Pittwater kings at home
  |  First Published: December 2004

The countdown has begun. Just a few more weeks at work – then holidays, when we can fish to our hearts’ content.

We fishos hope against hope that someone will think of fishing tackle as a pressie – please? We are not really into socks, aftershave and undies. A light spin stick, an overhead reel or maybe just a gift voucher for the local tackle shop would be great.

December is a funny month. According to my diaries we can have beautiful days but some years that nor’easter blows hard for days. Barometric pressure goes up and down like a lift driver’s elbow as southerly busters hit, cooling the air after still, humid days.

Kingfish will be resident in Pittwater, chasing anything that moves. I will be hunting them around the wharves and moorings on lures, bait and flies. They have to be one of the best sport fish around and can be taken from any public wharf. How lucky are we?

I hope frigate mackerel are back too as I love to see the reel haemorrhage line as these lime-green speedsters take off.


Spots like West Head, Barrenjoey and Lion Island will have schools of salmon and tailor but they tend to feed on the surface very early in the morning and sound when the sun climbs over the horizon.

We are at the end of at that changeover period as the water heats up. There are plenty of trevally, pike, sweep, nannygai and small snapper keeping the interest but very shortly we will see bigger snapper, kingfish, morwong and the tunas return.

Surface activity is an on again-off again affair with pelagics running deep and sea birds flying around aimlessly wondering where they have disappeared to.

Fishing just inside North Head, Jason Avarti knocked over three silver drummer around 3kg on abalone gut. Fishing with just a small 00 ball sinker sliding to the hook, he cast out and let it drift down close to the rock wall.

Tailor up to 800g have been taken from beaches such as Freshwater, Curl Curl, Collaroy, Mona Vale and the middle of Palm Beach. Target white, frothy water up to the top of the tide and don’t forget to chuck in fish pieces as berley to keep your quarry in the vicinity.

Tony Farmer, brother of marathon man Pat Farmer, has been regularly fishing the rocks at Mona Vale and catching snapper to 42cm, big blue bream and trevally

The mighty Hawkesbury has bream on offer for those who fish with live baits such as yabbies, soldier and black crabs, worms and small poddy mullet. Yes, bream do take small live baits – in fact, the bigger specimens will be caught this way. Mullet and chicken gut are also securing fish and consistent berley is needed.

Coming back to the ramp recently, I met charter operator and fellow NSWFM scribe Dean Hayes, who tells me has been putting his clients onto kingfish and tailor around Lion Island and West Head.


Narrabeen Lake is still producing fish with the main channel turning on a feed of luderick or blackfish for young Robbie Houghton. Finding the right kind of weed in Pittwater was the hardest part – from then on it was all downhill with the very co-operative blackfish scoffing Robbie’s weed with relish.

Near the lake entrance, whiting are running back to the sea but are skittish when the sun is on the water. Best time is right on dusk with worm baits fished with little or no weight.

I had the pleasure of fishing with two cricketing legends from the World Series days. Fast bowlers Jeff Thompson and Len Pascoe stepped aboard Scotty Lyons’ Southern Sydney Fishing Charters boat and we cast a line inside Botany Bay and outside up to Wedding Cake Island off Coogee. The boys nailed salmon, trevally, kingfish, sweep and pike. My thanks to Scotty for his guidance and time.

My Monday evening fishing clinics at North Narrabeen are on the go right through Summer, ring 9970 6204 to reserve a spot.

To all those who faithfully ring, email and fax me information for my column, many thanks. To you, dear reader, I hope I have put you on to some decent fish and that you have gained a little more knowledge over the past year. So grab a rod; get down to the water and fish. It does wonders for both the heart and the soul. I have a simple belief: If you fish, you are a better person. Have a merry and safe Christmas.

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