Bay gets a flush-out
  |  First Published: April 2004

GOOD rain at last! A good flush of the rivers is a long time overdue and should help with fishing over the next few months.

Fishing at this time of year seems to remain fairly consistent. Kings are still a great chance, as well as bream, trevally and plenty of hungry lizards around the vast shallows of the Botany Bay and throughout the Hacking River.

Hunting flathead in water only deep enough for your boat to float in is, at times, explosive, with hooked fish leaving the water and tail-walking or ripping across the surface as they head for the deeper edges. Flats fishing is worth a look over the next few month as the water remains around 20°. If you can manage a high tide around 7am, the flathead should already be feeding over the shallows and it’s just a matter of drifting and spinning with soft plastic or shallow-running minnows.

Try anchoring and drifting a live bait under a small bobby cork with the tide. Keep the bait just off the bottom for the best results. Mullet and small yellow tail are ideal.

Now for something a little different and worth the effort and a few laughs if you are with good mates – wading around in knee-deep water at 11pm, with light rain falling, chasing small crustaceans (yes, fishing is a sickness!) – prawning.

Prawning is not just an activity for yourself and your mates – the kids just love it. All you need to get started is a strong light and a scoop net, A good torch will do the job but a gas lamp is better. And the winner on our night wading the Lake Illawarra, just an hour’s drive south from Sutherland Shire, was a prawn light powered by a small 12-volt battery. Just ask any of the leading tackle shops and they should be able to put you onto one.

The best thing about these is that the prawning light is held under water. We found that all the larger prawns hugged the bottom and we missed many of them with the gas lamp or the torch.

For comfort, a pair of strong sandshoes or even waders will prevent you treading on anything nasty while wading around the lake.

Prawning is best on the dark of the moon on the run-out tide. But regular lake prawner Paul Phillis said he was catching about the same amount of prawns most nights he ventured out, even if the moon was in the sky. So for a top night out and a few laughs with mates or the family, give prawning a go.

Botany Bay should by now be producing plenty of prawns after its closure to commercial fishing so I will try to spend a night out wandering around some of the many sand flats over the next month. I will let you know how I fare. April is towards the end of the season for prawns but I will don the waders and give it a try.


Damien found squid the bait of preference for this rat king.


Trevally remain in good numbers in Botany Bay.


Rapala topwater lures are proving deadly on surface-feeding kings.

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