The delights of the Bay
  |  First Published: February 2008

Botany Bay and surrounding waterways can really turn on world class fishing and many visiting anglers whom I have guided over the years have been very impressed with the level of quality fish we have right on the city’s doorstep.

Let me run through a day on the water and what you need to look for when heading out on the Bay in February.

Around 6am I head straight to the bait grounds and fill up with squid and yellowtail. The best spot for this is at the end of the Container Wall.

Just off the beach at Yarra Bay there is a large square concrete block. Anchor about 50m out from it and berley with pilchards to bring on the yellowtail. Cast your squid jigs out and across the kelp beds and work them slowly. Remember, squid never come easily.

After filling the bait tank I normally do a spot of trolling. I head straight for the two headlands and troll north or south just inside Bay. I keep wide of Cape Banks because there is a large reef that sticks out there that runs across the mouth and it will break when seas are up.


Along the southern side of Kurnell I normally start at Sutherland Point and troll out and around the corner to about the first headland after the Bay entrance. Both these spots might see you catching bonito, tailor, salmon and kingies.

After trolling, I anchor up in deep water, say at The Drums in the middle of the Bay, Trevally Alley or the Oil Wharf. Remember to keep 100m from the Oil Wharf at all times.

I start a berley trail of chicken pellets and chopped pilchards (not too much) and fish down that trail with a floating bait. All of these spots are great for bream, trevally and the odd squire at times but you might have to move around to find the fish.

I often start at the Oil Wharf and if it is slow I then head across to Trevally Alley (along the Container Wall) and try there. If one side of the Bay is slow, try the other.

All of these spots are worth hanging a live bait over because kingies are a top chance. I run one live yellowtail and a squid in the other corner, allowing me to fish floating baits down the middle for bream and trevally while targeting kingies.

I normally try two or three spots, spending about an hour at each, until I have found the fish.


Let’s say the high tide has turned at 10am and the action has slowed down. I then head towards the middle of the Bay anywhere from The Sticks to Brighton and from the Third Runway to Towra Point and fish for bream.

The trick is to fish no deeper than 7m and most days I anchor in 5m. I rig a small ball sinker above a 2m trace and a No 1 hook. The trick is to move around to find the fish so every 30 minutes, if you haven’t caught a fish just move about 100m and start again.

There needs to be good tidal run, ebb or run up, it doesn’t matter.

The last hour of the session I normally spend casting soft plastics for flathead around Towra Point, the beach along Brighton or any sandy area in the Bay. I normally pick the side protected from the wind to keep the drift slow, allowing me to work the lure across the bottom.

I like areas that have weedy patches so you can spin along the edges of the weed where flathead wait for prey.

After a day like this I’m sure you’ll end up with a mixed bag and memories of some great fun. For fresh reports visit www.fishingsydney.com.au.

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