Plenty of mixed bags
  |  First Published: July 2008

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Mother Nature shown us that the good days are worth waiting for and in between the bad days have been atrocious, with strong winds, rough seas and, to put it mildly, rather chilly.

The good days have been glorious with blue skies, flat seas and fish easily seen working the surface.

Pittwater has been fishing rather well for a few species. Big bream are roaming all over Pittwater among the moorings in 6m or less. Divers cleaning the yacht hulls have often told me about how big and how many they are seeing.

The area to target seems to be among the moorings near the Royal Motor Yacht Club right through to Taylors Point. Best baits are live nippers but prawns are working well.

Flathead and flounder are still in Pittwater at Towlers Bay and The Hill with pilchards or yellowtail working for the flathead and whitebait for the flounder.

Pelagic action is still happening in Pittwater and Broken Bay with schools of Watson’s leaping bonito showing along Pittwater in the afternoons. We have been having success using 20g to 25g metal lures at a medium retrieve rate. The numbers of fish in the schools are small but there are quite a few schools about.

Tailor around 55cm are showing up in numbers at Barrenjoey Head and the Valiant and pouncing on a variety of lures. We have been trolling 100mm to 150mm hard-bodied lures on the Strikevision downrigger and watching these greedy fish smash the lures on almost every pass.

Salmon are feeding on the odd day near Box Head but it is best to stop at Barrenjoey Head and use the binoculars to see if any birds can be seen working the area. At today’s fuel prices it is worth carrying a pair in your boat.

The reef at Lion Island has been fishing very well for mixed bags of trevally to 45cm in the berley with tailor, bonito, kingfish, flathead and bream, especially on the last two hours of the ebb tide to the second hour of the incoming tide.

Kingfish are showing up in Pittwater on most charters but these fish seem to be lethargic with the cold water so we have been hitting the various reefs and headlands along the coast for some great fish, especially from Whale Beach to Manly on yellowtail and fresh squid heads.


Snapper around 45cm are biting and, with patience, a 4kg model usually shows up in depths of less than 30m over hard reef. At the edges of the reefs there seem to be a lot of leatherjackets that leave you with no chance.

The best snapper times have been early morning until two hours after the sun rises and in the last two hours of daylight. Plan to fish a rising moon phase and a rising tide and you should do well.

The big news has been the showing of yellowfin tuna which have been caught wide but are worth the travel. A couple of days ago I took out three mates to share the fuel bill with and came home with three yellowfin from 15kg to 40kg. The guys also released four fish of 25kg, all 12 miles off Broken Bay.

On the same day another boat load of friends fished 10 miles north-east of Browns Mountain and came home with four tuna from 50kg to 60kg and saw fish estimated at 80kg that refused everything presented to them.

By the time you read this I am hoping that the fish are running hard and that you will all have a chance to come aboard to catch one of the ocean’s hard-fighting,-no nonsense brawlers.

Big kingfish hungry for high-speed jigging lures are starting to gather out wide. Traditionally June and July are the months when offshore jigging really takes off and normally the numbers of the bigger fish are worth targeting.

The areas to target vary from day to day but reefs in around 100m are worth visiting, such as those off Terrigal, Avoca and Long Reef.

It is also worth stopping in 50m depth and drifting for flathead to top up the icebox on the way home. The blue-spot flathead respond really well to pilchards and soft plastics 10cm to 150cm long.

Lastly, the squid in Pittwater are starting to become a little easier with quite a few bigger ones about. Use green jigs and if they fail, change over to pink. Best areas to try have been West Head Beach, Palm Beach Wharf and The Basin. The rocky areas are better than the weedy areas at the moment.

I hope this report sees you excited and eager to go out for a fish. Remember to limit your kill, not kill your limit.

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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