More surface activity
  |  First Published: September 2003

NOW THAT the weather has started to warm up around here, there should be a bit more surface activity from kingfish, salmon, bonito and a few tailor.

You should be trolling in close off the rocks and beaches for best results. As in previous years September, even more so than August, seems to produce a lot of westerly winds, giving you the opportunity to get that little bit closer to the rocky headlands and the backs of the waves on the beaches. On the down side, you will find that the water tends to be a lot clearer but, if you are smart, you should get yourself a few pelagics.

This has been a great year for kingfish and their numbers will increase this month. You will also start to hook up on some of the bigger models as they find their way closer to shore and into the bays.

If you have a boat, you’ll find it hard to go wrong trolling a combination of Rapala CD-7s and CD-9s, along with a couple of Mann’s Stretch 5+s and Stretch 10+s. The only problem that I have found with this combination is that the Mann’s will pop out of the water if you tend to go over five knots, while the Rapalas will still travel well at seven to eight knots. Keep your speed under five knots and you should be OK and have a deadly combination of lures behind you.


Another fish that starts to turn it on around now is the dusky flathead. Whether you are casting or trolling hard-bodied lures or plastics, or drifting baits, September will start to see the bigger females, followed by the smaller males, move downstream to the entrances of the bays.

Mixed in with the flathead will be the odd big flounder and sand whiting. Try places like the entrance to Cooks River, the Captain Cook Bridge, Woolooware Bay and Towra Point. In Port Hacking try the deep water off the entrances to Burraneer, Yowie and Gymea bays.

Over the past 18 months in Botany Bay I have found that there has definitely been an increase in numbers of silver trevally and snapper just under or just over the legal limit of 30cm. So the ban on commercial fishing seems to be having results.

All you need to do is find the edge of a reef or a drop-off, anchor up so that your boat is at the edge, start berleying and feed out a lightly-weighted peeled prawn, pilchard fillet, pink nipper, chicken fillet or strip of skinned yellowtail with a 1/0 Mustad Penetrator hook in it. It won’t be long before you are tangling with a silver trevally or a snapper.

Even though the weather has started to warm up, the water may not have, so you shouldn’t forget bream, trevally, drummer or groper off the rocks. Just make sure that you keep an eye on the weather and the swell. Even though there may have been a westerly wind blowing for a few days, giving you flat conditions, it doesn’t take long for a groundswell to come back at you when the wind has died down, so be careful.

During early October, Scott Lyons and I will be heading down to Jindabyne for a few days to give the trout a go. I will let you know how we fare. Also, if you have any questions you would like to ask me about fishing in Sydney, email me and I will get back to you.

Here are this month’s spots to try those soft plastics.

Land-based: Towards the end of the month we should start to see a bit of surface activity from rat kingfish smashing up the baitfish that tend to hang around the base of the Spit Bridge. A lot of anglers cast metal slugs from the shore here for kings.

Why not try casting a weighted plastic stickbait, such as a Mann’s 4” Dragin Jerkbait, a Squidgy Fish or Wriggler or, one of my favourites, the Storm Rippin’ Minnow.

Use a weighted jig head or tie on a Mustad Mega Bite hook and put a weight directly onto the head of the plastic. These plastics can then be slowly retrieved, jerked or skipped back across the surface.

Boat spot: Woolooware Bay is on the south-eastern side of the Captain Cook Bridge and is mostly fairly shallow. Most of the shore is lined with mangroves and there are also lots of disused oyster leases and rock bars that hold plenty of bream and flathead. You will need to fish these areas near the top of the tide and work your way back out to the edge of the drop-offs.

Try Storm Swim Baits in 2” to 4” or the larger sizes in the Squidgy Fish range for the flathead. If you are after bream, you could try the 2” Naturistic Shrimp from Storm or the Squidgy Wriggler No 2.

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