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Sydney Reports: Sydney Harbour Report, By Craig McGill - 10 08 11

Sydney Harbour Report, By Craig McGill - 10 08 11

The most reliable fish at this time of year are luderick.
Fortunately they will take cabbage weed, being primarily ocean blackfish, as opposed to the smaller river luderick who prefer the often hard to obtain river weed. Unfortunately with all the bad weather we have had this winter, cabbage weed has been sparse as the big swell smashes it off the rocks. With a bit more effort though cabbage can be found on most ocean rock platforms. You'll need a bucket of sand as well, which is mixed with some chopped cabbage weed and used for burly.

Blackfish are possibly one of the most reliable species found in Sydney Harbour. They can be successfully targeted all year round but we tend chase them more in winter as our focus in summer is kings. They are found throughout the system from the heads right through the freshwater reaches. I've even seen them in pure fresh water in the head waters of Middle Harbour.

Although they are obviously exactly the same species, blackfish often get categorised into river blackfish and ocean blackfish.
River blackfish are generally smaller, darker fish found in the upper reaches of the harbour. They usually don't exceed about half a kilo and therefore require a scaling down in tackle compared to that used to catch their much larger ocean brothers.

Rods still need to be long but are of lighter construction. There are a couple of reasons for the long rods used for blackfish the main ones being that they are required to lift the belly of line that often forms between the rod tip and the float. The other is to cushion against the fishes numerous powerful lunges and avoid pulling the tiny hooks used for blackfish, from their small mouths.
Quill floats are far more efficient than the heavy, long stemmed floats used for the ocean fish.
A number 10 or 8 Mustad sneck hook, in green, completes the rig.
River weed, which is the hair like weed found in the brackish reaches, is the preferred bait for river blackfish.

Some of the better spots in the Harbour include; Greenwich, Long nose Point, lane Cove River, blues Pt, Balls head, valentia St wharf and the wall near luna park. In Middle Harbour; Roseville, Killarney pt, Spit Bridge and Beauty Pt are the pick of the spots.
The lower harbour has a number of spots that attract some superb quality ocean Blackfish.
These fish are in the same class as the fish you would expect to find off the ocean rocks. They are of a good average size at around the kilo mark and are much lighter in colour with prominent bands running down their body. They are found in much rougher country so accordingly the tackle must be scaled up a bit.
Rods are slightly heavier in the but section and four or five kg line is more appropriate. The heavier, long stemmed floats are used and a no. 8 or 6 hook is more suited to these larger fish.
The other main difference between these ocean fish and the river fish is the bait. Cabbage weed commonly found on the ocean rocks grows in abundance on the lower reaches of the harbour and is therefore the obvious bait.
You'll have to gather your cabbage from the ocean platforms though, as taking anything from the intertidal zone of Sydney Harbour is prohibited.
A Burley consisting of chopped weed and sand is a big advantage for both river and ocean fishing.

The tricky bit to blackfish fishing is in the control of the rig. Light floats, long drops, wind resistant baits and lots of sinkers add up to a rig that demands constant attention. There's two ways to go and they both have their good and bad points.
You can opt for the running float rig. This consists of a standard long stemmed blackfish float that is free to run on the line. It's stopped a certain distance from the hook by a split shot and stopped from running all the way up the line by a 'stopper'. The 'stopper ‘can be a piece of light string tied to the line or any one of a number of commercially produced rubber 'stoppers'. The main criteria for a stopper is that it clamps tightly enough to the main line to stop the float sliding any further than you want it to , but still must be loose enough that it can be moved up or down in order to change the depth of the drop. It must also be able to be wound through the runners, sometimes even onto the reel and cast back out again without snagging. The main advantages of this rig is that the length of the drop from the rod tip can be as short as a couple of feet and the maximum depth of the drop below the float is infinite. This makes it an easy rig to cast and can be cast further than the alternative. The disadvantage is that it is prone to tangling due to the fact that the wind resistant bait is very close to the float during the cast. It's common with this rig for the line and bait to tangle around the float.
The alternative rig consists of a fixed float. A split shot clamped above and below the float restricts its movement up or down the line. This means that the float is fixed on the line at the full depth you are fishing. The problem with this rig is that if you are fishing deep at let's say ten feet or more you will have that full ten feet of line hanging down from the rod tip. As you would imagine this would be difficult to handle. The big advantage with this rig is that is much less prone to tangling during the cast because the bait is so far from the float. This is the method I use most often. Obviously if you are fishing more than about twelve feet then this rig is not applicable, but this does not occur very often.
Weighting of the float is critical. Most floats consist of a thin stem with a stream lined float of either cork or foam about two thirds of the way up the stem. The float must be weighted so that the cork or foam section is under water leaving just the one third of the stem above the float showing. The float is weighted with split shot, running sinkers, strip lead around the stem of the float or a combination of all of these.
Whether conditions dictate the size and weight of the float you will use. In windy rough conditions you will need a big heavy float and in calm conditions the smaller the float the better. A quill float makes an ideal still water float.
The choice of reel is up to you. I've seen egg-beaters, baitcasters and center pins used successfully. Centerpins are still used on a traditional basis rather than on their practicality. If you opt for a centerpin then go for a side cast such as those made by Alvey. I use egg beaters as they offer open face casting, a fast retrieve which is important when picking up 'belly' before striking and the ability to feed line smoothly to the float to allow it to drift.

They are a top eating fish if they are bled, iced, filleted and skinned. Don't forget to remove the black lining from the stomach.


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