More reliable catches
  |  First Published: November 2005

October started with a bang but the fireworks were shortlived. With water between 18° and 21° you would think that the fish would be jumping into the boat to cool down but the opposite seemed to happen.

The fish were spread out along the entire river and were difficult to entice. We saw heaps of surface action but the boat traffic seemed to make the fish wary.

This month should see the fishing settle down a little and the fish should be more predictable. As always, fresh bait and berley should see a mixed bag.

First light is the time to hit the weed beds near the mouth of the river.

Squid are a fair bit easier to catch just before or just after the first rays of light hit the water. The smaller squid jigs in bright colours are working well around places like Palm Beach, West Head, Barrenjoey Head and Mackeral Beach.

While at West Head you should also catch a yellowtail or two, as they can be very handy.

Once you have collected enough squid, try trolling them at West Head or Barrenjoey Head. These two areas at the start of the season usually see a lot of kingfish.

Most of the time the fish are patrolling the headlands in large schools. Once a school of kingies has been found, yellowtail or soft plastics should be used.

When the kingies move on, troll live squid again until you hook up and repeat the process.

These hard-fighting fish are spread throughout the river. Over the past week we have caught kingies at Towlers Bay, Longnose Point, Soldiers Point and Sand Point. We have not caught any over the wrecks for a week, proving to me that they are patrolling the bays and points.

This is a normal thing for Pittwater at this time of the year. The fish are happy chasing bait out of the deep water and into the shallows of the bays, where it becomes a free-for-all. Most of this action happens at high tide.

Flathead and flounder are starting to appear in most bays and at the mouth of the river. Whitebait has been the most successful bait on flathead with prawns the best for flounder.

The Palm Beach drop-off has produced larger flathead with pilchards or yellowtail working a treat. Some big flathead should start to move up onto the flats over the coming month and are great fun to catch on big soft plastics or crankbaits. Using lures can be a great way to cover a lot of ground in a short period.


Bream are showing up among the moorings at Prince Alfred Yacht Club. Most of these fish are only around 30cm but are great fun on the light tackle. A 4” fish-profile soft plastic thrown hard against the moored vessels is the way to go.

Attack the shaded side of the moored boats and twitch the lure on its descent. Most fish are in six to eight metres of water.

For those who like to use bait for bream, Careel Bay near the wharf has some 40cm fish cruise through. Bread is the best berley in this area and use the same for bait.

Anchoring in this area is restricted and the signs must be obeyed to stop the spread of noxious Caulerpa seaweed.

Tailor are showing up when you least expect them and with most fish around 40cm, a lot of anglers are catching a few for a feed whenever possible. The easiest way to catch them is to stop upwind and cast 20g metal lures to the edge of the working school.

Put a live legal tailor over the side deep down as jewfish and big flathead may be in the same area.

There is a heap of bait in Pittwater at the moment, mostly whitebait and hardiheads. If you do find it difficult to catch fish around one bait school move 100 metres or so and more than likely you will find another patch of baitfish.

Most bait schools are around the deeper points on the river and are not terribly difficult to find.

If the fuel prices are stopping you from enjoying a day on the water, grab a mate or two and come out on one of our charters to learn when and where to fish Pittwater and use specialised rigs.

This month’s fuel saving tip is to take out a set of binoculars to spot birds working on the surface. Depending on the quality of the binoculars, on a clear day most of Pittwater can be covered from Longnose Point. Most of Broken Bay can be covered from Barrenjoey Head. This can save heaps of wasted time and fuel.

If you don’t own a set, maybe ask Santa or put your fuel-saving ideas to the Better Half and see if you have any luck.

Solid kings such as this are going to become more reliable captures in Pittwater this month.

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