It’s all happening on top
  |  First Published: December 2008

Kingies are the species to target when fishing our waters at this time of year, along with other surface species like tailor, bonito and salmon.

Botany Bay and Sydney Harbour will provide all anglers a top chance to target these species. Over Summer, kingies move in from the offshore reefs to feed on the vast number of squid, yellowtail and other bait that moves in with the warmer waters and will hang around until the water temperature starts to fall again, around the middle of May.

My December days normally start with searching for surface-feeding fish. Tailor and salmon are around in good numbers most days, providing my clients with loads of fun to get the day going.

Kingies and trevally are also a chance when large schools of bait move in. Light tackle and small metal lures are all that is needed because you are fishing over sandy bottom in Botany Bay.

Flathead also feed under surface action and I catch lots of good lizards on plastics and metal slices at this time of year.

Start looking for action once you head past Towra Point and I normally find good numbers of fish feeding around the centre of the Bay. The Sticks and across to Port Botany are the main feeding areas for surface fish.


After a good spinning session it’s time to head to the bait grounds to catch yellowtail and, if we’re lucky, squid. Yellowtail are normally easily to catch but squid might take some time looking for.

You need to work hard spinning with squid jigs over the kelp beds around the mouth of the bay at spots like Bare Island, Watts Reef and along the two headlands in close. Early morning is normally the best time for them.

I find that Squid are a top bait but they suck up a good part of your day working for them. That’s why I like yellowtail; they are easily to locate and catch in Botany Bay and last year I caught almost all my kingies on live yellowtail.

For a good session on kingies you will need around 10 baits and if we have caught just the odd squid, we are a top chance of landing a few kingies.

Gear that suits this type of fishing needs to be rather heavy as far as Botany Bay tackle goes but remember, most kingies hang around structure and they just love diving straight back to cover once hooked.


I fish with 20kg mono and Shimano gear, just talk to your local tackle store and they will point out what is needed for the job at hand. I also cover this in the fishing school that I run at Hunts Marine each month.

This tackle also allows me to land fish rather quickly, which is important because you need to return undersize fish to the water quickly.

The relatively new size limit of 65cm this came in last year and already we are seeing the benefit of this, with a better run of quality fish.

But you will still find that our run of estuary kings will be from 55cm to 70cm and the odd stud that will stretch you all the way.

I still have quite a few bust-offs each season. There’s nothing better than a screaming run straight into cover to clean you in less than a blink of an eye – great fun!

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