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Sydney Harbour fishing report

Read to the end for our winter special!

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The Flyboat

Welcome to this Sydney Harbour fishing report. It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve been able to give a solid report, but as life returns to some resemblance of normal, the harbour is also settling into its typical winter rhythm.  On the surface thing don’t look too great. The surface action has gone and birds are back in the city scavenging from returning workers. But beneath the mirrored surface the harbour is alive with action.  Kingfish are around in good numbers; bream are schooling up before their spawning migration crowding the rocks in the outer harbour; flathead head have been non stop if you’re fishing the right spots; and the trusty blackfish is ever so dominant on rocky shores and around structure.

An iconic fish with an icon in the background.

Kingfish on fly – Sydney Harbour. 

The winter chartreuse bomber and sink-like-a-rock fly lines are back!! And right now I’m pretty happy about that! We had a great time chasing kingfish in the deep this week, although there has been sporadic surface action from schools of bigger fish. It’s definitely been easier to find the rats – although watch out for the occasional beast swimming with them. The other option is sitting it out  waiting for an ever elusive school to turn up. I’m all about catching so I really don’t like to discriminate between rat and hoodlum. They’re all fantastic!

Fish have been around in all tides but in Middle harbour the run in seems to be producing the best bite. But I’ve got plenty at other times so really the best time is when ever you can get out! Make sure you have a fast sinking line and heavy fly similar to Barra-bunny, or Donny Brazil in chartreuse. Throw it out let it sink, jig the fly back slowly and you’re in with a good chance. I generally fish with 20 lb fluorocarbon . And it’s embarrassing to say but I’ve been smoked more times than Bob Marley so it probably wouldn’t probably wouldn’t hurt to fish either 30 or 40 lb leader. But I’m a slow learner and like to give them a sporting chance!

Bait fishing on Sydney Harbour:

The squid seemed to have returned from their holidays this week with many frustrated anglers finally able to get good numbers and get into some real fishing. As usual they are best for kingfish and definitely for the bigger models. But small yakkas in the right place at the right time are also just as effective . Find the squid by drifting in  the deeper water with a paternoster rig . Check out YouTube for the how to tie a paternoster but the technique is deadly effective. Or check out Paul on rigging a drop shot.

This week’s useless factoid: Pater Noster is the Lord’s Prayer….

Where to go fishing on Sydney Harbour:

Without giving away every spot I know I will say that’s there’s really no secrets anymore on Sydney Harbour. More about timing but the best way to find a new kingfish spot is to check out a Sydney Harbour maritime chart (this one is a guide). Because all those little wrecks that are marked have the potential to hold bait which means fish (at the right time). Nearly all known spots are shown on charts but there are plenty more to explore.

blackfish on fly

Blackfish like this go like a steam train on fly gear.

Winter special blackfish on fly

We are so spoilt in Sydney that some of us (not all) have forgotten the power house that are blackfish. Breakout your 5 and 6 wt rods, floating line, indicator if you’re like me a few 30 second weed flies and your all ready to catch a fish or ten.

Personally I could fish black fish all day and not get bored, something about watching your indicator and responding to its ups and downs. And of course the essence of all flyfishing the feel of that first fin movement when the fish realises it’s hooked! Yes it’s not a snag!

I’ll be shot down in flames for saying this. But they’re really not that hard to catch and probably easiest on fly because you don’t have to tie on new weed every 5 seconds. Depending on how how you like to fish for them, they will either be schooled up behind whitewater on rocky shores or headlands or they will be mooching  in weed bed of various depths – but more likely shallow water on the high tides. If you do find a promising area you can burley up by making a mix of sand and weed. You don’t need much but it will bring in the fish to feed all over the weed bed.

I like to fish for them from the shore of  North Harbour so the technique described is what works for me there. They’re easy to find just take a walk along any area where rock and sand meet. If there’s weed around they won’t be far away. You will know they’re feeding when you see flashes of silver as they do their thing in the weed beds

Until recently I fished 4-6 lb tippet but after losing too many fish to oyster encrusted ledges I’ve upgraded to 10 lb. I can say with some confidence I haven’t noticed a difference in catch rate. Leader length hasn’t been too critical either, more dependant on the depth you’re fishing – but 10-11 feet is more than enough. I like to use one small split shot about 15 cm from the fly but you could also use a weighted fly with an unweighted fly trailing off it. As for indicators that’s up the the anglers discretion. I know plenty of anglers who swear by just staying in touch with the fly, they will feel the bite and hook up with success  but I just love having something to watch. Be sure to set your depth so the fly is sitting about 30 cm above weed beds. If you’re fishing rock platform wash use a little extra split shot to get the fly down fast before it’s swept away.

When the indicator does go down I like to wait up to 10 seconds before lifting the rod tip. Generally they will roll about on the hook up before making random runs to find cover and escape but be prepared because they have a knack of coming to life just when you think you have them.

They really are fun to catch and a great sustainable way to bring home a feed if you look after them properly.

There are some large schools of trevally and other reef species are about at the moment so it’s never been a better time to go fishing. We are offering special post Covid deals so get in touch to book your next day on the water.

Keep coming back for your monthly Sydney Harbour fishing report.