Waiting for warm water
  |  First Published: September 2006

Thank goodness warm weather and water are on their way. The coming months should see the warm water start to push down the coast and with it, a myriad of baitfish with hungry pelagic fish hot on their tails.

In recent years we have been blessed with 18° water in September and here’s hoping that this year will be the same. With this warm water Pittwater sees the first of the kingfish come through.

Salmon usually hang around for a month or two and the bottom species also seem to move up a gear. As you can probably tell, I love September as it signifies that there are six to nine months of great fishing ahead.

Over the next month salmon will be in Broken Bay and on the odd day in Pittwater. These fish are now eating most soft plastics, trolled hard-bodied or metal lures.

These great sport fish are pretty easy to spot, just watch for the working birds or masses of boats.

West Head has seen some lovely bream caught lately on nippers. Most fish are over the 25cm legal size by a fair way and seem to be doing laps of the headland. Light tackle with just enough lead to get your baits to the bottom should attract most of the larger fish.

A fairly heavy berley trail of chicken pellets and tuna is needed to get them on the chew. Taylors Point and Mackeral Beach have also been producing some of these impressive fish.

Flathead have been coming from the Broken Bay area between West and Barrenjoey Head. The larger fish have been falling to pilchards or yellowtail on the drift. The same area is also producing flounder if you use whitebait or prawns.

It is important to remember that, thanks to the lack of action taken by Fisheries to curb the Caulerpa weed problem, a lot of areas are no longer suitable for this type of fishing.

If you are stuck in Pittwater and want to catch a flattie, I suggest drifting the mouth of Towlers Bay or around the Bayview area.

Trevally are still in the river in fair numbers. Try fishing The Wrecks or The Basin area. A fair amount of fine berley is needed to bring them around. By fine I mean crushed chicken pellets with bread and tuna oil dangled in a container over the side of the boat.

The best bait by far has been nippers when up at The Basin but around The Wrecks squid strips and prawns are working a treat.


For the kingfish hunters of Pittwater, start at West Head and work the western shoreline into Pittwater all the way to Longnose Point. Small live squid or yellowtail used on a downrigger will produce most of the fish.

Each year we find that the kingies seem to follow the baitfish into the river and work them from the deep water into the shallows on the western shore. In the past the recipe for success has been to use live bait on the troll around the outside of the balled-up bait and to have confidence and patience.

Remember to have other live baits rigged to catch a king’s mates once a hook-up has been achieved.

If you prefer to fish at anchor, the better spots would be at Soldiers Point, Longnose Point, West Head or Woody Point. Again at these spots it is better to use live baits and with a berley trail of oily fish bits or tuna oil mixes.

If we anchor for kingfish on charter we always berley towards the structure and on most occasions throw soft plastics or poppers to create noise and splash. Kingfish, being the curious creatures that they are, will usually be seen chasing the lures all the way back to the boat – where a live bait is in the water waiting for them.

In coming months I am looking forward to using our Walker Strike Vision downrigger system to help capture kingfish, jewfish, flathead and others. With the clear waters comes greater visibility and hopefully we’ll see feeding behaviour and fill in some blanks along the way.

I can’t wait to see jewfish come along a reef edge and smash the waiting bait; a kingfish come off a wreck and race his mates to the panicking live squid or even a bream coming up a berley trail eating small chunks on the way to the bait.

This kind of fishing is really the start of the new age for downrigging and has already started to make an impact on the way I fish. In coming months I hope to pass on helpful information that will help catch more fish.

For instance, by using this technology I have seen fish follow lures but not strike. By changing the colour of the lure and, most often, its size, fish have become more aggressive and willing to take the lure. In the past I would have downsized the lure after many passes but by this stage, fish like bonito or salmon could have already moved on. I would have normally thought that the fish were either not hungry or I had found a species that just didn’t want to eat a lure that day.

If you would like to see some of this amazing technology in action and enjoy a great day on the water, call us on 0410 633 351 or visit www.estuaryfishingcharters.com.au. If you see us on Pittwater, give us a wave.

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