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Berley holds the key
  |  First Published: June 2003



Chilly mornings, dropping water temps and winds from the south-west that cut right to the bone – most anglers who fish Botany Bay over Winter know what I’m talking about.

But to help you catch more fish over the cooler months in Port Hacking and Botany Bay, there are a few proven methods that work for me every day out there on the water during Winter.

Berley at this time of the year will double your chances of catching a feed if you are targeting trevally, tailor or bream. If you are fishing spots like the container wall, Watts Reef or Bare Island in Botany Bay or spots like South West Arm, Yowie Bay and Gymea Bay in Port Hacking will all fish better if you berley .

The way I like to berley is fairly simple. I hand-berley with chicken pellets and finely chopped pilchards, thrown into the water in small but regular doses. I use bread and fish frames in the berley pot, munching them up and letting the mix trickle out through the holes in the berley pot.

The most important thing to remember is to keep all your berley as fine as you can so it acts only as an attractor, not as food. Your bait should be the largest thing to float down the berley trail. Try to keep the noise levels down in your boat and don’t bash your berley pot loudly or you may frighten shy fish away.

Quality bait is a must. Fresh prawns, nippers and pilchards are the three that work for me most days. Try chicken strips or chicken gut or fresh fish strips to add a little variety to the mix.

I find spinning a little more effective than bait-fishing for flathead as we slide into Winter. The great majority of our flathead in the Bay and Port Hacking are falling to well-presented soft plastic lures. My pick would have to be Squidgy range and many good flathead have fallen for these little rippers. The Slider range has also scored well this season and both will catch plenty of fish over the Winter to come.

The most important piece of gear on the boat when it comes to spinning or drifting for flathead around our southern water ways on often windy days is a good sea anchor. The best I have used is the Para Anchor 4, which I feel more than doubles our chances of catching flathead in the bay on windy days. It slows down the boat drift and allows you plenty of time to work over your favourite piece of water instead of running for cover when the wind comes up.

I have found that Para Anchor allows me to drift and spin for flathead in winds up to 20knots and it rolls up into a small ball for storage. This is one peace of equipment that will help you catch more fish over Winter and to laugh in the face of that cold south-west wind.

Next month I look at a few more items and methods that work for me in locating fish during the colder months.

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Berley will double your chances of bagging a few good trevally.

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As water temperatures fall, bream will be found around structure and by intelligent use of berley and quality bait, quality fish like this are on the cards.

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