Cooler water will persist
  |  First Published: September 2008

Although we’re at last through Winter, the fish won’t know about it until the water begins to warm up and that may take some time yet.

The cold water can shut down many fish and only a few species feed and at times even they are a little hard to find.

So what do we target at this time of the year and do we fish Botany Bay or head offshore for the day?

Well, wherever you go and try is far better than sitting at home thinking about it.

At this time of year I normally start in Botany Bay just after there’s enough light to see what the day and sea conditions are like.

I’ll often anchor at one of the many trevally spots around the Bay and most days this will give you a good start and you might even pick up some slimy mackerel, which are top live baits or great cut bait for offshore.

Early this month the westerlies should still be blowing, flattening the sea and providing top conditions.


So after a morning shot at the trevally I tend to sneak wide out of the Bay entrance into 50m of water and as long as the sea is rather flat, I start a drift,

I’ll even use a 37kg deep jig out which can send out live bait for kingies, fish with large knife jigs or drop big leads down to fish the bottom even in 100m.

In most situations I use a simple bottom-bashing rig,

Start with the right lead and this all depends on the amount of current and how fast you might be drifting. You need a nylon trace of about 2m from your braid to allow you to tie two loop knots for two hooks – 2/0 is fine for most bottom species wide of Sydney.

Heading out from Botany Bay you have a rocky bottom out around 45m, where the sand starts, So start your drift in 40m and work out to say 50m and you will at times catch a mixed bag of morwong, snapper and flathead and there are also the leatherjackets as well – and don’t we love these little guys! They’re great on the plate but hard on tackle.

In this depth of water, pilchards are too soft unless you salt them down, so use squid and strip baits of slimy mackerel or yellowtail. Most days you will pick up these while fishing for trevally in the Bay so it doesn’t have to be an expensive exercise.


Keep an eye on is the depth sounder. Watch the depth each time you catch a fish and you will find that you can shorten your drift and work the area over a little better and find more fish on each outing.

If drifting proves rather slow, head back towards the mouth of the Bay and anchor in, say, 30m over the rocky bottom and start a berley trail of pilchard cubes and fish floating pilchards and strip baits down the trail.

Make sure you let lots of line out and try to stay in touch with your bait at all times.

I have found some days that snapper and trevally will hold over the rocky bottom along this area but if you find the current is too fast, pull the pin and head for home.

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