Top gear and warm water
  |  First Published: February 2005

Over the next month the water temperature in Pittwater should peak and the pelagic fish will move into top gear.

My diary shows that in February 2004 a cobia about 18kg was caught on a squid strip at Longnose Point while the angler was chasing for kingfish. February also produced two 60cm spotted mackerel plucked from a berley trail on pilchards on ganged hooks on 2kg tackle. These travellers come into Pittwater each year when the warm currents come close enough to Broken Bay for them to follow the schools of bait into the river.

In early December 2004 one of our customers hooked, but lost, a small cobia in 23.7° water in Towlers Bay. One of the cobia’s buddies followed what was left of the bait all the way back to our drifting boat and sat in the shadow of the boat about 50cm under the surface.

Carl Takemoto drifted back a 10cm live yellowtail and before our eyes the cobia raced right over as if it was going to smash it but, at the very last moment, turned away. The warm blue water was in Broken Bay for only a day but this was enough time for cobia to move half-way up the river.

The kingfish are gradually coming out of the moorings and moving into the deeper water around the sandflats. Lures, flies, poppers and soft plastics such as white Slug-Gos are working a treat. The fish are also cruising around Scotland Island and down stream at places like the Palm Beach channel marker, The Basin and Soldiers Point.

Increased boat traffic on weekends makes it harder to find the fish but start early, take out binoculars and spot the working gulls. This method saves on fuel and time and God bless my Missus for buying my binoculars, which have saved us on occasions by showing me working birds that would have otherwise been unnoticed.

Flathead are being picked up on most of the drifts with the drop-off around Mackerel Beach the best chance to land a decent lizard. Careel Bay is the perfect area to chase large whiting, mullet, bream or leatherjackets. Live nippers, bloodworms, whitebait and prawns are all worth using.

For those who are not Pittwater regulars, we experience crystal-clear water at this time of year and presenting your baits so they appear natural is critical. In other words, lay your prawns out flat on the hook, not in a semi-circle. This is easier to do on a long-shank hook.

Squid over the past month have increased in size and are now big enough to take home for dinner. The larger squid are hanging around the sandflat inside Barrenjoey Head and in the ribbon weed close to the rocks.

Smaller, bait-size squid can be caught at Taylors Point, Longnose Point and along the sandflats at Lovett Bay using orange or pink jigs in the 2.5 size.

The larger squid are best kept on ice once cleaned. When they are safely at home, cut them how you like them and place in a bowl of milk in the fridge for an hour. The milk breaks down a fine layer of clear skin that can become tough.

Bream can be caught on fly at Lovett Bay around the crusty boats first thing in the morning. Most fish are legal and have been chasing Felty’s Living Eyes in white, with a variety of other small flies resemble small baitfish also working.

For soft plastics fans, the fish are eating 25mm watermelon colours on the drop. Unweighted soft plastics cast right up against the shaded side of the boat works best. Try Mustad’s Aberdeen hooks and match the hook to your lure.

Flathead are pouncing on Berkley 4” prawn imitations in natural colours around the same area. This month my clients will fish for the above species as well as jewfish on the Hawkesbury.

Reads: 1943

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