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A different approach
  |  First Published: May 2010



There are still some great fish being caught in Pittwater and Broken Bay but as the water and air cool down, you need a different approach.

We are still gathering live baits to start the charters but we are spreading our time across a wide variety of fishing techniques.

We are normally starting at Barrenjoey Head trolling our live baits on the downrigger for big kingfish, but we’re also casting metal lures and soft plastics into the washes.

There we have picked up the usual tailor and bonito but the size of some of these fish has been surprising, with tailor to 55cm and bonito 60cm. Bigger metal lures seem to be better but make sure your rod is capable of casting 40g without the risk of breaking.

From Lion Island to Box Head has tailor, bonito and salmon. The salmon are feeding freely but that will soon change when they become fixated on ‘living eyes’.

Our next stop is normally somewhere like Flint and Steel or West Head, where we berley for a variety of fish such as bream, flathead, trevally, jewfish and john dory. Of course, we have a live bait out for a big Winter kingfish.

Areas to target at the moment are Walkers Point (on a weekend when the trawlers don’t operate) Flint and Steel, Juno Point, Midway Reef, Pearl Beach and the Lion Island reef. Fish for an hour and if you are unsuccessful, just move on and start again.

The other option is to drift over the many drop-offs to target flathead.

When you fish this way, you are able to cover a lot of area and are more likely to get a feed of fish.

Gone are the days when you just sat for six hours berleying in one spot and waited for a fish to come past. With all the technology and sophisticated gear now available we can all actively target and track down fish.

TRICKY KINGS

Pittwater kingfish are still about and are mostly big but are becoming difficult to tempt in the colder water. The more active kings seem to be cruising towards the mouth of Pittwater but the best bait seems to vary from one day to the next.

If you anchor and berley at Soldiers Point or near the drop-off at Mackerel Beach, you should at least see a kingfish.

Soft plastics and poppers can excite some of these big fish but if they are just cruising the berley trail, try a prawn. I know it sounds crazy but when all else fails, these big fish can snack on a small prawn or even piece of bread.

Other areas for a big king include Longnose Point, Stokes Point and West Head.

However, there are some very nice bream waiting to devour a lure or bait among the moorings at Careel Bay, Palm Beach and Mackerel Beach.

McCarrs Creek, especially directly after a decent downpour, is good for big Winter bream.

Here it can be better to fish with plain bread in a bread berley trail. The biggest drama seems to be when the bread drifts to the surface and those pesky seagulls turn up.

Trevally can be caught at Bothams Reef and here a weighted berley bucket is helpful. Add a mixture of chicken pellets, bread and a can or two of tuna cat food.

The trevally are eating peeled prawns or fillets of pilchard floated down amid the berley.

OFFSHORE

We are seeing some decent catches of kingfish taken jigging or live baiting indeep water. The problem with jigging is that the expensive line is being snipped by leatherjackets and now, toadfish. If only these two plagues would eat each other so we could all catch a decent fish or two with less expense!

Twelve Mile Reef is still showing some nice kingfish but jackets can ruin the day.

The Narrabeen wrecks are fishing a little poorly at the moment but I am sure that the over the next month the odd decent fish will be pulled from the area.

The Terrigal grounds are again the pick of areas to try jigging. There are still the leathery pests about but the vast opportunities that are available in this area means that normally a decent kingfish bite can be found.

• Peter Le Blang operates Harbour and Estuary Fishing Charters, phone 02 9999 2574 or 0410 633 351, visit www.estuaryfishingcharters.com.au.

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