Hot bites offshore and inside
  |  First Published: March 2008

Over the past month we have been catching kingfish inside Pittwater and with our larger boat we have been taking out a few mates to chase blue-water species.

The offshore currents have been fairly kind and along the current lines we have encountered marlin, tuna and, of course, mahi mahi. A few weeks ago I took Paul Fordy, Kurt Lehmann and Alex Hamilton for a run to the FADs off Long Reef.

We arrived in fairly rough conditions and I was feeling a bit lazy so I threw out the pusher lures and decided to do a few laps. On the first lap we hooked up a 70cm dollie and repeated the performance on the next three laps.

Some bigger fish could be seen shadowing the smaller dollies we decided to troll live baits. On the first pass another 70cm fish was and on the next Paul landed an 8kg specimen. Over the next three hours the guys caught fish from 6kg to 10kg range and bigger fish were following these.

The bite started at 6.30am and ended when we ran out of live bait at 11am. We caught more than 20 big dollies, with only enough for an immediate feed kept and the rest swimming away strongly after release.

This bite, I am told, lasted for four days and the only thing that stopped it was a shifting current and cooling water.

By the time you read this article we will be offering these offshore charters and more to our customers.


Other fish that have been biting their heads along the coast.

Long Reef has been firing for kingfish, mostly around 80cm, with many escaping from battle-weary anglers. Slimy mackerel and yellowtail trolled on downriggers is one easy ways to track down a bigger fish.

Another way is to anchor near a peak or drop-off with current and berley with pilchards and other oily fish – providing the sweep and leatherjackets don’t find you. If they do and you know kingfish are in the area, just start downrigging again.

Barrenjoey Head has also had a hot bite, especially early morning but the best baits have varied from day to day. Yellowtail or slimies mostly have best but on the odd day fresh squid strips or live squid have been needed.

West Head and Lion Island have also fired with kingfish, amberjack and spotted mackerel being caught. Most fish have been there one day and gone the next, so some luck is needed.


Inside Pittwater larger kingfish are starting to bite. Fish of 80cm-plus are hard to tempt but the smaller 70cm models are a bit easier.

These fish are hanging around the points on the run-out tide and are moving into the bays on the rising tide.

I’m often asked about the best tide to catch kingfish in Pittwater but the truth is these fish eat whenever and whatever they want and you really have to put in the time on the water to get an idea of where they will be from one day to the next.

The other answer is simply: Low tide. Why? Because there is 3% less water in the system that and that gives you a 3% better chance of finding a hungry school of fish.

Areas to try this month include Sand Point, Soldiers Point, Scotland Island, Towlers Bay and The Basin.

Bream recently have been in great numbers at West Head and near the fish traps at Barrenjoey. Bag limits (20) are being taken by skilled anglers using light tackle and oily, fresh baits. Most of the fish are around 30cm, not huge but certainly big enough to eat.

Bream are also being caught at Mackeral Beach on the drop-off and among the moorings at Newport and Salt Pan Bay. Live nippers or bloodworms in a berley trail are accounting for most fish.

Small jewies are being caught on squid heads during the new moon phases at Bayview moorings, in McCarrs Creek and at Bothams Reef. Most are only 60cm but are fun on bream tackle.

Keeper flatties are pouncing on whitebait, yellowtail and pilchards in Pittwater and Broken Bay. Try between Lion Island and Box Head, West Head to Barrenjoey Head, and drop-offs at Mackeral Beach Portuguese Beach. The last two areas are perfect to try your luck with big soft plastics.

Off shore, blue-spot flathead to 55cm are biting pillies and Gulp plastics in around 50m. If you use a paternoster rig you will catch two or three on most drops.

Flounder have been making a nuisance of themselves, stealing baits meant for bream or whiting. The mouth of the river has quite a few, as does the Palm Beach area. Fish light with no weight and float the bait down your berley trail.

To come out and sample the action call 0410 633 351 visit www.estuaryfishing.com.au.

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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