We have had some great captures inside Pittwater and offshore over the past month.
There have been quite a few windy days on Pittwater that have limited areas to fish but with a bit of planning there are fish still to be caught.
Kingfish are still about and a few big fish have been travelling the shallow bays chasing baitfish, squid and cuttlefish.
The smaller kings around 70cm seem to still be hanging around the various reefs and wrecks near Scotland Island.
The best area by far seems to be Bothams Reef, where downrigging with live cuttlefish or small squid will produce the odd fish. In the colder water quite often the bait has to be dropped on their noses and this is still not a guarantee for a quick hook-up.
On our Walker downrigger camera the kings are quite often seen without the thick black stripe which signifies that they are hungry and ready to eat.
If we’ve spent an hour without a strike we then drift over the area with smaller offerings and baits set at mid-water so we can also cast poppers and soft plastics to try to excite the fish.
The set baits are always in the strike zone and following fish will usually eat one of these baits while it’s still excited.
Other areas to use this technique during winter are at the Take Away, Soldiers Point, Longnose Point and Jacks.
The area to anchor at the moment seems to be near Currawong Beach reef first thing in the morning. The current through this area on the bigger tides is perfect for kingfish, jewfish, bream and flathead on the edge of the sand. Fish this area at the middle of the tide when the current is at its hardest.
Areas around Pittwater worth a drift are The Hill and the drop-off near Mackeral Beach, which are producing decent numbers of small snapper, keeper bream, flathead and flounder but there are a lot of ‘just keepers’ that should be released to catch when bigger next year.
The fish don’t seem to be too picky as long as it’s fresh. We have been using fresh prawns and whitebait.
Offshore, the yellowfin tuna bite continues. We have been catching our fair share and on most days it has been as simple as finding the 21° to 22° water with a current or temperature break and laying out a cube trail.
Andrew Parkes, Stefan Hanssen, DB, Doogs and Cranky Frank accompanied me for a great day when we stumbled onto good water well inside the continental shelf, set out a cube trail and within 15 minutes had yellowfin and albacore around our boat.
Before too long Frank hoisted aboard a yellowfin of 12kg and then Parksy caught a lovely albacore.
From that point on the fish came in waves. There’d be screaming drags for 15 minutes, a 10-minute quiet period and then the fish would be back.
Stefan caught the next albacore and then the bigger yellowfin started to bite.
The next two fish, caught by DB and Doogs, were 19.5kg and 35kg. Both fish fought doggedly and Doogs was introduced into tuna fishing at the ‘deep end’.
With 12 albacore and four tuna between 12kg and 35kg, the boys kept a fair amount of fish and there were a heap released as well.
Some big kingfish are still out on deep reefs. Jigging has been the most successful method but these big brutes have a knack of finding sharp edges in deep water and this fishing is not for the weak.
It’s real stand-and-deliver stuff with heavy drag pressures and it helps to have a decent sense of balance and humour.
The usual areas around Long Reef and some of the deeper wrecks at Narrabeen are holding fish, as are the usual haunts off Terrigal.
The leatherjackets are thinning at the 50m mark and finally decent sized blue-spot flathead can be caught again.
If you would like to come out and catch some fish call 0410 633 351 or book at www.estuaryfishing.com.au.
• Peter Le Blang operates Harbour & Estuary Fishing Charters out of Pittwater, phone 02 9999 2574 or visit www.estuaryfishingcharters.com.au.Reads: 703