Waiting for warm water
  |  First Published: October 2005

As a rule, water temperatures are usually still down in October unless we get some 35°- plus weather like last year.

Although the days are getting warmer, fish still retain that Winter sluggishness but where the sun hits the shallows, this will tend to warm up the water and get fish back in a feeding mood.

Places I would be targeting include Narrabeen, Dee Why and Queenscliff lagoons. Being shallow, they will heat up the quickest. Bright, flashy lures with plenty of seductive action will get fish more revved than artificials that barely wiggle on retrieve.

This month we might start to see a few kingfish come in close to Barrenjoey although they should be around East and West reefs by now. Luke Carr managed a 90cm king right at the mouth of Careel Bay on a live squid.

Other places to try for these yellow-tailed brutes are Newport Reef, the Slaughterhouse, Long Reef Wide and North Head. I still believe fresh squid is the el primo bait for kings, either whole or in long strips, de-skinned and the end tasselled with a knife to give it action.

Geoff Robson-Scott told me of spotty or dog mackerel taken between Barrenjoey and Lion Island in early Spring last year. I hope some of these northern visitors have hung around because they are fantastic sport on fine string and eat well.

Close to the western shores of Pittwater there are resident trevally taking strip baits. These fish respond to a constant stream of fish berley mixed in with pellets or bread. Try just out from Long Nose Point, the drop-off at Portuguese Beach and south of West Head for a feed of these fighters.

Lance Jansen scored one dusky flathead, one flounder and a solitary squid after a long soft plastics session in Broken Bay. Small blue swimmer crabs have come from Brooklyn in witch’s-hat nets but at least 20% are soft-shelled.

Bream seem to desiring bait rather than lures ,with small black crabs taking fish around the Petes Bight leases. Eleanor Bluff has seen small mulloway attacking cut baits such as mullet and gar. These fish are no way near the legal size of 45cm and must be gently returned.

Fishing wide of Long Reef in his boat The Office, Ron Kovaks pulled in morwong and snapper in 60m of water.

I hit West Reef recently for a miserable catch of a small snapper and a solitary tailor. Boating four Port Jackson sharks in succession was one of the day’s highlights. One big one became a star by having his photo taken and all were released with that happy smile on their sweet little faces.

There were heaps of yellowtail under the boat but a pinned version produced nil result after four hours of soaking. Ray

Gagen was plagued by sweep at Reggies so, in anger, he ventured out to Esmeralda to find hordes of chinaman jackets that again got his gander up as they kept nipping through his line. In frustration, he came back in to Barrenjoey, only to be greeted by another faithful band of sweep. He gets points for persistence and at least being out there.


Although seas have been generally flat from the persistent westerlies, there has been quite a bump, making rock ledges very unsafe for all but the experienced.

Tailor and salmon were the rewards for the stone gurus and there was a report of snapper taken from South Avalon.

Beaches have been patchy with fast-moving schools of tailor whizzing up the coast, then turning round and shooting back through the gutters at warp speed. Salmon are increasing in numbers and, although not big, give great sport on light gear.

For those fishing worm baits, off Long Reef, Collaroy and Harbord beaches, big blue-nose whiting have been hitting hard but there has been a long wait between bites.

I spoke to an angler working the flats in Narrabeen Lake near the caravan park. He had been chucking lures for an hour and a half without even a follow. As I said, October should see a turnaround in activity as this shallow waterway wakes from its slumber and starts producing the goods again.

My three-evening fishing clinics start on Monday, October 10 at North Narrabeen. Learn how to catch fish in Pittwater, Broken Bay and the Hawkesbury. I will let you into a few secrets and give you the hot spots. To book call 02 9970 6204.

Monthly tip: I’ve said it before but it’s worth mentioning again. Even after a freshwater wash, residual salt water gets into knots and then dries, leaving razor-sharp crystals that nick and weaken delicate line. Retie all knots before a session to retain maximum line strength.


A typical Hawkesbury bream taken in late Winter. They are usually getting thin as their fat layer has all but been used up trying to keep warm.


Fishing light is the way to go for fish such as bream, flathead and whiting. Holding the rod, you will feel all bites – something you won’t if the outfit is left in a holder.

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