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Flyboat fishing charters Sydney harbourHow do you write a fishing report when the fishing is this amazing and consistent? Anything I say just sounds repetitive and there are only so many amazing days you can put into words. But one thing is for sure, I will look back on the winter of 2019 and remember it as the year the kings came to hunt in Sydney Harbour. But now, it’s spring already!

Its been so difficult to target anything else. As a sport fish the mighty kingfish really holds it own amongst the world trophy catches. Hard pulling, mean and tough. With enough habitat variation and hunting styles to keep you guessing year round. They can be caught on just about every fishing technique. And can punish even the best fishos on their best day – and reward the novice the next.

I’ve spent many cold winter on and in the waters of Sydney harbour often for very little result. The expectation was always that when summer comes things will get better. But what about this year? How does it get any better? As a fisherman who has just experiences a once in a lifetime fishery, where do we go from here. It feels ridiculous to write but words fail to describe the memories of the last 3 months.

If your struggling to catch kingfish right now pay attention, you don’t need the best gear and technique. On bait, use a pilchard tail on a 4/0 fine gauge circle hook. 20-30 lb fluorocarbon leader about 1.5 m along from a swivel and a 10 gram sinker on the other side. Drop it to the bottom, then wind up a meter or two depending on the depth. Place your rod in a rod holder and wait for it bend. A quick note on the beauty of circle hooks is the fish will nearly always hook themselves better than you can. And best off all they hook in the side of the mouth for a more successful release. It’s so simple and it really works.

I had a visit from Flyboat co-owner Steve Dunn and fly fishing legend Phil Weigall last week. Amazing two days with plenty of action when it heated up.

Steve, Phil and Stephen – the sun doesn’t shine every day, but the smiles say it all.

It was all on fly…. heavy sinking lines 300 or 400 grain – whatever your rod can handle, because the faster that fly gets down the longer you are in the strike zone and the more fish you will catch. Fly choice was anything from large clousers to bulky bait patterns. Lots of debate about leaders but I prefer to fish max 30 lb fluorocarbon leader about 9-12 foot long. You can fish heavier but there will be days when you will get less attention and I’d rather break a leader than a fly line.

This is a lot pressure for a 20 lb leader, as Steve milks one for Phil’s camera!

It’s often not the 20 lb they’re actually physically breaking, or even the knots, they’re actually rubbing against either the bottom or structure which just wears it down – the broken leader comes up virtually shredded for he first foot or so that you get you back. If you do want to fish a heavier leader – for abrasion resistance purposes – you can use a short lighter section from the fly line to main leader, so that can break before your fly line does if you get snagged – or maybe try a braid tippet. Remember most fly lines are rated about 40-50 lb (give or take a nick or two).

We all need to be aware – as users of this amazing natural resource – that we have a responsibility to protect and nurture it. How that’s done is up to the fishing and wider community, but we are all in this together. Let’s not be afraid of open and frank discussion on and off the water. Most off all let’s continue to make Sydney Harbour a world class fishery for everyone – and that means not killing everything, and letting some of the big ones go.

Now for a fishing report…..

Kingfish are everywhere right now….. Salmon are coming in closer to the heads everyday. There are some nice bream against the shore on the flooding high tide. And there’s plenty of surface action in front of Sydney’s  number one harbour icons.

Plenty of surface action near Sydney’s harbour icons.

The other big hitter at the moment are Mumma flathead sitting on the sandy drop offs of the upper estuary. They can be a hoot at this time of the year. Anything from pilchard sitting on the bottom or lightly drifted – or a live poddy mullet will catch. But it’s undeniable you can cover a lot more water with fly, lure, or soft plastic. Whatever style you go for  I like to keep in mind that any fish in range will spot or sense the lure as soon as it makes a splash after the cast. With this in mind learn how your lure drops, moves and rises, and visualise your retrieve.

So, up for a bit of charter boat fun? Call me (Stephen):0422 709 139 or email:

Low tides in the middle of the day for the rest of the week which means afternoon flood tides

Willy weather says it all.  It’ll be fine and sunny for the next week of spring, with maybe a spot of rain on Sunday.

Kings sitting behind the bait.