Lower river a hot spot
  |  First Published: September 2005

The bottom section of the Hawkesbury should start to fish well this month. Last September good number of bream and flathead were caught on soft plastics and small divers.

Most of these were caught around the oyster lease and rocky shoreline. Some good estuary perch were caught up around Apple Tree Bay and Bobbin Head on soft plastics and surface lures. There was also the odd kingfish hanging around the same area to spice up proceedings.

Good numbers of salmon should also be caught fly and lure. Last September they took just about any lure cast at them.

Let’s hope that the striped tuna also turn up this year because they did not last season. If they do, it can be some of the best light-tackle sports fishing action you can experience but you will need your tackle to be in good nick for those long, hard runs that only striped tuna give on light tackle.

I like to use light spin tackle to target these small pelagics, with a 7’ to 7’6” 4kg rod with a 400-size high-speed threadline loaded with 8lb Fireline about right. With this tackle I find that you can cast any lure to its maximum distance and retrieved it as fast as needed to trigger a strike.

The best way to find fish is to look for birds working or surface activity. This can be easy some days when the fish stay up but on other days you might only see a few bait fish rippling on the surface, so keep your eye trained for any surface movement.

If you can’t find fish on the surface, try trolling a spread of lures around the headlands. I use a couple of deep divers and a couple of small Magoo skirted pushers to locate the fish when they’re not on top. When you get a fish if often pays to circle back over them because they can be concentrated in one area.

When the striped tuna and other small pelagics are feeding on small ‘eyes’ baitfish, a fly will outfish most other methods. You can also work a fly a lot slower than most lures or just let it sit in the middle of a feeding school.

I usually start my retrieve with a double-hand strip, which works well when the fish are active. If this doesn’t work, try a long, slow strip or fast, short strips with pauses. Every now and then you will find a fish will hit you on the pause.

Get the fly to the feeding fish as fast you can so practise at home. Give me a ring to arrange a day tour on 040 8334 892.

Sydney Harbour has been on fire with some amazing Winter fishing for salmon, kings, tailor, striped tuna and frigates – most unusual for this time of the year.

Plenty of bream and the odd king have been caught around the wharves and pontoons on soft plastics.


In the upper and middle Hawkesbury, this is the time when the bass and estuary perch head back upstream to there Summer residences. They will be schooled up in good numbers anywhere from Windsor to Wisemans Ferry.

The best way to get some action is to use your sounder to find areas where the bass and EPs congregate. When your sounder shows a concentration of fish, double back and give the area a good working over.

I like to work the corners that have weed beds and I have found that fish tend hang around weeds at this time of year. Position your boat a littler wider than you would in the Summer because the water is clearer. Remember, schools of estuary perch tend to hold wider than bass.


Anyone wishing to learn more about fishing for tidal-water bass and estuary perch should buy the DVD John Bethune and I have produced. Available at most local tackle stores, this DVD features shore line casting, soft plastic techniques, fly fishing and rare footage of fishing swamp drains after a flood with bass surface feeding on prawns.


Over the past month I have fishing with some Viking lures and have been getting good bass around the rocky shores. These Australian-made lures have a first-class finish and come in a variety of depth ranges to suit shallow and deeper water. They can be cast or trolled and the bass love them, so check out your local tackle shop for these.


Manly, NSW and Kangaroo forward Ben Kennedy and his mate Bun with a Broken Bay salmon. Expect plenty of these this month.


Mick Roberts with an EP caught on a Slider 3" Bass Grub. EPs should be schooling wide of the weed beds now anywhere from Windsor to Wisemans Ferry.


Kim Bain hooks into a Spring sambo this time last year.
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