Summer bonanza is here
  |  First Published: December 2006

This is when all the Summer pelagics start coming on the chew and we can look forward to some great action for the next few months on a variety of species.

One of my favourite activities around this time is to hunt in Pittwater around the moored boats and bays for kingfish.

The kingfish travel into Pittwater after the bait balls that gather in October to December and it can be very exciting to see the kings smashing into the bait balls. Other pelagics also hang with the kings and are caught as a by-catch, including bonito, salmon, tailor, amberjacks, samson fish and even the odd cobia and mackerel.

The best way to target these is with 6kg spin tackle such as Loomis Pro Blue PBR843S spin rods with Shimano Sustain 6000s loaded with 15lb Pioneer Palladium braid. The rods are tough enough to stand up to all the abuse from my clients and I have been the using Sustains for five years and apart from replacing drag washers, they have withstood everything we have thrown at them. I use braid because of its strength, low stretch and small diameter that allows me to cast unweighted soft plastics.

In the early morning I often start casting where I think kings will hang around, while keeping an eye out for any telltale movement of baitfish or swirls on the surface. If I spot anything I cast there as quickly as I can.

While clients work over an area I will often cast a 10” Yum Dinger soft plastic out and let it sink deep all the way to the bottom. This can take a while to get down when you are in 20m of water but when I think it’s deep enough, I work it back to the top slowly. Often the lure will get swallowed on the way down.

In Sydney Harbour the fishing has been good with salmon, bonito, tailor and kingfish. Most of the salmon and bonito have been caught around North Head, where the salmon have schooled up on top with the bonito under them.

Casting 4” and 6” plastics will catch the salmon while the bonito have been falling to metal lures left to sink deep under the schools. Bonito and tailor have been taking trolled lures around the washes. Troll Craft Pelagics in the blue mackerel colour have been working well.


I have just arrived home from an eight-day trip up to the Gulf of Carpentaria on a mother ship. Six mates and I had the latest intelligence on the fishing and the best lures from good friend Peter Jacovides and party, who had fished the on the same boat only a few days before and called us before we left.

They had walked the beaches casting small metal slugs for queenfish, golden trevally, mackerel and small GTs. The barra, jacks and fingermark had favoured shallow lures cast into the mangrove gutters on a falling tide.

Armed with this information we headed to the Bass Angler and stocked up on small metals, shallow divers, poppers, fizzers, deeper divers and soft plastics.

We arrived two days before the mother ship left to check out the fishing around Weipa and minutes after checking in to the Motel, we were casting slugs and poppers at the local ramp and jetty. My first cast was with a Trollcraft popper Mark Umbers had given me to try out and it got slammed by something big and mean that busted me off on a pylon – a short life but a merry one! The other guys switched to poppers and several hooked up small to medium Queenies and our trip was off to a fine start.

Most of the fish we caught around Weipa fell to poppers so before we left for the mother ship we bought a heap of poppers and it was lucky we did. Most of the larger fish fell to poppers and by the end of the trip we had only the odd one left.

So always pack plenty of poppers when heading north, especially as the water begins to warm.

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