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Four fish for four seasons

by Gary Brown on 1 Jan 2013
This kingfish was caught by the author after lobbing a live yellowtail near a channel marker Gary Brown
I can’t remember how many times I have been asked, 'Which type of fishing do I like the most?' Most of the questions I get I can answer, but this one would have to be the hardest, as I like any type of fishing that I do, and because of this I fish year round. In this article I am going to try and give you a small snapshot of four of the types of fishing I will do in a year.

Kingfish / Live Bait / Summer to Autumn During the summer to autumn months in Sydney many anglers think that all you need to do when live baiting for yellowtail kingfish is pin a 6/0 circle hook into a yakka or squid, then drop it over the side to the bottom with a rather large sinker, put the rod into a rod holder and then forget about it. That is until you hear the line scream from the reel as the rod is doubling over from the strain of the kingfish after it swallowed the live bait and is heading for that reef or structure to bust you off.

What I have found over the years is that you need to constantly keep one eye on the rod while at the same time you could be fishing for bream or trevally. What you are looking for is any small movement in the tip of the rod and if this happens you should take the rod out of the holder and as soon as the kingfish takes off you should strike. The reason that I prefer to do it this way, is that kingfish need to swallow their prey whole and it is at this time when the whole bait and the 6/0 circle hook are in its mouth you have a much better chance of getting a hook up.


Yellowfin Bream / Bait / Summer and Autumn Even though bream can be caught year round in the Sydney area I have found that from mid December through to the end of May tends to be when the bream are around more off the beaches, rocks and the bays in Sydney. Maybe this is because more anglers tend fish for them at this time of the year or they have started to move up and down the coast looking for somewhere to either take up residence or to start breeding. Whatever it is this I have found that this period of time is extremely productive.

There are two main rigs that I use: the ball sinker that runs down onto the top of the bait, and a ball sinker down onto a swivel with a one to two metre leader.

Most of my bait fishing in the estuaries is out of a boat and when it comes to chasing bream while at anchor and fishing by myself I will always have three to four rods out. They are all thread lines spooled with six kilo mainline and three kilo fluorocarbon leaders. It doesn’t matter whether you use outfits that are of the bait runner or bait feeder style or not, but what does matter is how you use them. Firstly once you set the pressure of the drag, don’t keep on changing it and secondly once you have cast out set the rod in the rod holder and leave it until you get a run. It is then just a matter of either tripping the bail arm back over or turn the handle of the reel. The circle hooks that you are using will do the rest and hook the fish.

Dusky Flathead / Plastics / Minnows / Year Round Now if you think back to the last few times that you have had chasing dusky flathead with soft plastics and the wind came up to a point where it made it very hard or near impossible to keep that plastic on the bottom while drifting. This is when a sea anchor will come into its own. A sea anchor is like a parachute, which in turn is dragged through the water to slow your drift down. If you want to improve your flathead fishing it is a must that every boating angler who drifts for flathead must have one of these in their boats and if you have never used one before you will be totally amazed at how much it does slow down your drift.

Now the trick to using a sea anchor is you will need to cast the weighted plastic towards where you are drifting, not from where you have just drifted. You then allow it to sink to the bottom and then retrieve it in a jerking motion, allowing it to sit on the bottom a few seconds before each retrieve. I have been using a sea anchor for around twenty years and I wouldn’t be in the boat without it.


Australian Salmon / Minnows / Winter Through to Summer In our neck of the woods spring usually heralds the start of those large schools of surface fish like salmon that move up and down the coast. These fish will usually patrol current lines, the edge of rock washes, drop-offs, bomboras, reefs, beaches and bays. A good indication that salmon are about is when you see those small black-headed terns start to hover just above the water waiting for the Australian salmon to push the baits schools to the top. Once the salmon have balled the baitfish up against the surface the feeding frenzy will start. This can also be indicated when sea gulls are doing the same thing.


While you are waiting for this surface action to happen, you should keep yourself active by trolling around some of those structures that I mentioned earlier. If I am trolling with Rapalla CD 7’s, 9’s and 11’s I will troll at up to seven knots.

When trolling I will usually have two rods out the back. The port side lure will be about twenty to twenty five metres back and the starboard side lure will be placed at about thirty-five metres back. It is a good idea to have one lure that dives slightly deeper than the other.

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