THIS can be one of the coldest times weatherwise but if you put the effort it can be one of the hottest times of the year for fishing in the estuaries and bays.
Bream will have just about finished their breeding and some will have moved upstream to lay up for the Winter, while the others will have moved farther up the coast. Luderick and drummer will be in a hot bite off the rocks and even though the flathead and sand whiting will have thinned out, they too will be looking for a feed.
Snapper will also be found on the close reefs, in the bays and certain parts of Port Hacking. You will also come across striped tuna, bonito and salmon working in schools just off the coast. These fish will at times enter Botany and Bate bays chasing whitebait.
There are not as many boats on the water, freeing up the congestion that can occur on the boat ramps. So put on some warm clothes and get yourself out there – as you will be surprised what is about.
Last month I said the bonito had been a little scarce but they have showed up strongly. I was out recently with All at Sea Charters with a group of anglers and we managed to troll up plenty of bonito, with several triple hook-ups using Christmas trees lures. Many of these fish were released, although the guys kept a few for the barbecue. I prefer not to eat them (personal taste) but I did keep a number for bait later in the year.
Salted bonito, along with salted slimy mackerel, are among my favourite baits for bream, flathead and snapper. During the cooler months I prefer to use baits like chicken breast in parmesan cheese, chicken, abalone gut, mullet gut, fresh mullet and luderick strips, salted tuna, bonito and striped tuna. Most of the fish at this time of year tend to spread out a bit and the smell of these baits, along with your berley, will help attract the fish to where you are fishing.
If you are shore-based, try the baths in the corner of Gymea Bay for bream, whiting, flathead and mullet. Take down some bread or chicken pellets soaked in water and use it for berley. Lilli Pilli baths are another very good place for the shore-based angler, with most fishing off the small wharf.
Try the small sandstone wall on the northern side of the baths on a run-in tide with a leader about one to two metres long. Leatherjackets and luderick can also be caught off this wall. Cast towards the area where the boats are moored.
On the banks of the Georges River, try the northern or southern approaches of the Como Bridge or the western side of Bald Face Point on the run-in tide for bream, mullet and flathead. Live poddy mullet or larger than normal strip baits would be the go. Either end of the Captain Cook Bridge is worth arty on the run-out tide for bream and the odd mulloway.
On the Georges River you could try The Moons, about half-way between the bridge at Alfords Point and the old ferry at Lugarno. At this time of year bream tend to school in this area. Try using the above baits as well as whitebait and pilchard tails.
If you’d like to tangle with some snapper and without venturing offshore, try South West Arm in Port Hacking or drift between the moored boats in the bays east of the entrance to Yowie Bay. Use a No 2 ball sinker right down onto a 2/0 Mustad Penetrator hook baited with salted tuna or bonito, strips of squid, mullet, pilchards, whitebait or chicken soaked in parmesan cheese.
I recently spent a morning chasing squid for bait in Port Hacking, where I was told by a guy working in a marina that I could not fish anywhere around any of the marinas in any of the waterways, as they were all fish sanctuaries, and it was because of people like me who took all the breeding fish away from these marinas, that there were no fish left in Port Hacking or Botany Bay! I was a little bit taken back by this.
At the time he was taking a guy out in a tender to show him a fishing boat for sale. His client also had a look of amazement about what was said.
I informed the marina man he had no idea what he was talking about and suggested he ring NSW Fisheries on his mobile. After about five minutes of telling me that I was not allowed to do what I was doing, he eventually rang directory services for the NSW Fisheries number. After complaining to somebody on the phone that I was fishing near the marina, he just walked away without saying anything to me about what he was told. My guess is the person on the other end of the line told him how wrong he was.
I believe this bloke was acting on his own behalf and not the marina owners. He should get himself educated on fishing rules and regulations before he starts telling people of where they can and can’t fish.
If you are interested in learning more about how, where and when to fish in the Sydney area, phone or email for more information.Reads: 2153