This is my favourite month to target yellowfin bream in the southern areas of Sydney.
Whether you chase them with bait, flies, minnow lures or soft plastics, you are in with a very good chance of tangling with these sought-after fish. They can be found hanging around oyster racks, sand flats, eddies, pontoons, wharves, pylons, weed beds, drop-offs and just about any other place that has water on top of it.
A lot of anglers say they avoid fishing for bream in fast-flowing water. Their main reasons seem to be that there is too much current, the berley takes the fish away and they can’t hold bottom. When fishing for yellowfin bream (as distinct from southern black bream), I don’t mind at what time of day or how fast the current is running – as long as I am catching them.
Here’s how I would fish for bream at The Sticks in Botany Bay on, say, Wednesday, April 16. Get yourself a tide chart and have a look at the tides: Low tide is at 1.26am at a height of 29cm, then later in the morning the high tide is at 7.37am at a height of 1.78 metres. The afternoon low tide occurs around 2pm at a height of 19cm, causing a lot of water to pass through the bay over two six-hour tide changes.
Anchor your boat so that it will be at right-angles to the flow of the tidal current. This allows you to fish the rising tide from one side of your boat and then, when the tide changes, you could then fish out of the other side of your boat without having to move.
Due to the fast movement of the tide, you will need to berley with pieces of tuna or pilchards, along with handfuls of dry chicken pellets. The weight of the pellets allows them to get down to the bottom quite quickly.
Two more essential pieces of equipment would be a baitrunner-style reel and a very long leader. The length of the leader should be about the length of the rod and there should be sufficient running sinker above the swivel so that the lead doesn’t roll around. This will allow the bait to rise off the bottom away from those small snapper and Port Jackson sharks and give the bream a chance to belt the floating bait. The baitrunner reel in free-spool mode will allow the bream to take the bait with ease without feeling the sinker or line drag, allowing you to just pick up the rod, turn the handle and engage the drag, fight and land the fish.
For bait I suggest you try some of the following: chicken gut, chicken fillets, pink nippers, peeled Hawkesbury prawns, blood, squirt or beach worms, pilchards, mullet, tuna, bonito or garfish fillets.
Now for some places to try soft plastics this month.
Land-based: I suggest you travel to the Tonkin Street boat ramp in Gunnamatta Bay at Cronulla during the lower part of the tide. This will give you a very clear understanding of what the bottom is like, so that you can come back and fish off the small sandstone retaining wall for bream, sand whiting and dusky flathead.
At low tide you will see there is a very small group of oyster-covered rocks to the west of the flats and deep water off the end of the ramp. You will need to work these areas near the top of the tide.
Boat-based: There is a stretch of water between Griffins Point and Wearne Bay in the Georges River that is home to some rather large dusky flathead and yellowfin bream.
There are two ways to fish this stretch of water. Firstly, drift close to the shoreline and cast small Squidgies or Atomics right up against the shore and then work them back towards your boat, making sure you keep the plastic near the bottom.
The second technique is to cast a large plastic in the direction that you are drifting and let it sink to the bottom, then work it all the way back to the boat along the bottom. If you are drifting too fast due to the wind, you can always put out a Para Anchor to slow you down.
The classes on fishing Sydney waterways are on again on Monday nights. If anyone would like to come along email me at --e-mail address hidden-- phone me on 0422 994 207. I am also running an on-water and theory class at Hunts Marine with Scott Lyons from Southern Sydney Fishing Tours. The next theory night will be held on April 7 and the practical days will be decided after that.Reads: 1010