Hibernation is over
  |  First Published: September 2004

SEPTEMBER heralds Spring weather patterns and many anglers come out of hibernation.

However, fishing and boating gear may have suffered during that hibernation. Salt that you may have left on your reel or rod the last time that you fished with it will have started to eat into every little nook and cranny. Terminal tackle may have formed a rusty ball in your tackle box or the oil and petrol in your trusty outboard may have gone stale. Owners who moor their boats may decide to start up the motor without checking what growth has attached itself to the leg and prop.

All of this can spell disaster when embarking on a new fishing season. Here are a few tips.

• Wash and wipe down all gear after each day’s use.

• Spray all the external moving parts of fishing rods and reels with a silicone-based spray.

• Wash all hooks and jig heads in fresh water. Leave to dry, then spray them with WD 40 and put them back in the tackle box.

• Regularly service boat motors.

• Wash the trailer down after each use.

• Regularly check trailer rollers, brakes, springs and bearings.

• Periodicallycheck reel drag washers.

These are only some of the things I do but they definitely make a difference if they’re done regularly, not just once a year when the weather starts to warm up.

Now that you have got that out of the way, it’s time to fish. September can be a funny month in Sydney but if you put time and effort into researching a few things you will find that there are plenty of fish you can target.

The entrances to Botany Bay and Port Hacking should hold schools of feeding salmon, tailor, bonito and kingfish. You could try whole pilchards or garfish on ganged hooks but you might be better off with small metal lures, soft plastics and flies.

If the fish are still not coming to the party, try letting lure sink for a while, then work it back to the surface.

Once the fish have stopped feeding and have gone deep, anchor and lay out a berley trail. If you fish as light as the conditions will allow, salmon, bonito, kingfish and bonito could come into the berley trail along with bream, silver trevally and snapper. Don’t forget to have a bait on the bottom in case there is a flathead about.


The ocean rocks will still have plenty of luderick, drummer, groper and the odd larger bream and silver trevally.

If you are fishing off the rocks berley is essential. When fishing for luderick use chopped weed. A mixture of bread and chicken pellets will also attract luderick, as well as bream, trevally and drummer.

Botany Bay would be worth a try for leatherjackets around the edges of the breakwalls and at the bases of the marker poles and drums. Use No 10 to No 6 long-shanked hooks on a paternoster rig.

The peeled prawn bait should be just a little bigger that the width of the bend of the hook, about 1cm. You should cut up a small pile to keep ready because leatherjackets can get the bait off in seconds.

Over the past couple of months flathead have been a bit hard to get but with the change in water and air temperatures they should become more responsive to baits and lures. I have found that at this time of the year the shad pattern soft plastics seem to get the bigger flathead.

This also is when the beaches seem to improve and it is worth getting down to you local beach early in the morning to chase salmon and tailor with whole pilchards or garfish on ganged hooks.

Once the sun is up and the surface fish go off, you could fish for whiting and bream. Use pilchard or garfish tails on single 1/0 hooks or beach or bloodworms.

This is also time to set witch’s-hat nets for blue swimmer crabs. I set the hats about 15 metres apart and then drift back down beside them, giving me the chance to cast out a plastic for flathead while keeping an eye on the traps.

Twenty to 30 minutes is long enough to keep nets down. If you don’t get any crabs, move to another spot. Try the beach from Dolls Point to the breakwall at the Cooks River entrance, the groynes at Kurnell and the entrance to Woolooware Bay. Remember, you cannot use any form of trap or net to catch crabs in Port Hacking.

If you are interested in learning more about how, where and when to fish in the Sydney area, call or email me.

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