My past few fishing outings have been spent throwing lures around the moorings and along the rock walls in the upper reaches of the harbour, with a fair amount of success on the bream, I am happy to report.
Although I must admit that the first trip was fishless for the first few hours as I concentrated on using soft plastics. Despite my ‘double twist with half pike’ retrieve, that has proven successful in the past, the fish refused to strike. Thankfully, I had a couple of Oar Gee Lil Rippers in the tackle box and they produced the goods and I have switched back to using small minnow lures to good effect.
I guess it proves the old adage that you should carry a maximum selection of hardware with you, as you never know what will turn the fish on. At this time of the year most of the bream have moved out of the Sydney estuaries on their spawning run, but there are always some mature fish that, for one reason or another, don’t get the biological trigger to join the schools as they move downstream to the sea to spawn.
These fish, which continue to hold in the rivers and bays during Winter, tend to be fairly aggressive and bite readily, possibly due to a lack of natural food in the colder water. So if you are looking for a more active form of fishing to keep you warm during the Winter months, try some estuary spinning. But make sure you carry a wide variety of lures to improve your success rate.
John dory have put in an early appearance in the Harbour. I have heard reports of catches of up to four fish a session off Middle Head. Most of these fish have been caught on live yellowtail set to catch the last run of kingfish before they left the harbour. John dory will occasionally take a dead bait, such as a prawn or fish fillet but, by far, their preference is for a small live fish – their natural diet. While you are catching your live bait, it is worthwhile putting out the first livie caught with a 4/0 hook through the back. Around the bait schools is precisely where the dory hang out.
The float-fishers are doing well on the blackfish. Above the bridge, Blues Point has been a productive spot and there have also been some encouraging reports of catches along the Luna Park shoreline. Mrs Macquaries Chair, Cremorne Point and Grotto Point have been best for those fishing east of the bridge.
Finding green weed for bait continues to be the major problem confronting luderick fishers, with many relying on weed brought in to local tackle shops from the South Coast. Others have found limited success with weed collected from freshwater streams and ponds.
The pelagic activity has increased in Broken Bay with bonito, salmon and tailor being caught, but mainly down deep. The best method to find the fish seems to be to troll deep-running lures until you get a hit and then go back and find the school with your sounder and jig the fish with metal or soft plastic lures.
Night anglers have been scoring reasonable bags of bream in Berowra Creek and Cowan Creek. Fishing in close to the rocky shoreline in the deep bays with peeled prawn, chook gut or pudding baits can produce bags of half a dozen fish. Best results are being had during the dark of the moon with a high tide about 8pm. You need to rug up on these cold nights.
There are some quality flathead being caught in the upper reaches of the river. Lennie Vigurs has fished a number of sessions between Wisemans Ferry and Lautondale and hasn’t yet come home without a feed. The flatties have ranged from legal length to 55cm. Fishing at anchor with peeled prawn and squid baits during the last half of the run-out tide has produced the goods.
The shoreline from Flint and Steel to West Head is usually a good Winter spot for bream. The small bay about half-way along the shore is relatively shallow with scattered outcrops of rock and kelp. Fishing the channels between the reefs can be very productive, particularly early morning and late evening. This area is relatively sheltered during southerly winds.
It’s trevally time and most areas in the Bay where there is some underwater formation are holding schools of trevs. Watts Reef, Molinaux Point and The Sticks are all likely possies. Most of the fish are fairly small, which is typical of the first Winter run. Larger fish should start turning up this month.
For those anglers chasing blackfish, Muddy Creek, off Cooks River, is a good option. Reasonable catches of fish up to 400g are being caught near the BAFA club. If you can pump some squirt worms, then the same area is worth a try at night for the blackfish. Try the same rig that you would use for bream, but go down in hook size and expect a few bream in the catch, too.
Blackfish captures have also been on the improve in the Georges River, with recognised spots such as The Moons, the Wire Fence and the Woronora all fishing well.
The girls from Ku-Ring-Gai Hornsby Angling and Casting Club showed the boys they know how to catch big flathead in the Hawkesbury River. Jill Rowe trotted out this wonderful flathead at a recent mid-week club weigh-in.
Not to be outdone, Wanda Menczer rubbed further salt into the men’s wounds at the Ku-Ring-Gai Hornsby Angling and Casting Club weigh-in with an even bigger lizard.Reads: 2033