|sydney harbour & surrounds with craig mcgill
Dated: 4 May, 2010
What an amazing summer season we have just experienced. Water temperatures were at an all time high , reaching 24 deg inside the harbor. The kingies were the biggest we have ever experienced testing both angler and tackle to the limit. In early February Fishabout had the best day in its 18 year history. Fishing with regular customer Rich Balanson and pommy tourist Kevin Oliver we caught 10 squid and then had an incredible , non stop , two hour session on kings . In total we had 35 kingfish hookups with 10 of those resulting in bust ups but managed to land 25 fish between 80 – 110cm. Rich got 2 over 1m . Most fish were released. There was a noticeable absence of the usual run of ‘rat kings’ in the 65cm bracket and most fish this season were up around the 80cm mark with plenty over 1m.
|an average harbour king|
We also had the best bonito run we have had in many years and the bream fishing was also sensational .
I was lucky enough to get away on a couple of ‘ top end’ trips both of which were a great success.
The first was to Melville island with John Parsons group. This was Johns second trip here and his comment before we left was that “if this trip is only half as good as last years it will still be a success”. As it turned out the Nov 09 trip was even BETTER than the first trip so you can imagine the superb quality of fishing we experienced.
|Richi Rich with his seasons best|
The next adventure was an exploratory wet season barra trip to the Daly and Mary rivers. Hutch and myself accompanied Graeme Russell and the boys on a hot ‘run-off’ session with guide Andrew Darby. The fishing was sensational with loads of fish around the 80cm mark and Russ got his PB barra of 111cm after 20 years of ‘top end ‘fishing. The flood plain fishing from the air boats at Bamurru is a ‘not to be missed’ experience and , to the best of our knowledge , Fishabout are the only ones offering this style of fishing in Australia. Darbs runs a superb operation and we will definitely be putting these trips on the agenda for next season
|Lachlan Murdoch aboard Fishabout|
With winter just around the corner it’s time to make a few adjustments to our fishing style on the harbour.
Lure fishing that is so productive through the summer months will be all but shut down with the exception of trolling the deeper water for Tailor and maybe some bream spinning on the upper reaches of the harbour.
You'll rarely see the Tailor feeding on the surface at this time of year . The best way to find them is by keeping a close eye on your sounder for large concentrations of baitfish. Quite often you'll even find the Tailor schools themselves that will appear as larger shapes around or under the bait showings. They tend to concentrate around headlands and the drop-offs on the edge of reefs. Diving minnows with a depth capability of fifteen foot or more are the way to go and a Tailor bite tapers off rapidly after sun rise.
|Darbs with a typical 'run-off' barra|
One fish that should come on in good numbers over the next few months is the Silver Trevally. Trevs are a very under rated species being an excellent fighter and if they are prepared properly also an excellent eating fish. They are only found in the harbour in their juvenile sizes which is around up to two kg's but half to one kg is more common. They are a schooling fish so where you catch one there is usually more. Trev's are a schooling fish so providing you keep the burley flowing there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to take half a dozen of more. They are a lot like yellow tail in the way they station themselves in a burley trail. Normally they feed from mid water to the bottom but on a good day you can burley then right up to the back of the boat. Given this situation there's no need for heavily weighted rigs which will in fact take the bait away from the fish. The trick with trevally is to present the bait as if it were part of the burley trail. This means very lightly weighted rigs where there is flow in the water and possibly even no weight at all in the quite bays where there is little current.
Trevs prefer small soft baits like peeled prawn and pilchard fillets. They are the only fish that I can think of that don't respond well to fresh baits and in a lot of cases they have shown a marked preference for packet bait over freshly caught and filleted bait. The exception to this is when you present them with a live yabbie or blood worm which are second to none.
The trev's have a small soft mouth so small hooks and light line are the way to go. I prefer a no. 4 VMC baitholder and three or four kg line. The light line helps avoid pulling the small hooks from the soft mouth.
You'll find Trevally right throughout the harbour depending on how much rain we've had . They like clear saline water , so after long dry spells they can be found in the upper reaches. After heavy rain they will be confined to the lower reaches. Trevs should be bleed immediately and iced down straight away. Filleted and skinned then pan fried in egg and flour they make an exceptional feed.
|the tailor are on the chew|
Morwong , normally an offshore species , will move into the harbour and taken up residence around the deep reefs and headlands. They usually run up to about 1.5 kg and are caught almost exclusively on squid and prawns. The best rig I have found is a light , two dropper , paternoster rig much like you would use when fishing for estuary leatherjackets. Number six baitholder hooks baited with a small piece of bait fished on the bottom should do the trick. Try Quarantine pt and Dobroyd reef.
Most winter fishing revolves around deepwater fishing with baits. This is mainly due to the fact that the water in the harbour is generally very clear at this time of year . It’s not unusual to be able to see the bottom , clearly , in thirty feet of water. Obviously under these conditions the fish are very spooky and retreat to the deep water as soon as its light .
Jewies will move into the estuaries as will John Dory and trevally. Bream , flathead , gar and reddies will still be around so it pays to fish a wide variety of baits and rigs. Although the flatties and bream will not be present in summer quantities the average size will be well up.
A typical winter session should involve four different baits set at different depths and a good burly trail. Typically, I would have a squid bait set about a meter off the bottom for jewies and a live yellowtail at the same depth for dory. I'd cast another yellowtail out wide , on the bottom for flatties and then spread three light rods away from the boat , on the bottom for bream and reddies . These would be alternately baited with prawn or pilchard pieces. Id then have one unweighted prawn or pilchard bait drifting down the burly trail for Trevally.
By covering all your options you give yourself a much better chance of taking home a feed during the slower times of the year.
|the mowies will be in soon|
Check out the web site www.fishabouttours.com.au or ring the office 8922 2651 for all Sydney Harbour and Travel fishing bookings.
|Craig McGill Fishnet Pro Angler
Email : email@example.com
Reports brought to you by Fishabout Tours
Phone : (02) 9975 1087
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org