Thank goodness that Winter is over. Every year it seems to get colder, but I know it’s just me getting older.
Over the past month I’ve missed fishing a fair few days because of strong winds or big seas but on the fishable days we have managed to do quite well.
On Pittwater we have been steadily racking up numbers of kingfish but patience is still needed. The fish are still a decent size and most have taken to eating small squid, cuttlefish or yellowtail.
Their food preference seems to change every couple of days so having a bit of a variety can be a big advantage.
Last week we took out Paul, Wilson and young Max Evans, 8, on Pittwater. As we started off catching our live baits Max seemed to catch most of the yellowtail and the only squid left in Pittwater on that day.
We headed back up-river and sounded over a wreck to find some mid-water arches. It took 10 minutes to find the arches and with baits suspended in mid-water, it took about 20 minutes for the kingfish to get active and smash the pinned yellowtail.
Wilson was on strike and for an 11-year-old he did a marvellous job at subduing the 84cm of power that was trying to pull him out of the boat. The fish tried every trick in the book to get loose but this young angler was up to the task.
It was the biggest fish he had caught and not much smaller than him, so he will remember the capture for a few years.
Trevally, bream, tarwhine and flathead are a fair bit easier to track down and pull in and are being caught at anchor and on the drift.
Drifting is best at The Hill or the Mackeral Beach drop-off, while anchoring areas have been near Currawong Beach Reef, Soldiers Point, Bothams Reef and the deep hole off Portuguese Beach.
We have been using prawns, whitebait and squid strips. There are quite a few pickers at Bothams Reef so checking your baits every 10 minutes or so is advisable.
Longnose Point has been hosting salmon schools on the surface first thing in morning and they are eating most lures.
The odd john dory is still being caught but the numbers have been poor again this year. There have not been any reports of them at Careel Bay or Church Point Wharf, which is disappointing.
Land-based anglers could do worse than fish Careel Bay Wharf. There are some big bream hanging around the marina and wharf and can be sparked up with a bread berley and then fed a live nipper.
Blackfish are being caught at Bayview Wharf and Church Point. Again, berley is needed to get the fish on the chew but they usually arrive in decent numbers.
Around all of these wharves there are squid at night but they disappear to deeper water as the sun rises.
Leatherjackets can be caught at all of these wharves as well, so take the kids for some fun.
The closer grounds off Long Reef and Broken Bay have produced some very nice fish.
Boultons and Reggies have turned up snapper to 50cm as well as trevally, morwong and, on the odd day, rat kingfish.
The best bait by far has been fresh squid but cut pillies or yellowtail fillets are also working well enough if the squid are difficult to catch.
At Avalon Reef and Long Reef snapper and morwong to 56cm are about and a decent feed has not been that difficult. There are still leatherjackets around but not in the big numbers of the previous month or two.
The 50m grounds have finally seen enough flathead to make it worth the journey and loss of tackle. There are still leatherjackets about but they have thinned out enough to catch a few blue-spot flathead. Use pilchards on ganged hooks or half a pillie on a single 5/0 hook.
The kingfish are still in decent numbers off Long Reef and The Wrecks off Narrabeen and some decent models are starting to be caught. There are also numbers of kingies on the reefs off Terrigal taking big jigs.
• My tip of the month is to do with finding new grounds offshore. If you don’t know an area very well the easiest way to find reef is to look out for the fish trap buoys. The commercial guys drop their traps on or near reefs to target bottom fish and these reefs also hold baitfish which attract bigger predators like kingfish as well as jewies.
You don’t have to fish the area while the traps are down but you should mark the floats on your GPS for later investigation.
This month we’ll target big kingfish inshore and offshore as well as a variety of reef fish and the big pelagics as they run along our coast.
• Peter Le Blang operates Harbour & Estuary Fishing Charters out of Pittwater, phone 0410 633 351 or visit www.estuaryfishingcharters.com.au.Reads: 2508