Hot stuff in Pittwater
  |  First Published: March 2009

The past couple of months have produced some pretty hot fishing inside Pittwater and off the coast.

Inside Pittwater there have been schools of rat kingfish making a nuisance of themselves right along the river.

They are feeding in selected areas and can be hard to tempt on the odd day. On most occasions they can be tempted with white 6” soft plastics or small strips of squid.

The larger fish, on the other hand, have been a bit harder to find.

Some of the better fish have been found around Barrenjoey Head and occasionally at West Head and they have also been seen feeding on frigate mackerel near Sand Point.

Your best chance at one of these fish is to anchor near Soldiers Point or near the drop-off near Palm Beach and berley, or to troll baits or lures on downriggers around the usual areas among the moorings along the river.

Towlers Bay and The Basin have been great spots to start during the morning.

The best bait will be a live squid, the bigger the better, because the bigger baits give you a better chance of a decent fish.

The good news is that the numbers of quality fish will increase over the next month and hopefully they will become a fair bit easier to entice.

Squid seem to be spread right along the river and nowhere in big numbers. Usually we expect to catch from two to six from one area before moving on but lately they have been only singular or at best in pairs.

The best jigs have been pink or olive green Yo-Zuris in the 2g size.

The weedy areas of the Basin still hold a few squid, as do West Head Beach and along the shallows at Palm Beach. The Palmie sand flat is best fished with a live yellowtail just in the water next to the boat to attract the squid to you.

Flathead are pretty easy to catch on soft plastics at the moment, with the drop-off at Palm Beach one of the easier spots to pick up a feed.

A rising tide is best and you will start off in 3m feet of water and end up in 15m pretty quickly. It is important that you let out line on the drop so that you stay in contact with the bottom.

The usual three-rip technique is a sure-fire way to get a hit or two and again, 6” white soft plastics on heavier jig heads are attracting most of the attention.

Bream are responding well to berley among the moorings at Salt Pan Bay and in McCarrs Creek. The reef near the Royal Motor Yacht Club has produced some hot bites on whitebait.

Fresh prawns and live nippers are also catching some decent fish but can become expensive when the baby snapper show up for a free feed. This area is best fished on the last of the rising tide and the first of the run out.


The warmer water has brought some amazing fishing. One of my customers, Craig Bietola, recently hooked a marlin at Barrenjoey Headland while downrigging for kingfish. Craig and his mate were also dragging a 12” white soft plastic on the surface from a light graphite rod. That lure was meant for rat kings.

The boys were trolling in about 12m when the soft plastic outfit started to scream and the marlin began its graceful performance. At this stage the boys didn’t realise that this jumping beauty was hooked up to their plastic.

They battled the fish for half an hour and managed to get it only 2m away on a number of occasions but were unable to land it before it parted the light leader.

On the same day we were filming some of the kingfish action at Long Reef with Dave Butfield and also had chances at two marlin feeding in 20m. These blacks, around 40kg, were feeding on small kingfish hunting yellowtail.

We were unable to hook up but a couple of times the marlin sat right behind our nervous baits.

The kingfish at Long Reef have been sporadic but close reefs from Sydney to Terrigal are reporting captures of decent kings and small blacks.

There are heaps of small kingfish at times at different headlands but better fish are never far away. The larger kings have been fond of live yellowtail or slimy mackerel fished under the rat kings on the surface.

Downrigging the different depth lines around Long Reef has been a very easy way to find kings.

The 50m line can be a hit-or-miss affair at the moment with lots of leatherjackets in some areas but not in others. When an area devoid of these 10cm monsters in the making has been found, the flatties have been a decent 50cm and willing to eat soft plastics or pilchards.

The next plague of unwanted fish that will be upon us will be the dreaded green toadies.

We recently have had a great run of striped tuna while targeting bigger fish. All the stripies spewed up copious numbers of toadfish about 3cm long. Cross your fingers and hope that I am wrong!

Get out on the water soon to catch some of the great action – this bite wont last for long.

Peter Le Blang operates Harbour & Estuary Fishing Charters out of Pittwater, phone 0410 633 351 or visit www.estuaryfishing.com.au.

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