Bay, Port at their peak
  |  First Published: March 2009

Fishing in Botany Bay and Port Hacking has been great overthe past couple of months so if you’re not catching fish now, there must be something you’re doing wrong.

Even though I have never fished with many of these anglers, I reckon I know a number of simple things that they are not doing

Firstly, when at anchor you must berley to get the required results, whether you are chasing live bait or a feed of silver trevally, bream, flathead, flounder, tailor or kingfish.

To be consistent in catching these fish, you will need to berley to attract them towards your boat.

Towards the end of 2008 I went out with Anthony and George on their boat. These two guys had gone out about 10 times over about 12 months and only caught a few fish and they were desperate to learn what they were doing wrong.

The main thing was that they were not berleying at all. I proved to them that if you berley, fish come and if you stop berleying, the fish go. Start berleying again and they come back. It’s that simple.

They were using paternoster rigs with 15kg line, 1/4oz snapper sinkers and half or whole squid. There is nothing wrong with that is if you are chasing kingfish in the bay or snapper and morwong offshore.

But if you are targeting bream and silver trevally in water 5m to 12m deep, most of the time you only need a very small ball sinker (000, 00 or No 1) running directly down the 6kg line to a 1/0 hook.

Thirdly, they were not peeling their prawns. This would be fine if the prawns were still alive or they were fishing for flathead or bottom-bouncing offshore, but not inside the Bay or Port Hacking.

And lastly, the guys were striking too hard at the fish, succeeding only in pulling the bait away from the fish. Most of the fish that they boys caught hooked themselves while the rod was still in the rod holder.


When we moved to water 1m to 4m deep I got Anthony and George to change their rigs to a No 2 bean sinker above a swivel with a leader of 1m to 1.5m.

Then they put the rod in the rod holder, set the bait runner feature and waited for the fish to swim off with the peeled Hawkesbury River prawn or a pink nipper. Naturally, the boys were still berleying.

Anthony and George caught silver trevally, bream, flathead, snapper, flounder and octopus.

The places we tried included Trevally Alley, the oil wharf, The Sticks and the end of the Third Runway and we concentrated our fishing time three hours either side of the bottom of the tide.

If you’d like some help to improve your catches you could email me or contact professional guides like Scotty Lyons, Craig McGill or Justin Duggan to see how they go about catching fish.

This month in Botany Bay and Port Hacking you can expect to catch kingfish, bream, slimy mackerel, squid, flounder, whiting, tailor, salmon, snapper, bonito and blue swimmer crabs.

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