It’s a Pittwater plethora!
  |  First Published: December 2005

This month we should see kingfish, flathead, bream and the odd jewfish caught in Pittwater, as well as the northern visitors that come into the river with the warm currents.

Species such as cobia, amberjack, samson fish and spotted mackerel will all visit at some stage of the coming season.

Last season we caught our cobia at Towlers Bay while most of the amberjack and samson fish were caught at Jacks, Mackeral Beach and the Kingfish Highway. Hopefully these hard fighting fish will visit our wonderful waterway once more.

Over the past month some lovely kings have been caught around Scotland Island and Longnose Point. The largest was 87cm, tagged and released by Peter Holt on his first kingfish charter.

The NSW DPI Fisheries kingfish tagging program is well worth supporting. Most tags can be given only out through fishing clubs and those who have them treat them as gold. There’s never been a better excuse to join your local club.

The kingfish this month should become pretty predictable. Fish the points on the outgoing tide and move to the sand banks as the tide rises. Most of the wrecks and reefs along the river should have fish cruising in the middle of the tide. For those who fish at anchor, patience will be rewarded but hours may go by between fish.

There are many ways to catch big predatory fish in Pittwater but I have found that the most efficient way to find them is to use a downrigger and live squid. By using a downrigger the fish can be located and then other techniques can be used.

Once found, the kings can be caught by dropping down squid heads, strips or by casting poppers or soft plastics. Remember, kingfish are a naturally inquisitive fish so use surface lures with a lot of splash to excite them and prolong the bite.


Once you’ve found baitfish around a point the best way to hook up to troll figure-eights around the outside of the bait school to placing your live bait in the best strike zone.

Imagine a squid being trolled at slow speed around the outer fringes of a bait ball, then being towed away from the school and back. Your bait is a target instead of being a one-in-a-million shot amid the school.

This technique also allows others to fish the same patch of fish. Just remember that two or three boats doing large figure-eights can be a little tricky and dangerous. If other boats want to join in it is safer to troll large oval patterns and peel off to the outside on hook-up.

Areas to catch kings include West Head, Barrenjoey Head, Palm Beach drop-off (inside Pittwater), Soldiers Point, Sand Point, Longnose Point and Taylors Point. By visiting three or four of these twice in a day, you will find some kingfish that want to play.

Normally I say squid are the only bait if you want to catch kingfish but when huge schools of yellowtail and slimy mackerel pack the river the kings will dine on them.

Kingfish are like children, squid are like ice cream and yakkas are brussel sprouts. Try over-feeding your children brussel sprouts and there’ll be trouble. Give the children a spoon and a tub of ice cream and watch them go. Although full of yakkas, the kingfish will still have room for a squid. Troll one yakka and squid to cover the bets.

Flathead and flounder have come on the bite on pilchards, yellowtail and whitebait. Drifting is the easiest way to catch them. Try the sand banks in the bays along the river. Mackeral Beach drift is a great place to start.

Big pink soft plastic shads are attracting some large female flathead by using the double-rip technique with heavy jig heads Stir up the maximum amount of sand to catch their.

Bream are in the upper reaches of the river but most marinas have good numbers which will be tempted by 2” to 4” plastics, especially a bloodworm colour on a light Resin Head jig. Contact me for a charter on 0410 633 351 or www.estuaryfishingcharter.com.au.

Peter Holt with an 87cm kingfish that he released so you can recapture it again later in the season.

Yuri Yanai with her first-ever kingfish, caught from Longnose Point area

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