This month we will see kingfish in Pittwater and Broken Bay along with prized travelling species such as cobia, samson and amberjack but all of this depends on the warm currents coming into Broken Bay.
When the water moves in the travelling species can add a bit of mystery to your fishing trip. It’s brilliant to place livebaits on the downriggers for kingfish yet really not know what will come aboard.
In the past month some nice kingfish have been taken in Pittwater. There aren’t as many fish as I would have hoped but those caught have been decent size, averaging 74cm. The odd larger fish to 84cm has been caught, mostly on live or fresh squid although the odd fish is starting to eat yellowtail.
Don’t be afraid to troll squid strips, either. On many occasions I have trolled strips and live squid together with the strip being smashed first.
Another way to target kingfish is to throw around poppers among the moorings. Drift around with squid heads lowered just out of sight whilst casting towards the moored boats and you will be surprised at what you attract. This technique works very well at times and is great fun. Try it on your local waterway.
Areas to target over the coming month will be towards the mouth of the river. Soldiers Point, Palm Beach, Mackeral Beach, The Basin, West Head and Barrenjoey Head are just a few to try. Inside the river, squid is the No 1 bait while around the heads yellowtail and slimy mackerel catch their fair share.
Around Barrenjoey and Broken Bay it’s easy enough to find a patch of reef and bait to anchor near. With the help of fresh bait and berley you should attract your targeted species.
Inside Pittwater the best way to target kingfish is with a downrigger or at least a ‘poor man’s downrigger’ so named because it will make you poor. The idea is to attach a snapper sinker to your main line swivel with a rubber band. When a fish is fought the band breaks so you fight the fish with no extra weight.
When you get onto a hot bite, you go through a lot of weights and it’s a costly exercise. Dave Butfield shows a modified version of this technique on his Kingfish Secrets DVD. He uses a 200g Sacrifice stick and when you watch the DVD you will see the result.
The downrigger is the better option because you are not polluting our waterways with chunks of steel or lead. And with a downrigger you can accurately target specific depths and present bait that is natural in the eyes of the predators.
Squid are spread throughout Pittwater and Broken Bay. There are not large numbers in any one area so at the moment you have to put in a couple of hours to snare enough for a good run at the kingies. Places to start are Mackeral Beach, The Basin, West Head and Palm Beach. You can usually pick up a couple in each spot and come back to catch more if needed after you find the kingfish. At the moment small jigs of 1.8 size in the brighter colours are working over the weed beds.
Flathead are being caught on the drift between Patonga and West Head on pillies or whitebait, mostly of a morning. Lure anglers should try the sand flats at Sandy Point and Towlers Bay on a dropping tide. Both theses areas have well-defined drop-offs and can produce some of the bigger flathead in Pittwater.
Flounder are now being caught close to West Head and Barrenjoey Head. These funny-looking fish are great eating and have a liking for fresh prawns. The last hour of the tide has been more effective.
For bream anglers the usual haunts in McCarrs Creek are holding some big bream but they are fussy. Bread has been the best berley and bait but keeping the seagulls away is almost impossible.
Soft plastics in the same river have not resulted in too many big bream caught but smaller ones are easier to come by.
The most important thing to remember when fishing Pittwater is to fish with fresh baits, fine berley and with little or no weight wherever possible. Another tip is to give one spot an hour to 90 minutes and then move on.
Have a merry Christmas and I hope Santa leaves you some fishing tackle. Trying to think of a Christmas present for someone? We can arrange a charter gift voucher so they have a great day on the water and learn new areas and techniques. Check our website for footage of live downrigged squid and what our camera downrigger shows.
And if you are going to drive a boat over the festive season, don’t drink.
• Peter Le Blang operates Harbour & Estuary Fishing Charters out of Pittwater, phone 02 9999 2574 or visit www.estuaryfishingcharters.com.au.Reads: 1949