Numbers of smaller kingfish have started to thin out and move around but, based on previous years’ experience, they will still be available for at least another month. The compensation for fewer fish will be an increase in average size.
Tactics need to change now, as will the kingies’ holding positions.
You will still get them around places like the Wedding Cakes and other navigation markers but they have become fussy, requiring a bit of berley and smaller, lightly weighted baits.
Their interest in lures is slowing down as well. There are more fish concentrated around the Heads and Sow and Pigs Reef as they commence their migration out to sea.
Best bait is still squid but make good use of the prime baits like the heads and guts and you should cut the tubes into smaller strips.
Baits should be presented on lighter gear, lighter leaders, less sinker, smaller hooks and down a cube trail. Live gar work pretty well at this time of year as well.
If you want to target the larger kings, use whole live squid around The Spit bridge, North and South heads and the deeper channel markers like those at Neilson Park, Clifton Gardens and Rose Bay.
Bream fishing should be in full swing by the time you read this.
Most interest over the past few years has centred around spinning for bream. Not only is this method generally a lot more fun than bait fishing but, in some areas, it’s also more productive.
There are three main areas of the Harbour where bream spinning is commonly practised – Middle Harbour, the Lane Cove River and the Parramatta River.
Middle Harbour is most productive from Roseville bridge upstream. This is primarily mangrove country and although the numbers of bream available in this area are fewer compared with the other areas mentioned, the average size of the fish is much better.
The water in Middle Harbour is generally much clearer than the other areas so a stealthy approach is necessary. Casting into tight cover like mangrove snags and rock bars is far more effective than the trolling that works so well in the muddy waters of Parramatta and Lane Cove rivers.
The other plus with Middle Harbour is that I would feel a lot more comfortable about taking a few bream home for dinner than I would from the sometimes dubious, Parramatta system.
The most productive fishing on the Parramatta system starts at about Gladesville bridge and peaks around Silverwater bridge.
This is dirty-water fishing with visibility often down to less than 30cm. The average depth is only about 2.5m but most of the fishing is done in under 1.5m.
The target areas are much less structure-orientated and are concentrated mainly around the extensive intertidal areas.
Casting works well in some of the backwaters and around structure but the most productive method is trolling along the shorelines, around moorings and over the mud flats.
Catches of up to 20 fish in a session are not uncommon but average size is down around the legal limit. A depth sounder is essential in this area.
The Lane Cove river is a mixture of the two.
The lower reaches consist of similar muddy shallows to the Parramatta system. This area starts at the mouth of the river near Greenwich to about Fig Tree bridge at Hunters Hill and is approached in much the same way as you would the Parramatta.
From Fig Tree bridge upstream, the water clears and deepens to resemble the Middle Harbour system.
The fishing is harder but, like Middle Harbour, the fish are of better quality. The big bonus with Lane Cove River is that if one of the areas isn't working then its only a short run to the other.
Tailor are renowned as Winter fish but I believe that they are a year-round proposition.
The cooler months do, however, produce bigger fish.
The main seasonal difference is Winter fish rarely feed on the surface. You can still take them on deep-diving lures early in the morning or on live baits fished in the deep holes but if you want some whoppers, at night around Sow and Pigs Reef and the shipping channels.
Trolling lures is a great way of finding tailor. The headlands, particularly North, South and Middle heads, are preferred locations when the fish or the baitfish cannot be visually or electronically located in open water.
Tailor are also common along Middle Head and on the run between Grotto and Dobroyd points. Further upstream at Garden Island has been fishing very well for tailor lately.
Trolling a deep-diver out one side and a shallow diver out the other, with a chrome metal slug down the centre, will soon sort them out.
Live-baiting with poddies or yakkas also works well, as you will discover as soon as you feed one out aimed at a big flathead or a jewie.Reads: 5219