Good times ahead
  |  First Published: December 2003

AS WE move into Summer we can look forward to some great fishing with reports of good catches of bream, jewfish and flathead coming from most of the recognised hot spots.

I haven’t heard of any big jewfish taken yet but fish from 3kg to 6kg are being consistently caught around the Gladesville Bridge, Blues Point and Cabarita areas. Fresh squid, as always, is the best bait although you never know when a school jew might pick up a peeled prawn or a pilchard meant for smaller fish.

If you are looking for live squid for bait then it may mean a trip down the harbour first because the best places to catch them have been around Middle Head or around the corner at Balmoral.

Most of the trevally have moved on. They stayed longer than usual this year and there were some big specimens taken last month. Some anglers complained they were so thick they couldn’t get their baits past them to the other species they were targeting.


It looks like being a good season for crabs. Blue swimmers have been caught all year but are increasing in numbers and size now that the water is warmer. Mud crabs can be caught around Ryde and Putney in the Parramatta River and the Lane Cove River is also worth a try in the upper reaches.

Birchgrove, Drummoyne and Double Bay are better spots to set the nets for blue swimmers. I had a session on the crabs the other day, setting the nets in areas where I have been successful over the past two years. After two lifts I hadn’t scored a crab so I shifted to an area where I had caught crabs some years ago and soon had eight nice-size d blue swimmers. Like fish, crabs do move about a bit and, dependent on time of year and water conditions, tend to congregate in different places. The spot that produced last outing may not fire the next time, so be prepared to vary your game plan and, if you are having a slow day on the fish or the crabs, experiment a little.

Bream anglers are doing best at night. Light lines with un-weighted baits around the shoreline at Clarkes point, Birchgrove or Balls Head should find you fish. Fishing the run-in tide with a high tide about 11pm on the nights with no moon will give best results.

Fishing under the boats moored at most of the marinas can produce some spectacular catches and there are some anglers becoming quite expert at this style of fishing. Fishing from the marinas is generally banned so it means fishing from a boat and casting in under the pontoons and boats. It requires some skill, as you need to get the baits in as close to cover as possible. On a pitch-black moonless night, this can be a bit difficult.

Please don’t cast at the boats. This method works for getting your baits in close, as the baits drop right under the hulls, but the boat owners get a bit peeved about the mullet or chook gut stains down the sides of their white hulls.

Bream are also being caught in the deep water off Nielsen Park and nearby Parsley Bay. Both of these spots tend to fish better early morning, from dawn to about 9am. A surprising number of snapper are also being caught here with fish up to 1.5kg reported.

Flathead are always a favourite target species during Summer, whether you want to do some lazy drifting in some of the deep-water channels or some more active spinning in the shallower bays. There have been quite a few fish around 3kg caught on lures and bait in the upper reaches of the harbour, particularly around the mouth of the Lane Cove River and in Iron Cove.

Some stud whiting are being caught with fish to 700gs fairly common. Anglers are getting the bigger fish at night with the sand flats above Roseville Bridge one of the favoured spots although there have also been some quality fish caught in Hen and Chicken Bay. I always prefer to target whiting on the nights around the full moon. Whiting are visual feeders and are more active hunters when a rising tide covers the sand flats at night with moonlight to help them sight worms, nippers and small shellfish rising out of the sand to feed.

For those anglers targeting the pelagic species, there are plenty of salmon, tailor and kingfish to keep them happy. There haven’t been many bonito in the schools this year but they may make a late appearance. It will be interesting to see if any of the northern species like spotted mackerel turn up with the warmer water, as they can certainly spice up an outing.

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