Good catches persist
  |  First Published: July 2005

Fishing in and around Sydney has continued to produce pretty good catches of Summer and Winter species in the Harbour and Pittwater. Kingfish and salmon are still there and some bonito and even the odd mackerel tuna have persisted but they should slow down before long.

Most of the kingfish have been caught on fresh squid and small live yellowtail around the markers and up around The Spit. Kingfish are also being caught slow-trolling live yellow tail around the Heads. Big salmon are also falling to these trolled live baits.

This is when a good downrigger comes into play. My Scotty downrigger allows me to get my bait or lure down to the depth where the fish are hanging. Another advantage is when the fish takes the bait or lure, the clip releases the line and you can fight the fish unencumbered by trolling weights or other gear.

When using a downrigger in an area for the first time it pays to troll the area first without the downrigger and note the minimum depth and the depth any fish are at. It is also advantage to have a GPS plotter and sounder so you can travel back along the route that you surveyed.

After the dummy run, run the release clip onto your leader – I like three to five metres of drop-back from the ball. Wind the rigger down to a depth above the minimum surveyed or the depth the fish are hanging and make sure you pre-load your rod with a curve in it so when the fish strikes the rod will snap back taking up the slack line and set the hooks.

Troll at minimum speed, pulling the boat out of gear every now and then .When you do hook up, make sure that someone winds up the ball out of the way so the fish does not wrap around the cable.

Another advantage of a downrigger is it allows you to troll an extra lure that does not interfere with your normal spread.


Most of the salmon we have been catching lately have been full of 250mm slimy mackerel so I have been trolling some larger lures around instead of the 70mm and 90mm ones I normally use. I go up to 110mm and 140mm lures, with the Producers Barra Mauler range working well.

I usually run two Maulers on the outside of the spread, one back about 35 metres and the other 50 metres with a Slug-Go or two in the middle. Often we have had multiple hook ups, sometimes four at once.

As the water gets colder and clearer it will also pay to use lighter leaders or fluorocarbon leader to improve the catch rate. This worked well last Winter.


Bream have been on the bite with some good catches around the Harbour and the Hawkesbury River on soft plastics and crankbaits. Some of the better areas in the Hawkesbury have been Berowra Creek, Pumpkin Point and Spencer. Small lures cast close to structure have been doing the job.

In the Harbour the bream have been caught under moored boats, under pontoons and wharfs with small plastics. Getting your lure under some of the wharfs is where the challenge is; the bow-and-arrow cast comes into its own in these areas. It allows you to put lures into areas that would not be possible with any other cast.

Learn to do this cast at home before you get out on the water and if using a graphite rod, make sure you don’t bend the rod over its design limit. Also be careful not to get hooked when you release – grab the bend of the hook between two fingers for safety.

Once you get under the wharf, let the lure sink before working it out slowly by lifting and dropping the rod tip. Make sure that drag is set as tight as you dare so when you hook up on a good bream you can drag it out.


The bass have been a little hard to find over the past month but some good fish have been caught around tidal areas of the Hawkesbury. Greg Catt caught some bass up to 44cm around Dad’s Corner.

The estuary perch are schooled up in most of the brackish areas of the river and are ready for their run down to the salt. They should start to turn up in good numbers around the lower reaches of the Hawkesbury this month. Some of the better areas should be Bare Point, Dangar Island, Juno Point and up around Bobbin Head.

The guys from Windsor Bait and Tackle also had a great day around Wisemans Ferry using live prawns on jewfish, bream, flathead, bass, and estuary perch.

I have just put a 5.2-metre bream and bass boat on the water so I am now able to offer specialised lure and fly bream tours around the Harbour, Parramatta River and the Hawkesbury as well as targeting estuary perch and bass on the upper reaches of the Hawkesbury, Nepean, Colo, Macdonald rivers and Lake St Clair for those bigger bass and yellows . Any one interest could phone me on 0408 334 892

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