By the beginning of January the yellowtail kingfish run should be in full swing and this month is when the big ones show up at places like along the retaining wall at Port Botany, the Third Runway, the Oil Wharf at Kurnell, the mooring drums in the middle of Botany Bay, Watts Reef, Henrys Head, Cape Banks, the Hot Water Outlet and the rocks off Kurnell.
Those who fish the Port Hacking system will start to catch the bigger kings around the moorings in Gunnamatta, Gymea and Yowie bays, in South West Arm, Jibbon Bombora, Shark Island, Osborne Shoals and Merries Reef.
Many anglers over the years have been busted off by savage kings while targeting bream, flathead, silver trevally and tailor on light gear. I suggest also taking a strong overhead or threadline outfit so you can put out a bait for kingfish.
I am currently using a strong overhead reel spooled with 20kg line and a 10kg to 15kg rod. Even though I have been able to stop kingfish to 7.5kg so far with live squid or yellowtail, I have still been busted off by larger fish that have managed to wrap me around the mooring drums in the middle of Botany Bay.
Last year a number of cobia were caught in Botany Bay and Port Hacking so you will need to be on your guard as they can just about pull your arms out of your sockets.
Late December will also see the increase in the numbers of bream in the bay and Port Hacking. These bream will have finished spawning on the beaches and rocks off Sydney and come in to these areas to feed.
Places that are worth a go for bream include all those spots I recommended for kingfish, along with Sutherland Point, Bundeena, Maianbar and the Ballast Heap in Port Hacking.
One of the best ways to fish for bream this month is to use a leader from 1.5 metres to two metres long to take advantage of the run in the bigger morning tides. The long leader will allow the bait to move around off the bottom, just enough to keep it away from those small bait-stealing snapper.
Talking about snapper, you could try anchoring in about 50 metres off the Kurnell Lighthouse on a rising tide. Locate where the fish are feeding, anchor up-current and lay out a berley trail.
Once the trail has been going for a few minutes, feed lightly-weighted baits down the berley trail. If you have got it correct, the snapper will be working their way up the trail to your bait.
I have found that feeding the bait out with my baitcaster reel in free spool makes it easy. Once the spool begins to spin a little faster as a fish picks up the bait, I just turn the handle to engage the reel. You could also use a BaitRunner-style threadline reel or just leave the bail arm open on a conventional threadline.
OK, so you don’t have a boat. Why not give the beach a go for whiting, bream, dart, flathead, salmon, tailor and mulloway? While the beaches at Cronulla are not far from home, I prefer to fish beaches at Garie, Era, Stanwell Park and Coal Cliff, which don’t get as crowded as Cronulla.
If you live in the eastern suburbs you could always try Bondi, Coogee or Maroubra beaches early in the morning or later in the afternoon when the crowds of swimmers thin out. Some of my best fishing on these beaches has been on very overcast days – the swimmers stay at home and the fish can bite all day.
If beach fishing is not your scene, try for bream or flathead off the new walkway at the end of Forest Road at Lugarno, or the base of the Alfords Point Bridge. You could take the kids to the park at the Georges River Recreational Area at the end of River Road at Peakhurst. The Deepwater Motor Boat Club in the Georges River is another place you could try. Use tube or blood worms, strips of mullet or chicken gut for bait.
Those keen to hunt bass could always try up the back reaches of the Hacking, Woronora or Georges rivers. Hard-body minnows, soft plastics and flies should be worked as close to structure as you can get them.
If you would like to learn more about fishing in any of the waterways of Sydney, call me on 0422 994 207 or email me.
The author with a 73cm kingfish caught while skipping strips of squid past one of the marker buoys in Botany Bay.Reads: 1989