by Gary Brown
Many of the anglers that I have come across over the years always talk about needing to have a boat to get amongst the fish in Sydney Harbour and to a certain point they are correct. But if you don’t have a boat and you are shore-based bound Sydney Harbour has hundreds of land-based spots you can get a feed of fish from. In this article I am going to let you into five of the places that I have regularly caught fish at in Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River.
This little point off the eastern side of the boat ramp at Manly is worth a short for bream, whiting and flathead
To find out where these spots are you will need to refer to a Sydney street directory.
Manly Point juts out into Manly Cove and is a fairly protected spot from any swell that may come in through the harbour entrance when the seas a big outside. Even though this area is not classes as ocean rocks you will need to take care when fishing from here especially when there are big seas running from the south. The point is a great spot to fish from during the warmer months of the year when the nor-easters are blowing as this spot if fairly protected from these winds. The bottom here is a mixture of sand, boulders and broken shells. Great place to go and do some spinning for Pelagics.
To get there you will need to locate the Esplanade at Manly, turn left into Stuart Street, find a parking spot and walk down to the boat ramp at the end of Craig Avenue. Then it is just a matter of walking around the eastern foreshore to the point.
Try using whole pilchards for the salmon and tailor, strips of mullet, tuna and bonito for the bream, silver trevally and bream. While peeled prawns will catch almost anything that can be caught here. When I fish here I will take a bucket of chicken layer pellets or a bag of bread for berley.
During the summer months you can target whiting, silver trevally, squid, flathead, flounder and bream from here, but to do so you will need a light surf rod of at least 3.6 metres in length. This length rod will allow you to get a descent cast out to avoid the kelp and rocky foreshore and to be able to get to the sandy bottom in about six to seven metres of water. It will also allow you to lift the fish up and over the rocks and cunje that will be at your feet. I have found that the last two hours of the rising tide and the first two hours of the falling tide to produce the best results. This can be a great spot to fish during those north-east blows during the summer months.
Grotto Point Reserve may be a descent walk in, but the rewards can be great
Grotto Point Reserve – Middle Harbour
Grotto Point Reserve is situated in the Sydney Harbour National Park and it has a number of superb swimming spots, bush walking tracks, picnic areas, as well as a great fishing spot at Grotto Point. Not only can you fish here, but you can also see everything from convict-built buildings and military fortifications to aboriginal sites and a heritage listed lighthouse. During the winters months you may even see whales on their annual migration north.
The walk out to Grotto Point is in a magnificent area above the entrance to Middle Harbour and the walk provides plenty of views of Middle Head and Sydney Harbour.
Luderick have been known to frequent this stretch of water during autumn to winter. You can use either a stemmed float or a bobby cork here, but you will need to set the rig fairly shallow as there is not much water coverage here. The falling tide seems to produce more fish. You could use a stemmed float (like the ones uses when targeting luderick), but I would prefer to use a 5cm bobby cork. The line would need to freely run through the centre of the bobby cork with a stopper at the top. The rig below would be a combination of a number 1 or 2 ball sinker, number 12 size swivel, a leader or about 60 to 90cm’s in length and a hook. The stopper above the bobby cork will allow you to adjust the depth of the rig.
A couple of hours either side of the top of the tide would be the preferred time to fish here if you can coincide this with the sunrise or sunset even better and use the ball sinker down onto the hook. If you were use the sinker, swivel and a long leader or about 1 to 1.5 metres long I would fish the run-up tide on the upstream side of the point.
Blues Point Reserve is a very popular spot so you will need to get there early
Blues Point Reserve
Blues Point Reserve is arguably the finest place in Sydney from which to view the harbour, the bridge and the Opera House, and for that reason Blues Point Reserve is arguably the finest place in Sydney to enjoy a picnic while at the same time having a fish. During the summer months many a mulloway, snapper and big dusky flathead have been caught here. You will need to get a descent cast in here to get your rig out pass the kelp and snags. Try using a number five to six ball sinker that slides down onto the bait or the paternoster rig.
During the autumn to winter months you will be in with a good chance of catching luderick on cabbage or weed. I would suggest that you use a mixture of bread, sand and chopped up weed and cabbage for berley for the luderick. One of those stemmed floats will do the trick, no need to use a bobby cork here. Whole pilchards or garfish that have been rigged onto a set of 5/0 ganged hooks. Five and seven inch soft plastics worked slowly along the bottom could get you into a mulloway or two.
If you are fishing on the eastern side of Blues Point I would suggest that you fish the run-out tide in the afternoon and if you are going to fish the run-in tide you would be better off going to western side of the point in the morning. This will allow you to use the current, along with your casting ability to get the rig out onto a sandy patch, while not have the sun shine directly into your face.
Manly Dam is worth a shot in the early parts of the morning
Manly Dam - Manly
Whether you want to mountain bike, go water skiing or spend quality time with family friends by the water, the Manly Warringah War Memorial Park (Manly Dam) has something for everyone. Gates are currently open from 7am-8.30pm. Manly Dam is popular with novice fishers. Section 4 near the wetlands is thought to be the best fishing spot. The dam is stocked regularly with Australian bass; however other species that may be caught are silver perch, carp and redfin.
Fishing with surface lures can be one of the most exciting ways of catching bass. There's little to compare with the sound of a strike with the feel of your line going tight a moment later. It’s definitely my favourite form of bass fishing.
Clarkes Point is a great place to take the family