Kingfish looking good
  |  First Published: November 2005

I just took a peek at my diary for November last year and it seems it was dominated by kingfish, with the occasional rather unsuccessful snapper sortie.

Water temperature was 16° at the close-in reefs and those bloody pests – chinaman leatherjackets – were still nibbling through delicate mono. Half-way through the month we had a spell when that horrible snotty algae clung to line like a baby to its mother and it took ages to clean off once it dried.

One trip to the beach saw a good bag of tailor taken right on high tide close to dusk and I got spooled as well – probably a jew and the 3kg line couldn’t cope.

The water has been very cold this year and I think it will take longer for the ocean to heat up.

Drummer throughout the Winter were very keen to play and will still be biting hard this month. Abalone gut and cunje baits are my favourites for these rock thugs. I fish 15kg line with the drag locked because no beg-your-pardons are asked for, or given, when tangling with pigs.

We usually get days in November when there is no wind and conditions flatten out. Although ideal, it usually kills the action offshore but halcyon days like this are usually productive up the river.

Casting baits or lures around the many oyster leases can produce some very big bream with the occasional flathead as a bonus.

Jewfish come out of their lethargy, usually instigated by a good dose of rain which seems to waken the river. Squid become easier to find and start to chase prawn look-alike jigs with more purpose.

A big lump of squid on an 8/0 or 9/0 hook is still my favourite bait for a king. If you are happy to donate some of your calamari to jew baits, you should be rewarded at places like Flint and Steel Reef, Juno Point and any of the Hawkesbury bridges.

Out at Broken Bay Wide, the current is howling to the south with at least three bubbles down. These are lines of fish trap floats and ‘three bubbles’ is when the current has pulled three of the styrene floats under the water – a way of measuring current strength.

It’s hard to float baits to the bottom in such current. Dropper rigs have seen morwong to 3kg taken on flesh baits and there have been some XXL nannygai biting on large green prawns.

Small kingfish have been schooling off Cape Three Points but I wouldn’t be targeting these yet. Try more productive areas such as East Reef and West Reef.

I love the rain and the big seas as they stir up the beach and the result is usually an increase in productivity. Long Reef Beach has been the pick with whiting and bream taken from the northern end.

At Dee Why salmon and tailor were taken on the recent late evening tides on gang-hooked pilchards.

It seems the rain has had little effect on Pittwater and the Hawkesbury with reports very thin on the ground. Just inside the mouth of the river, a few dusky flathead have fallen to bottom lures such as Mr Twisters and bibbed hard-bodied divers.

My bet is the fish are further up-river looking for a bit of fresh water as the salt is way upstream due to the drought. It’s good to see a few jew taken from up the river on squid baits after dark on the top of the tide.

I think I might scrub Narrabeen Lake as a fishery until they open the entrance. It’s been as dead as road kill and will stay that way until we get warmer weather or there is tidal movement again.

I have a band of faithful, reliable informants who go out of their way to provide me information for this column. They tell me when fish are caught, when they catch zilch and what the conditions were like. My heartfelt thanks go out to you because without you there would be no column.


Be careful when you catch and release fish as they can be full of roe or milt. Yes, it’s the time when fancy turns to lust and there is an awful lot of hanky-panky going on in the ocean at the moment. Be mindful of this when handling fish as our little finned friends are trying very hard to bolster future stocks.

Support their body weight gently with wet hands and never hold large fish vertically by the tail because you may dislodge their spines or innards. If you’re going to release your catch, think carefully about leaving it in the water and simply unhooking it. If the fish is deeply hooked, simply cut the trace and let saltwater corrosion take care of the hook.

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