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Sydney Reports: Sydney Harbour Report, by Craig McGill - 29 09 11

Sydney Harbour Report, by Craig McGill - 29 09 11

The salmon run is picking up toward full swing by now and if the numbers massing off the northern beaches are anything to go by then it's going to be a big season. We have been picking up a few strays on bait while fishing for trevally and there is the occasional random school roaming up stream of the Harbour Bridge and Middle harbour.

They are notoriously hard to catch when they first come in as they are feeding on really small prey. I've also noticed over the last few years that schools have become increasingly fragmented by attacks from seals and dolphins, making them even harder to catch on some days. Go the real small metal lures and tiny unweighted stick baits. Don't forget to occasionally let your lures fall deep through the salmon schools as you will often find trevally and even kings sitting under them.

October can also be a great time for jewfish. When they first move into the estuaries at this time of year they are concentrated in large schools. As the water warms up they will spread throughout the waterways but right now is your best chance at catching numbers. You will also find that once you have located the schools, you can often find then at the same spot for weeks on end. This is much less common through the rest of the year.
Jewfish have adapted very well to the type of man made structures found in the harbour. They love shade and a break in the current while they are not feeding, so the likes of deep water jetties, marinas, wrecks and bridges provide ideal holding grounds for them. The down side is that they are more sensitive to noise and commotion than some of our other common big predators so keep your approach as quiet as possible.
They are probably the hardest of all fish to crack the code for consistent success. Here are a few tips that should make it a bit easier.
The turn of the high and the first hour and a half is the prime time. The turn of the low and the first hour and a half of the run in is your next best bet. This is the time of least tidal flow and reflects jews lazy nature.
Jew have two areas where you might find them. Their holding grounds and their feeding grounds. As an example of this imagine a wreck sitting on barren sand or mud bottom in the harbour, where jew are holding. On the turn of the tides they will come out of cover and make their way to food rich kelp beds or break wall to feed. The wreck is the holding ground and the kelp bed / break wall is the feeding ground.
Being in the vicinity of holding structure gives you your best shot at these fish. They will pass by your offerings as they make their way out to the feeding grounds and again as they make their way back. Obviously they will be hungrier on their way out than when they return after a feed so therefore right on the turn of the high or low, when they first make their move out is the ultimate time to be near holding cover. You will catch good jew during the day if all conditions are right.
Divers tell me Jews hang in wrecks, caves, ledges, pylons and under marinas. Sometimes they can be found under coastal shelves in very shallow sudsy water. They are different to kings who hang around structure for reference, food and shade Jews actually like to get inside the structure for security. This doesn't mean that they ambush feed from here though. Their feeding is done when they move out and onto richer grounds as detailed above
Don't always assume that the structure needs to be deep either. I know of at least one patch of washy, knarly bombies, within casting distance from the shore, that produces Jew up to 40lb and sit in less than 15ft of water.

What about when they move well upstream into the mangrove estuaries where there is very little structure? This makes things a bit easier in regards to all tide access. They will be found sitting in the bottom of the deepest holes but in generally open water. This means that you can reach them with bait or lure through any stage of the tide. Of course you will still do better during those tide changes when they are actively feeding. Bridges are a major source of artificial structure in an environment where there would otherwise be none. These are prime spots in the upper reaches especially for lure chuckers at night.
The worst week is the week after and including the night of the full moon. The best weeks are the lead up to the full and new moon. It's no co-incidence that the perfect tides during these periods fall early morning and late afternoon in low light conditions.

Your best bites will occur, at this time of year, when the wind is blowing NW and then swings SW or S. In other words, just before a front. It's a narrow window of opportunity. It doesn't seem to matter too much whether it's overcast or bright and sunny. Of course this is not the only time they feed, it's just the best.
There are a number of baits you can use for Jew but the most important factor for all of them is freshness.
We picked up a 52 lb Jew the other day and a few minutes later a King fish of about 60cm or 2.5 kg. Out of interest I wanted to see how the king fitted into the jews mouth and was surprised to find that it didn't even touch the sides. Don't be scared to put out really big baits if you are after big jew. They have a huge mouth so they can eat big prey
If you want to catch quality jew consistently you are going to have to master squid fishing. Squid are the number one bait and all the really good jew fishos that I know are also gun squid fishos. Don't make the mistake of trying to find a way around this. Sashimi quality squid go for about $40. Kg and they are the closest you will get to an alternative. My formula is that the squid has to be back in the water, as bait, max 6 hours after it was caught -- not bought.
Even on the beach, where you wouldn't expect to find squid, they still rate as the top bait. Other good baits include large live baits like tailor and mullet but you will need to come up with a good method of controlling them or you can end up in an awful tangle, especially at night.
Big fillets of the above mentioned fish (leave the head on one side and the tail on the other) are also good. Most of the bigger Jewies and kings that I catch have silver biddies in their gut so if you can find a way to catch them then they are obviously great bait too.
When the fish takes the bait hit it immediately. A lot of people recon you should let them run before striking but in my experience this looses more fish than it catches.
If a big fish swims off with your bait there is only one place he can be holding it and that is in his mouth. If your hook is in the bait then it too is in the fish's mouth. If the hook is in the fish's mouth then I can't imagine why you would want to do anything other than strike.

Craig McGill


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