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Sydney Reports: Sydney Harbour Autumn 2012, By Craig McGill

Sydney Harbour Autumn 2012, By Craig McGill

This past season has produced the wettest, nastiest weather I can ever remember. The ocean currents have been all over the shop and water temps have constantly fluctuated between 19 and 24 degrees. Every time the water looks like cleaning up, down comes another big brown flush from upstream. It's been windy and cold with regular big seas. It's testing angler's patients to the limits, to say the least, but there is an upside.

What a good flush does, apart from turning the system upside down for a while, is inject the system with a burst of nutrients. This comes from two main sources the main one being in the form of plant, animal and mineral matter washed in off the land. Secondly, depending on the extent of the flood, the river bed, along with the vast variety of marine organisms, gets lifted and dispersed downstream. This all makes a major contribution to the system and we will see the benefits, over the coming years, as it works its way up through the food chain

Being an opportunist feeder, bream are particularly turned on by a big flush and I'm expecting a solid turn-up in April
The Spit Bridge, Balmoral, North harbour, Sow and Pigs, Bottle and Glass and Bradleys head should all produce well. The shallower spots like Balmoral and Sow and Pigs are best fished early morning, late afternoon and into the night. Once the sun is high in the sky try the deeper areas like Bottle and Glass and North harbour.

A big fresh tends to knock the crustaceans and small baitfish around making them an easy target for bream. Bream can tolerate extended periods in pure fresh so you could find them in the upper reaches and right in close along the shore line at high tide. At low tide try the deeper holes and off the rocky points. With a bit of colour in the water, baits like skirt steak, fresh tuna cubes, chicken and mullet gut and chicken breast fillet dipped in tuna oil seem to work better than live baits like yabbies, prawns and worms. There's no doubting though, that once the water is back to its normal clear condition then the live baits are way ahead.

A light burly is a definite advantage in attracting bream. I once fished next to a boat that I considered to be burlying excessively. The anglers mix consisted of a typical grain based burly with what should have been a dash , but was in fact probably half a bottle of tuna oil (we all do it) --- and it was going in by the bucket full. Consequentially a large number of the bream we caught were bloated with oats. My bet was that there were fish still down there that were so full that they had stopped feeding.

Burly is designed to attract fish, not feed them. Your bait is there to feed them. Keep the burly regular but just a sniff.
My burly system consists of a few FRESH fish frames in the PVC burly pot and a gentle stir every ten minutes or whenever I remember -- usually the later. Its comical to watch some of my crew, who previously had no interest in burly, become human burly pot pistons when the fish turn up.

Flathead have also come on strong after the rain although they are probably more interested in the abundance of baitfish that have been flushed down as opposed to the scrapes. All the areas mentioned above are fishing well for flatties with the Balmoral area really firing.
If you plan to anchor for flatties then try and find a drop-off on a sand bottom or an area of broken sand reef. Live baits are the way to go when at anchor as the flatties like moving bait.

Drifting the shallow sand areas around Balmoral and Rose bay is extremely productive, although the fish, while in numbers, tend to be smaller. White bait or anchovies make good drift baits but once again livies pinned through the top lip are way ahead.

Middle harbour being relatively deep and having only a small catchment should still hold a few fish regardless of its resemblance to the Murray.
My bet would be that Jew and bream will hold in there but pelagics like frigates, bonito and tailor will move out. Kings are the exception and we have been taking quality fish in surprisingly dirty water.

The fresh won't worry the Jews either; in fact hunting in dark, discoloured water is their specialty. There's a lot of mullet in middle harbour at the moment so big live mullet baits would be ideal if you can get them. If not, then live tailor caught in the lower reaches or squid from north harbour would be a great choice. At last resort big slabs of frozen squid or mullet will do.

Down on the lower reaches look for the area where the fresh water coming down from the harbour meets with the cleaner ocean water. This usually occurs around Balmoral in middle harbour and Sow and Pigs in the harbour. Down here burly will help concentrate the fish and, once again the odorous baits will work best. In addition to the gut and steak baits try some pilchard fillets.

A couple of spots I have found work well in these conditions include;
Inside Grotto pt , Cobblers beach , Tailors bay , inside south head (red marker) sow and pigs , The eastern cardinal mark at Dobroyd (if the swell is not too big) and inside Cannae pt.

North harbour will offer the cleanest water having only a minimal catchment and should be well out of the swell.


Stuart Reid's 50lb Pending World Record PNG Black Bass

Pending World Record Black Bass

Papuan Black Bass are renowned the world over as the toughest pound for pound freshwater fish in the world, and the place to find the biggest Black Bass is PNG's Gulf province. The current all tackle world record Black Bass of 46lbs, and the fish pictured (caught on 19/6/14, by Stuart Reid, Fishabout) which is the pending world record at 50lbs, were both caught from these rivers.

Once you feel the strike you know that no freshwater fish can come close to the power. Watching 100kg guys get knocked over on the strike, reels give way, rods break in half and 130LB pound braid snap from the pound for pound strongest fighting fresh water fish is a sight to behold. If would like to experience the thrill of targeting PNG Black Bass and Barramundi in remote areas with very low fishing pressure contact us now

Kadavu Island - Great Astrolabe Reef

Fiji Macky

The pristine Fiji Islands are home to the South Pacific's finest sport and game fish, including massive GT's, monster dogtooth tuna, yellowfin tuna, dolphin fish, wahoo, spanish mackerel, black marlin, blue marlin and plenty of reef fish. Many of these species are endemic to the Great Astrolabe Reef (one of the largest barrier reefs in the world), which is the reef that encompasses Kadavu Island, Fiji.Fishabout now offer 6 and 8 day fishing packages to explore this marine wonder of the world, which include 3 and 5 days fishing respectively. For more information click here

Endyalgout Remote Fishing Camp

Sunset at Endyalgout

Fishabout is pleased to now offer remote fishing trips to Endyalgout Island, one of the best fishing locations in Australia. (Nestled on the south east of the Coburg Penninsula).

Situated on a shell grit beach under shady trees, are several permanent tropical friendly safari style tents, raised on wooden platforms.

Looking out past the resident Crocodile you can see miles and miles of enticing mangroves, barely touched creeks, rivers, rock bars and channels, all calling your name.

From monster Baramundi up to 130cm, to big Black Jewfish, Threadfin Salmon, various Trevallies, and some of the biggest Golden Snaper to be found anywhere, Endyalgout Island is truly a dream to fish.

Pricing ranges from $4350 (4 days, 3 anglers per boat) to $6910 (7 days, 2 anglers per boat)

For more information please click here