Peak time on the Bay
  |  First Published: December 2004

Warm weather for three or four days, then a southerly change that normally blows through on Friday night, just in time for the weekend. I’m sure most anglers know what I’m taking about.

The weather pattern is the norm for this time of year and if last year is anything to go by, the fishing should improve as the water Temperature rises.

Botany Bay, Port Hacking and the waters north and south will provide a wide range of species over the next few months.

This month I am sharing a few pointers to help you find a little action and the odd fish for the table over Summer.


Early starts will see you on the water at or before 6am. You should be looking for surface action as tailor, salmon and kingfish are on the prowl for small baitfish this time of day.

If you do find surface-feeding fish, simply troll around school with minnows or work out your drift and start up-wind or up-current from the surface action casting small chrome slices if tailor are present, or soft plastics if salmon and kingfish are around.

If there is no surface action, your best bet is to troll with deep minnows such as Rapala CD7s. I like working along structure and any deep water close to shore. The headlands of Botany Bay and out and along the coast are ideal and in Port Hacking try South West Arm and Deer Park.

The sandy drop-offs in most of the bays of Port Hacking will fish well because predators like to hunt along these edges.

Around 8am to 9am the surface action will slow and some days its all over at 7am – it all comes down to the amount of baitfish that have come into the estuary. This action will repeat from around 5pm to 6pm.


Around 8am it’s time to anchor and try for bream, which are just starting to move downstream for spawning. It is very important when targeting bream in Botany Bay or the Hacking River that the water is moving because the bream tend to feed in moving water.

Try from the Captain Cook Bridge and all the way out to Towra Point. Simply anchor your boat and fish with a long trace of about 1.5metres, or longer if possible. Rig up with a large ball sinker (No 5 is about right), followed by a small swivel to hold the sinker away from your hook and allow your bait to drift freely. Use nippers or prawns for bait.

This form of fishing is very productive throughout Summer in Botany Bay and Port Hacking.


Trevally seem to be reliable all year and they hang around the same areas that kingfish call home during the Summer. Fresh squid and small live baits are essential for the kings, while nippers or prawns or a fillet of pilchards will get the trevally interested. Berley is essential.

Rig your heaver outfit with a squid or live bait and fish this two metres from the bottom. A large lead will prevent the live bait from swimming towards your trevally bait, that should be drifting down the berley trail of cubes of pilchards.

Three top trevally and king spots in Botany Bay are the Container Wall, the Oil Wharf and Bare Island. There are plenty of other spots that fish well – think ‘structure’ and you will find fish in any estuary over the next month or so.

If you are not catching fish or the small fish are stealing all your baits, pull up your anchor and try a new spot or try something else to find fish. Some days you will have to work had to find fish and other days they will come easily. My fishing school is now in it third year at Hunts Marine and has helped plenty of anglers improve their fishing. A night at Hunts Marine is followed by a day out on Botany Bay applying the theory. For details or a gift certificate phone 0418 169 439. .


Blake Lyons caught this tailor trolling South West Arm on a Rapala CD7.

Bryce Lyons didn’t need any help from Dad to land this tailor caught in the Hacking River.

A stud lizard caught on soft plastic in Botany Bay.

‘Southern Barramundi’ – the humble Aussie salmon.

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