Good pickings on offer
  |  First Published: December 2003

THINGS ARE looking good for the kids on holidays over the holiday period with plenty of fish moving around the foreshores of the Harbour offering good pickings for land-based anglers.

Lots of tarwhine and small bream are being caught in close to shore around Balls Head and if you cast wide with a big bait, such as a whole fresh squid, there is a chance for a jewfish. There have also been reports of plenty of leatherjackets around Kirribilli and Milsons Point. It’s a bit unseasonable, as we consider these fish more common during the Winter, but it has been an unusual season with trevally, another Winter species, still in good numbers in the estuaries.

Another option would be to walk the sand flats in some of the bays above the Gladesville bridge and fish for some whiting, bream or flathead. Places like Hen and Chicken Bay are always worth a try and I have already had reports of some stud whiting being taken from this area. Pick a low tide at first light, catch some squirt worms out of the mud with a jam tin or yabby pump and then fish the making tide as the sun rises and you can be pretty well guaranteed of a feed. Casting lures or using whitebait or pilchards for flathead is an all-day proposition.

Boat anglers have been catching plenty of tailor in Middle Harbour and kingfish can be found at the yellow buoy off Middle Head. Most are under-size and this spot can get very crowded, so if you don’t get there early you will miss out. Bigger kingfish have been caught in the deep water off Seaforth. Bream and some keeper snapper can be caught in Rose Bay, particularly over the reef areas around Shark Island.

Schools of big sea garfish have put in an appearance in Middle Harbour, particularly around The Spit area. Fishing for these mini-marlin can be great fun and I can remember some frenetic sessions catching them two at a time in Coffin Bay, South Australia, and in Leschennault Inlet, Western Australia, where they tend to be more prolific.

If you are after a feed of these very tasty, if a little bony, silver torpedoes, or want some for bait for bigger species, look for them around the weed beds, over the sand flats or schooling in the eddies behind structure such as oyster racks or jetties. Pick a likely spot, anchor up and then get a berley trail going with mixed bran and pollard or crushed biscuits or laying pellets. If there are any gar in the area they will soon arrive and advertise their presence by the swirls in the berley trail.

The rig I use consists of 3kg line to a swivel with two short droppers attached to No 12 hooks. I tie the line to one end of a quill float about 50cm up the line. If you are fishing in a bit of a current you may need a small split shot above the swivel to keep the baits down. The first indication of a bite will be the quill float standing up vertically in the water.

For bait, you can use chopped prawn, bread or dough, small bits of shellfish such as mussel or pipi, but if you are really serious, breed some maggots or ‘gents’. Garfish just love them.

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