all about spending the time on the water for each outing and working on finding the fish, rather waiting for the fish to find you.

The 8am starts are just right for trolling, when I like the sun on the water. Tailor and salmon are around in the Winter and I have found skirted surface lures like small McGoos or small bibbed lures ideal for them. Try trolling two bibbed lures and add a surface lure in the middle to give you a great spread. At times the larger tailor will hit the surface lure in the middle.

In Botany Bay try trolling along the Third Runway, the Container Wall, out around Bare Island and along the two headlands when sea conditions are right. The old runway heading towards Cooks River at times is hot for tailor.

In Port Hacking try trolling the edges of South West Arm, Deer Park to Lighting Point and the drop-off along the Lilli Pilli sand flats.


After trolling, it’s time to look for Winter’s main standby, silver trevally. They’ll feed any time of day, as long as you can find them.

One of the spots fishing well for me on most outings lately is around the red cans just out from Port Botany. Anchor close to one and fish unweighted baits around the buoys with a good berley trail. Bream are a great chance here as well.

Trevally Alley is always worth a try. It’s like a fish bowl; the trevally here are fed each day by anglers so they seem to just hang around waiting to be fed. Fish light and burly will help.

So if a later start or that late afternoon trip seems a better way to go at this time of year, give me a call. If you are keen to learn to fish the waters of Sydney, how about joining a fishing school at Hunts Marine? I run these classes once a month and they include a night at Hunts Marine followed by a full day fishing on Botany Bay. All the info is on www.fishingsydney.com.au or call me on 0418 169 439.

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