January should see water temps reach their peak, kicking all of the Summer species into top gear.
This is particularly so with the more resident species like bream, jewfish and especially flatties, whose metabolisms are directly affected by water temps.
Flatties are well distributed right throughout the Harbour from the uppermost reaches to the Heads. The lower reaches around the Heads are dominated by the smaller sand flathead commonly encountered offshore, with the occasional dusky thrown in, especially when using larger live baits.
Up stream is the exclusive domain of the dusky which, despite growing to considerably larger sizes, is comfortable in as little as 30cm of water.
Flatties have a reputation as being poor sport fish, which holds true when using bait techniques but can be totally disregarded when they are targeted with lures.
Firstly the skill, thrill and anticipation involved in hunting flatties on lures is little different from that hunting any other predatory species, including the tropical glamour fish.
Although the fight from a lure-caught flathead bears little resemblance to that of the northern mangrove inhabitants, it is a huge improvement over that of a flathead caught on bait.
In the clearer water often found in the upper reaches of Middle Harbour and Lane Cove River, there's the added appeal of the visual thrill of actually seeing the hooked fish in action.
Some of the best areas in the Harbour to lure flatties include The shallows of Rose Bay, the upper reaches of Middle Harbour, the entire length of the Lane Cove River, Iron Cove and the Parramatta River from Gladesville bridge upstream.
The best time to work these areas is the two hours before low tide and one hour after it starts to come back in. It’s even better if this tide occurs early morning or late afternoon.
Flathead congregate around channel edges, rock bars, weed banks and sand/mud bank drop-offs. Any area where water is channelled off mangrove stands or flats on a falling tide is well worth a throw.
A single-handed spinning or light baitcasting outfit loaded with 3kg or 4kg line will handle any flathead, provided you use a more substantial trace of about 10kg.
Flathead will hit almost anything that swims past their faces. With the emphasis on presenting the lure close to the fish, depth capabilities are the major consideration when choosing a lure for flatties.
Considering you will be fishing depths ranging from 30cm to 5m, you'll need quite a large selection of lures should you opt for diving minnow style lures.
A more versatile and possibly more effective option is to carry two types of soft plastic lures. For the shallows (30cm to 1.5m) a stickbait like the Berkley Power Minnow or Slug-Go is deadly on flatties, especially around weed. To cover all depths its hard to go past a soft plastic on a jig head, like a Tsunami Minnow or a Bozo’s lure.
The quality of fishing around Sydney rivals anything else in the country on the right day. However, Sydney is the last place on your mind when it comes to trout.
I recently spent a couple of days at Flyfisher Lake cottage in the Southern Highlands and came away amazed at the quality of trout fishing we have right on our door step.
Flyfisher Lake is a 150-acre lake privately stocked and run by long-time local fishing guide Mark Tickner. The Cottage is superbly nestled among the gum trees and only a stone’s throw from the lake that has been fully stocked with brown and rainbow trout.
Mark tells me that more than $50,000 worth of trout fingerlings have been stocked over the past 10 years and more than 2000 bass fingerlings.
We battled frightful weather during our stay for seven fish to 3.6kg and none was under 2.7kg. Given that in between squalls we managed only about three hours of fishing, that adds up to exceptional action.
Mark assures me that there are fish over 6kg in there as well. Most of our fishing was with lures due to the strong winds but, under the right conditions, the lake provides world-class dry-fly fishing.
The three-bedroom cottage is self-contained and sleeps to six comfortably. There’s a full kitchen, comfortable lounge and dining areas, slow-combustion fire and a laundry with a dryer and racks for wet fishing gear. The verandah overlooks the lake and we put the gas barbecue to good use on the one plump trout that we kept. You can keep one fish per person per day and Mark can offer first-class guidance and tuition.
For further info call Fishabout Tours on 9451 5420.Reads: 5931