Great days on The Bay
  |  First Published: February 2004

IT’S PRIME TIME around the waterways of southern Sydney and over the next month it will only improve in Botany Bay and Port Hacking – and the same applies around the close reefs.

As we slip into February, the bream should form into large groups and move around the bay and onto the reefs just of Cronulla as they congregate for spawning.

The expansive flats of Botany Bay, from the mouth of the Georges River to the Third Runway and from The Sticks to Brighton Beach, are the Summer hunting grounds for the bream anglers of the Bay. Nippers and bloodworms are my favourite baits but peeled prawns and chook gut both work at times.

Just anchor your boat and fish the rising or falling tide. There’s no real gun spot, just anchor somewhere in this area and you’re in with a show as long as you berley effectively. Just remember, ‘no run, no fun’, because you’ll need tidal movement to carry the berley and attract the fish.

Spots worth in the Hacking River are the Maianbar flats, Lilli Pilli flats just of the baths and the big flats just inside Gunnamatta Bay. It’s a little different in Port Hacking, as I like to fish the last two hours of the run-in tide and the first of the run out, as most spots are rather shallow.  

Nippers are the number one bait in the Port in my book, although worms and prawns can be just as deadly. Whiting are a great by-catch when fishing for bream in the Port and it may pay you to place a large bait under the boat, because blue swimmer crabs should be in good numbers throughout February.

A typical day on Botany Bay during February might start out on the flats chasing bream. I spend no longer than 40 minutes at each spot. I might start, say, just off the old runway and move slowly up the bay towards The Sticks. This way you are covering plenty of ground and keeping your eyes peeled for any surface action – tailor are a good chance this time of the year and great fun on light tackle.

Try anchoring in three or four spots as you move up the bay. Set your bream gear and while you wait for a run, try spinning with soft plastic because flathead are a great chance at all of these spots.

After fishing three spots, it’s time to catch live baits or find a few squid. Try Watts Reef or the bottom end of Yarra Bay for your bait, then anchor in deep water around structure.

Fish a berley trail with peeled prawns or nippers for trevally and the odd bream. Kings are the target on the live baits and squid fished under the boat.

Flathead are best left to the afternoon and by now the wind is up most days. I fish the sheltered shorelines out of the wind to allow a slow drift to work soft plastic.

Squidgies are my pick when working the flats. My favourite colours are gold, green, pink, blue, bloodworm and black opal. I have four anglers out for the day I always start each with a different colour and after spending two hours drifting, it’s very rare for one colour to stand out. We always seem to catch fish on different colours each day.

This group completed the fishing school at Hunts Marine: Guy Michael, Daniel Ford, Neil Redfern, Terry Choy and Darren Simmons had a great day out on Botany Bay, catching a stud 2kg trevally and a solid 6kg king.

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