Top catches in Broken Bay
  |  First Published: April 2010

Adverse weather has stopped a lot of ocean adventures, big seas, strong currents and stiff breezes conspiring to create a washing-machine effect when travelling offshore.

Inshore, the current changed direction and were left with green water lifeless except for bonito and the odd monster kingfish. The bonito have made a real comeback this year and most headlands along the coast are home to these feisty speedsters.

Broken Bay has produced great captures of bonito on light tackle, the striped sprinters attacking trolled minnow lures. The fish aren’t feeding on the surface very often but once found with the minnows, metal lures can be cast to hook up more.

The better areas to attack these fish at the moment have been Barrenjoey Head, West Head, Lion Island Reef, Box Head and Flint and Steel.

Flint and Steel has been firing for a variety of fish lately. We have been catching bream, frigate mackerel, big tailor, flathead, trevally and samson.

You will probably note that I have not mentioned jewfish, and that is because that every decent jewfish that has been hooked has got away. Smaller fish to 4kg have been caught but unfortunately some of the bigger models have made anglers over-excited and lose their fish.

The bream are from 25cm through to 32cm but all are ready to spawn and numbers seem to be building. The frigates also have bonito swimming among them and both of these can be caught on metal lures or minnows.

The fish are following the current lines along the reef and are worth targeting. Tailor are also responding to the same lures but seem to be feeding deeper.

The trevally are around 35cm and are coming out to play at the slack of the tide. They are responding well to berley and you should use as little weight as possible to get your bait down.

The flathead in Broken Bay are a bit small for my liking but we have found some larger fish holding close to the reef. These bigger models have been taking big dead baits set out for jewfish.

Some big flatties have been following the trail right up to the deep berley bucket and a well-placed soft plastic worked near the bucket has produced the odd hook-up.

While fishing at Flint and Steel a customer pointed out that I had a can of WD40 on the boat. He mentioned that he was told at a recent fishing class to make sure that there was no WD40 to be used on any fishing equipment that could get the smell of the product into the water. He then told me that this smell and many others make the fish shy away from the bait.

I then baited a hook with a single whitebait and sprayed it liberally with WD40 and asked the customer to drop it to the bottom. The sinker hardly hit the bottom when the drag started to scream. After a solid battle a 62cm samson was hoisted aboard!

To see the look on the customer’s face was simply brilliant and, to be honest, I could not have written a better script. So the moral to the story is not to spray everything with WD40 and also to try anything when the times get hard.

Oh, and on his next charter I am going to show this guy how to catch flathead with orange peel!

The kingfish in Pittwater have slowed in comparison with the past few months but there are some big fish about for those who are patient. The best baits are small live cuttlefish but at this time of the year you really do need to have a variety of baits.

In previous years I have had to gather or bring out five different baits on each charter so a decent bite can be found. These baits are cuttlefish, squid, yellowtail or slimies, pilchards and garfish.

Once a school of kingfish is found, one of these baits will usually produce a few strikes before the fish wise up.

The areas to try are all closer to the mouth of Pittwater and include The Motor, Soldiers Point, Stokes Point and Portuguese Beach. These areas have some current on the bigger tides and the use of berley can be successful in these areas.

Over the next month we should also see the odd john dory show up around the deeper holes in Pittwater. Mark Hayes from Mark Hayes Trimming recently fished a popular spot at The Basin and was rewarded with some very nice flathead, bream, a 6kg jewfish and a john dory. The dory ate a small live yellowtail suspended about 1m from the bottom.

In the next month we should see some big kingfish caught along the coast and it may be the last chance we have at them close, before they move off to the deeper reefs.

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