Bay comes alive
  |  First Published: December 2004

Botany Bay comes alive with most species now. The surface speedsters, the bottom feeders and those ambush predators will keep all anglers content for the next few months.

This should continue until the end of May. But Botany Bay fished very well all through 2004 and tough days seemed to yield better catches, a far cry from the previous year when you could work your butt off for five fish all day. Now a hard day might see you finish with eight to 10 fish, releasing a few along the way.

This is a sign that the Bay is slowly recovering after the closure to professional fishing a few years ago. Just think what the fishing might be like in five years!

As the warm water pushes down the coast and floods into our southern estuaries, by mid-January the action seems to reach its Summer peak.

The bream are on their spawning run and form huge schools, there are seldom big fish in Botany Bay but plenty of bream between 28cm and 32cm spend the next two months between the mouth of Botany Bay and the Captain Cook Bridge.

Bream are better targeted from an anchored boat but there are plenty of anglers who do well from the shore.

My pick of baits is the pink nipper but many anglers like bloodworms, prawns, chook gut and all types of home-made pudding Baits, Gary Brown swears by his chicken and parmesan cheese mix and if the bream don’t eat it, Gary tells me he will!

Bream are a scavengers and will feed on just about anything. I remember snorkelling in a small estuary down south where I could see a ball of feeding bream moving towards me and when I spooked them, I saw they had been feeding on a dead rat that had been in the water for some time. Bream have been caught on every bait known.

Rock fishing around the entrance of Botany Bay or Port Hacking is also worth a try over January because this is where the bream will be looking for food.

Early starts are the key and the tide is very important. I find a high tide around 7am ideal.

Try fishing the small holes and washes along the ocean rocks, Fish with a light OO ball sinker and a No 1 hook on 6kg line. The odd drummer will smash you up but it’s bream we are after and I find light line the way to go,

Late afternoon will also fire with the same tides. Bream will move in to feed on the small crabs and items washed from the rocks by waves.

Bream will also hold over small reefs close to the entrance and if you anchor your boat and start a berley trail of chicken pellets, bread and sliced pilchards, you’re in with a chance. Float your bait down the trail for best results.

Nippers are still my choice of bait in these areas.

If you are catching smaller fish like sweep or yellowtail, you are too close to the reef. Bream seem to prefer the sandy gravel bottom around the reefs. Trevally and the odd snapper may be found there as they also hold in this type of area.

While fishing for bream around the reefs it may pay you to have a live bait over the side – this is the hunting ground for kingfish. Small yellowtail or slimy mackerel are good king baits.

Fish the livies on heavy tackle just off the bottom. You never know when that monster king will turn up so it pays to be prepared.

This great bream was caught around the Third Runway on a nipper, the author’s favourite Summer bream bait.

While predominantly Winter fish, silver trevally seem to inhabit the Bay all year these days.


George, Petro and Merv from Dainious Timbers scored well on salmon and trevally.

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