Patches of brilliance
  |  First Published: December 2007

Pittwater has been pretty good lately with chances of five to 10 fish per charter the norm but there have been a few patchy days.

A couple of factors have made the fishing patchy. The first is the weather, which on occasions has left us all wondering why we bothered.

The next factor has been that the better water is still not here but should be by the time you read this. The temperature has been right, up around 22° to 24°, but the dirty green colour never fills one with confidence.

Both of theses factors can change overnight and I am sure that the travelling fish from northern waters wont be far off. We have already caught shark mackerel and spotted mackerel but their visit seemed to last only as long as the warm blue water that flowed in from the ocean.

This month we should continue to see kingfish captures but many smaller fish will be caught. They are schooling on the surface in the mornings and are continuing to feed until masses of boats start to throw all sorts of fishing hardware at them.

On most weekends this feeding action can be all over by 8am and the fish become so shy that they will herd the baitfish into deeper water to feed.

The smaller fish are eating most small soft plastic fish profiles to 5”, fish-pattern flies, small poppers, squid strips and heads.

The one thing they are not taking are prawns dropped over the side on size 12 snapper sinkers. A couple of newcomers to the sport were really annoyed that everyone was around them and casting lures at their boat.

The poor souls didn’t realise that all the boils that were erupting around them were fish and thought that the area was just popular and everyone was casting to the depths. After a five-minute chat, I handed Lydia and John a business card and they are now catching kingfish, squid and flathead.


The areas to target bigger kingfish at the moment seem to be in Broken Bay and right up into Cowan Creek.

Areas such as West Reef and East Reef have seen some great fish lately but some days the rat kingfish are in massive schools. The better baits have been big yellowtail, slimy mackerel and the biggest squid you can catch. By using the bigger baits the smaller fish tend to stay away.

Other areas housing bigger kingfish are along the rocks at Terrigal and off Avoca. Downrigging big baits in these areas will account for some big fish over the coming month or two.

Along the Northern Beaches, Avalon Gutter, Newport Reef, Barrenjoey Head, West Head and the various wrecks along Long Reef will all produce decent kingfish. There have been hot bites at each of these areas recently and the fish are moving up and down the coast following the bait schools.

Inside Pittwater the big-fish areas are West Head, Soldiers Point and Longnose Point for those who want to anchor and berley. These areas have current that will move small pieces of berley and attract fish from a distance. Most of the other points along the river don’t see much tidal flow.

The big fish downrigging areas are those mentioned above as well as Stokes Point, Careel Bay (a no-anchor zone) Taylors Point, Woody Point and around Bothams Reef.

As you can see there are a lot of areas that can hold fish in Pittwater but not all of these fish well all the time. I have noticed over the last few years that with the extra boats downrigging one area, the kings can go off the bite quickly if are a couple of fish are lost.

The best bait over coming months will vary week to week but squid and yellowtail will see you in with a real chance.


Other fish to target at the moment are larger flathead and big bream along the sand flats.

Areas like Towlers Bay, Mackeral Beach and the Portuguese Beach drop-off are producing decent flathead on soft plastics and baits. All of these areas can be drift-fished using pilchards or yellowtail.

Soft plastics are best fished at low tide in the deeper holes along the sand flats. Target the areas that have dense patches of weed and the flathead will explode into action and inhale that lure before you know it.

There are also some nice offshore flathead around the 50m mark. Stefan from Fishoutawater at Manly Vale joined me in our new 8.5m Offshore Fisher and right on the 50m mark the flathead were abundant. They were from 45cm to 60cm, great size for blue spot flathead. A variety of jigs and soft plastics had us hooked up pretty quickly.

The other offshore news is that mahi mahi are showing in numbers, especially at first light. We caught fish recently at the FADs off Dee Why and off some of the trap floats along the coast. The warm blue water has also produced marlin, tuna and sharks at Long Reef Wide and Broken Bay Wide.

Over the next month we will target the usual kingfish in Pittwater and along the coast as well as mahi mahi at some of the closer FADs and traps. We still use our downrigger cameras so make sure if you have a camera that has a video-in socket to bring it along to tape the fishcam action.

Peter Le Blang operates Harbour & Estuary Fishing Charters out of Pittwater, phone 02 9999 2574 or visit www.estuaryfishingcharters.com.au.

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