Fishing in the southern Sydney areas during September can be really hard at times. It is a time when the water should be warming up, but it may not, depending on weather trends.
Over the years I have found that during September you will need to be prepared to move about a fair bit if the fish are not on the chew at your first chosen spot.
I have been out on Botany Bay and Port Hacking chasing bream and have needed to move half a dozen times or even more to locate fish.
And you definitely will have to use berley to get the fish in a feeding mood and bring them to the boat.
I also make sure that I have a few metal and hard diving minnows on board for those schools of tailor and salmon that will be working over the baitfish schools.
Flathead will also start to come out to play towards the end of September, so don’t forget to have a few soft plastics, jig heads and metal vibes at the ready.
September is also a good month to use small poddy mullet, yellowtail, herring and slimy mackerel for snapper, flathead and mulloway.
There will always be plenty of leatherjackets about so don’t forget to have those No 8 to No 10 long-shanked hooks ready.
Over the years many of you have asked me how to improve your chances of getting a few more fish when so for the next few months I will include some of these questions and their answers.
• John Ward of Mortdale wants to know what fish need to be bled before eating.
I bleed silver trevally, kingfish, luderick, drummer, tailor, salmon, bonito and slimy mackerel by cutting the blood vessels around the throat latch (under the gills) with a sharp knife and holding them facing down until the blood stops flowing. To keep them in prime eating condition I then place them in an ice slurry or iced-down saltwater until I am ready to clean them.
• Greg White from Punchbowl would like to know what is the ‘cabbage’ used as luderick bait.
This ‘cabbage’ is ‘sea lettuce’ (Ulva latuca), a leafed alga found on most ocean rock ledges and in some places in the estuaries. You can gather it safely at low tide but check first that the area isn’t a marine sanctuary.
• Paul Router of Como wants to know how to catch poddy mullet.
Start by berleying up with bread or breadcrumbs and then use a No 12 short-shanked hook baited with bread under a very small bobby cork.
Or you could use a poddy mullet trap. These come in various sizes and shapes, but I have found the ones from Alvey are great. Make sure you don’t put too much bread in the trap. Place it in the water so that the top of the trap is just covered and stand back and let the little buggers swim in. Place your hands over both ends so the fish don’t fall out when you pick it up.
• Graham Stevens of Mortdale would like to know what size hook to use when chasing bream with peeled prawns or half a pilchard.
I use a No 1 to 1/0 in a Mustad Penetrator pattern when fishing in the estuary and a 1/0 to 3/0 Mustad baitholder when fishing off the rocks.
• Greg Cummings would like to know at what speed he should be trolling his Rapala lures for tailor and salmon in Botany and Bate bays, and what size and colour lures work best.
I like blue mackerel and green mackerel Rapala CD 7s and CD 9s, as well as the white body and red head, worked at 5 to 7 knots.
• Kevin Green of Campbelltown would like to know whether he should put some monofilament line onto his threadline reel before he puts his Fireline on.
I have always done this to stop the possibility of the braid from slipping and spinning around on the spool while under pressure when fighting a fish.
• Simon Quale of Tempe wands to know where to go land-based spinning for flathead on the northern side of Botany Bay.
I recommend parking the car along Foreshore Drive and walking down to the beach at high tide. I have also caught flounder, bream, whiting, salmon and tailor here during September.
• Chris Roberts would like to what fish he could expect to catch in the upper reaches of the Woronora River.
I have caught flathead, tailor, bass, estuary perch, mullet, garfish, luderick, bream and sand whiting over the years.
• Peter Roberts from Blacktown wants a good bait for bream and flathead off the groynes at Dolls Point.
Try whole or half-pilchards, mullet and chicken gut and strips of tuna, mullet or tailor.
• Brian Rhodin of Sandy Point would like to know what breaking strain braid and leader I use when chasing flathead and bream with hard and soft lures and what type of knot I join them with.
For bream I usually use 2kg to 4kg braid with a leader of 2kg to 6kg, depending of the type of terrain I am fishing in. For flathead the braid is 4kg to 8kg and the leader 6kg to 10kg. I use a double uni knot.
These guys managed a feed of silver trevally in Port Hacking. Fast running water and long leaders are the go.