A long, hot Summer ahead
  |  First Published: November 2006

Although next month heralds the start of Summer, we are still coming out of a great Winter fishing-wise with many species still very willing to play ball.

This is because water temperatures never plummeted down to the abysmal depth we usually encounter. As the ocean starts to get warmer, I think we are going to be for a long, hot Summer.

Salmon are all up and down the east coast and Pittwater in particular has had huge schools following the ample bait. As I write, kingfish are now joining in on the feast and can be found on the eastern and western side around Clareville and Careel and Towlers bays.

The drifters are picking up keeper flathead just north of the Palm Beach port marker on the outgoing tide. Instead of bait, drift with a large plastic lure, twitching the line every so often to impart action. You will be surprised at how many fish can be caught when even the freshest bait will produce zero.

One of my loves is getting down to the beach and a beachworm on light gear to seek out whiting. Right now these feisty fish are starting to fossick in close, hoovering the bottom in search of crustaceans. Pick an outgoing gutter on a rising tide.

Offshore reefs are now coughing up the bigger kings with livebait the best option. Trawleys always has hoodlums and I suggest nothing smaller than 15kg string to quell their enormous power. Northerners, just out from the Harbour entrance, is a hot spot for big kings and there is livebait available 24 hours a day at Manly Bommie.

Those big bream are starting to think about sex. They start shedding their fat and will have milt or eggs oozing from them when caught. Up around Mooney Mooney and Porto Bay in the Hawkesbury are prime spots to target these fish on bait and lures. Although the modern trend is for soft plastics, don’t discard the small hard-bodied divers because these sometimes take fish when the high-profile plastics produce zilch.

There still have been john dory caught at The Basin and my favourite haunt, the marinas at the entrance of McCarrs Creek. I can’t emphasise how important berley is because it attracts the bait which brings in the dory.

Don’t you just love those kingfish? No fear and no favours as they cruise round Pittwater spoiling for a fight. Instead of chrome lures, invest in surface poppers, chuggers and fizzers. Kings really get turned on when these lures are blooped across the surface and the takes are very visual and mind-blowing.

The salmon schools are starting to thin. Tailor are still here and can be found off beaches, rocks and deep into the estuaries.

It’s about now that the big dusky flathead awake from their Winter slumbers and go looking for a feed. Big livebaits are my preferred choice because these fish are very hungry and will spurn a small offering.

We can still target trevally, even though we are starting to see a rise in water temperature. These silvers are now getting bigger and we don’t seem to be plagued by those smaller bait-stealers.


Fresh bait is so important in catching fish consistently. If you haven’t already learnt how to catch squid, I suggest you read up as much as you can about securing this wonderful attractor.

Go into your local tackle store and invest in three or four prawn look-alike squid jigs – pink, green and orange all work well. Also buy a squid spike to impale a pilchard on when squid shun lures. Find a weedy area and slowly work the squid jig in an up-and-down movement just off the weeds.

When you hook a squid, keep pressure on the line because the jig’s umbrella hooks are barbless and quickly put the catch into a livewell or a bucket of sea water.

Make sure the mouth points away from you – squid have a nasty habit of inking directly into the first face they see. Sometimes squid will reject a jig that their mates have succumbed to and then it is time to change to a jig of a different colour.

You can use the bait whole or skinned and cut into strips with the end tasselled to provide movement to an otherwise inert bait. Now watch your catch rate soar!

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