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Sydney Harbour fishing report – harbour firing post COVID lockdown

By 13 October 2021March 22nd, 2023No Comments
Flyboat fishing charter Sydney harbour

Don’s nice King on fly

Sydney Harbour Fishing

With Sydney finally opening the wait is over for some great Sydney Harbour fishing. If you’re  one of the unfortunate millions who haven’t been fishing over the last few months. now’s the time to get onto the harbour.

It’s been a pretty quiet winter on the harbour. The middle harbour kingy rat attack – the hallmark of the last two seasons – never quiet happened, and whilst the squid were big they weren’t there in numbers. But spring has brought an amazing run of huge fish.

Whilst freedom day has come, the rain has kept a lot of people away from the water. But for the diehards who’ve waited 106 days to drop a line, nothing could stop them! Every protected corner and bay has been occupied with dripping wet anglers smiling ear to ear.

The best of the harbour has been blackfish, drummer, grouper and bream that have all fished well.  Although there were some really good kingfish about, getting the bite was challenging with fish seemingly eating only on alternate days – bizarre, but true, I swear. Consistency was impossible. But if you were there at the right time you’ve had a crack at some serious fish.

Beautiful blue Groper

Bait Story

Bait has been crucial with live cuttlefish and fresh caught/live squid being the golden-key. A few fish were caught on cubed pilchards and chicken strips, but the guys catching the most aren’t always using shop bought bait.

Last week saw the water warm up to 19 degrees C which is great to see. The arrival of a new season with the good weather of late has seen the water turn green which has unfortunately slowed down the fishing, and the squid have become very patchy east of the bridge. The big green eyes are moving to deeper water but there are smaller versions closer to the shore – but not the numbers I want to see yet. Even the humble yakka have been slow – but nothing a few weeks won’t change.

Bream and blackfish are still around in big numbers. Just remember to fish close to structure or shore. Our biggest bream have come from rock holes within a meter of the shore in 30cm of water. This is true for drummer as well so keep it in mind next time your heading out.

Bait has been very productive over winter. Coles supermarket has made a killing from me on their extra large green banana prawns for drummer and the $1.30 white bread, perfect for just about every burly situation.

Chicken thigh strips or chunks for bream never disappoints especially on the top of the tide. And my new favourite is red crabs for grouper. Just remember the Sydney Harbour intertidal zone is protected from collecting crabs, so head to the ocean ledges in your search for crabs. Remember “Check your local regulations”.

On the fly

It’s been hot on fly, a traditional harbour winter. The occasional bream from middle harbour kept us going in early winter, but in the last four weeks we’ve been dredging for kings with anything chartreuse coloured, and in their face. Those moments of glory are very precious!

Some monster fish have fallen to the dredging technique with amazing follows and surface bites to report. Sinking lines and heavy weighted fly are essential and really drive efficiency when targeting deepwater kings. Mix up the retrieve because their moods change fast and what worked an hour ago might not produce again. My go-to is a short snappy retrieve. Imagine vertical jigging with a fly rod.

Salmon have been a little late arriving this year and the numbers disappointing so far this year. There’s small school working from Old Mans Hat to North Head and  some fish west of the bridge – but again finding consistency has been almost impossible. Small blue and white clousers have been very good but most important is keeping the fly moving naturally. The small tweaks are fine for when they will eat anything but I’ve found a horizontal push/pull of the fly rod to slow down and speed up a steady retrieve works best – keeping the fly moving consistent and steady is the trick on the tough days.

Need to stock up on gear or get a full outfit? Then get into Compleat Angler in the City or Villawood for the best gear and great all round service.

Tight lines folks, book your Sydney Harbour fishing charter early to avoid disappointing the kids.

Cheers, Stephen.

Call now: 0422709139.


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