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Cian’s birthday flattie – loves a good Sydney Harbour fishing charter!

Try a Sydney Harbour fishing charter – nothing quite like it!  Its been an interesting few weeks on the harbour. The school holidays didn’t live up to expectations weather wise with rain and strong winds  an unwelcome feature. If you did manage to get out on the days when the weather took a break then you could expect to find mixed results. After the king-highs of winter, coming back to water level has been a bit tough!

But, silver lining wise there have been loads of salmon around the heads, and good schools of trevally, bream and flathead on every sandy drop off. But where were the kings? What had once been as easy as turning up and dropping a fly near a school, was now a real challenge.

but there’s Always a trade off – ask trump!

The trade off, the few remaining fish were all serious trophy fish and best of all, on the surface. You needed a keen eye and nerves of steel but if you got your fly in front of a hoodlum there was an excellent chance it would be engulfed!

Overall, it feels like we are in a state of transition.  Schools of bait are building around structure and drop offs and the water temperature is on the rise varying around the harbour – a balmy top today of 20.5 degrees c (on the surface).

Kingfish on fly

Sydney kingfish on fly – 940 mm of brute force and ignorance!

Kingfish on fly

As I said before it isn’t as easy to find the fish as it has been through winter. Every day, they’re in a different spot. What produced and worked one day was stone dead the next.   If you did find the fish there was a good chance you would have the spot to yourself – for just a while anyway. I’m a big fan of the whoop whoop when I’m onto good fish which always attracts the pond dwellers. But a good Sydney Harbour fishing charter operator is always happy to share the love!

Anyway, goodbye sinking lines and hello floaters and nice tight loops. It feels so good to throw a whole line with a tiny surf candy attached. And the smile  when a great cast transforms into an amazing hook up. Fly choices range from small surf candies to over-sized articulated squid patterns. Again, what got fish yesterday won’t necessarily catch today. Mini-clousers in natural colours are a great way to start,  but if you aren’t hooking up swap flies until you get the bite (as Dracula says).

Salmon on fly

There are literally football-field-sized schools of salmon around the heads right now. Best to get there early, as they can go off the bite after a few hours of merciless harassment by countless boats. These fish range in size from 1-5 kg, but whatever you hook will test your gear. They are real mongrel fighters. Floating or intermediate lines with 20 lb leaders are the go-too combo, with small surf candies your best fly option. I found a slower retrieve got more hooks ups – on average. But mix it up if you’re not hooking up – or if you’re only getting small fish.  Another trick is to get in front of the fish and cast in front of the approaching school. This gets a  pack of fish chasing your fly. Just remember never to drive through a school of fish on the surface – eek!

If you get bored of chasing salmon, try a sinking line for the chance of kings and trevally swimming below them. And keep an eye out for porpoising striped tuna which are never far away from the same bait.

Kids love fishing in Sydney Harbour

Surely, my pic of the year? This little dude had an absolute ball!

Bait and soft plastic

This is such a great time of year. Fresh squid, pilchard and chicken are my go to baits right now. As always location, timing  and burley are the key to success on the harbour. Fishing the tides, an hour before and after each tide is a great start,  with different fish preferring either a low tide or a high tide.

The most important thing you should remember is to fish as light as you can get away with. You won’t catch much using a 1 ounce sinker and 40 lb line. But a small split shot on 4 lb fluorocarbon will get you non-stop bites. The trade off is you’re going to struggle when those pesky kingfish take your bream baits. ? Yee ha!

Burley burley burley!

If you’ve got a burley trail going you would be mad not to have an unweighted bait drifting down your trail. The largest  trevally are often caught this way along with numerous kingfish. We watched some guys doing this from their boat a few weeks ago using a 20 foot pole-rod with a bubble float and hooking heaps of kings. A few of these were rats and definitely didn’t get returned. Don’t get tempted into that lark folks, our small fish are our future fish. If you’re cubing stripeys or pilchards keep the bait the same size as the rest of the burley and you should hook up.

I’ve been a bit slow to get onto using “vibes” but they are quickly becoming my favourite on the secret sandy drop offs hidden everywhere in Sydney Harbour. Working them the same as a regular plastic produces heaps of good size  flat head . And in the deeper water a slow jigging motion can hook kings, jewfish, and almost anything else down there. As with all plastics fish the lightest jig head you can for the conditions. And watch your line for those gently gently soft sneaky annoying takes!


Daily weather reports for the harbour from Willy Weather.

Book now

Don’t miss out on a great day out and book now to avoid disappointment and get out on the harbour for some serious fish-hunting.

If you call or email, mention code: SPRINGBLOG for a $50 discount for any full weekday charter booked for spring 2019 (ends 1 December). That’s a special bonus for getting this far in the blog – but if we get a decent kingy I want it back as a tip ?!