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Flyboat fishing charters Sydney harbour

Great day with John

Sydney Harbour Fishing Report

Its been another great couple of weeks on Sydney Harbour.

The big kings seem to have gone offshore, but that doesn’t mean the action has stopped. Massive schools of bait are being harassed by super-sized salmon, along with bonito, frigate mackerel and finally hordes of hard fighting rat-kings.
Water temperatures are high which will liven up the end of season fishing. Surface temperature is 27 in Middle Harbour and a solid 25 in the main harbour. The much cooler bottom water creates a handy thermocline. The smaller fish can be seen in shallow water and the big fish in the deep, hammering up to the surface to grab a feed. A few strong tides on the full moon will help mix this water up and should help fishing conditions improve even more. Don’t be surprised by catches of warmer water species.
I’ve previously said  the lack of rat kings in the harbour was a worry. Sure there were reports of large schools offshore, around the Cliffs and Long Reef, but inside the harbour we hadn’t caught an undersized rat since last summer. But finally they’ve returned – following the bait like night follows day. They’re everywhere,  crowding the markers and chasing the bait schools. These little marauders are awesome on fly or light spin setups and have brought a smile to many a face in the last couple of weeks. But as a sports fish we need to be cautious how we handle them and the length of time we fight them so they can be safely released and allowed to grow to there full potential. Do not keep undersize kingies. Large fines apply.
Flyboat fishing charters Sydney harbour

Monster flatty on fly

On The Fly

The fly fishers have been having a ball. Schools of bait are being absolutely smashed against Sydney Harbours most iconic backdrops. Rat kings, salmon, bonito and frigates. All of these will test your 7 and 8 weight rigs to the limit. Flash-less surf candies are ideal but I’ve seen a huge range of fly’s monstered over the last week, everything from classic clousers, to Crazy Charlies, gummy minnows, and brush flies of assorted colours. The key to success has been getting the fly right in front of the fish.
And don’t be afraid to to mix up retrieves and sometimes just cast it and let it sit there, like a smashed bait fish waiting to be mopped up – especially for the tuna-like² varieties. Long smooth constant movement strips are a killer but don’t be surprised if a well placed cast is eaten as soon as it hits the water – sometimes you’d swear the fly hasn’t even landed!
When predators are harrassing bait balls, those balls love to seek protection under your boat and this can make catching the predators a major challenge. So use your maximum casting distance to keep the bait away, for the best chance of success. Hot tip for the week is to cast at anything floating – even a hat in the water. Find a school and throw out something that floats to act as a FAD. A.small buoy or fender with a couple of metres of weighted rope will do the trick. This will help keep the bait ball from dispersing and give you more casts – to get that fish of the week! Just remember to pick up your FAD when finished because there’s enough litter out there already.
Tippet size is pretty crucial especially when it gets busy, with lighter always being better. I find 12lb a great all rounder but be prepared to drop it to 6 lb and loosen your drag on a tough day.
Flyboat fishing charters Sydney harbour

Luring them in.

White slugos, jerk shads, and hard body minnows are killing it right now. Throw them at structure and it won’t be long before you hook up. As always vary your retrieve and you will find what works. The old classic “wind fast with a split second stop” is as basic as it gets and works a treat. Its not just the pelagics going nuts. So too are the bottom dwellers with large flathead, bream and even better flounder being taken from all the sandy drop offs. Lure or pillie cubes are killing it but if you’re struggling don’t be afraid to burly up and fish as light as possible. There are still heaps of trevally around and when the rats kings come by you will have plenty of fun on the light gear but hold on extra tight. The bonito will have you doing circles around the boat.
On a final note, with all the activity out there right now please be considerate of fellow anglers. Try to anticipate school movements and if you see a surface bust up don’t drive head on into it, not only will you drive the school down but you might cop a mouth full of abuse from a frustrated fisho. Approach slowly from up wind and stop well before the school. Let the wind blow you down into casting range and you will have a better chance of a hook up. Leave your motor ticking over because they’re not spooked by constant noise but will be by the on/off of an outboard within the bust-ups. There are plenty of bait balls so don’t overcrowd one area. You will be surprised if you  look around you just may find one all to yourself. And my last super hint of the day follow the terns. They’re a lot wiser than seagulls and will get you onto a bust up faster than following the crowds.

Tackle tip

I’ve been getting great service from Compleat Angler Sydney.

My go-to bait rig right now is a 12 lb leader, size 4 bait, holder, and a BB size running sinker.

Snowy Mountains

I had a great break in the snowies after Xmas. Shout out to the team at Buckenderra camp site. Awesome facilities. We fished the Eucumbene River, Three Mile Dam, and Lake Eucumbene in between all the fun family stuff. The lake was rising the whole time we were there and the lake midge were unbelievably thick in the evening. Small midge patterns were the best fly, but a small Wooly Bugger with a tungsten head seemed to mimic the tadpoles.

Lake Eucumbene brown.

Book now

Happy fishing everyone! And if you want a day out on the harbour give me a call right now on 0422 709139. Bookings open for February and March, with a few slots left for January.
Tight lines, Stephen.
Flyboat fishing charters Sydney harbour