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March/April on the Harbour


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I should probably begin by apologising for my habit of posting a report every few weeks rather than after every session, but I thought for the benefit of the readers summing up a few weeks action would be more interesting than "went fishing...caught a fish...the end."

Anyway, throughout Late Feb, March and early April I've been in Sydney a lot and fished the harbour super hard. I've probably has at least a dozen sessions, prob more, over that period, and only come home without a king the last 3 times. (I blame the late season...)

Squid were easy, albeit tiny, earlier in the summer, after the huge rains we had a month or so ago they almost disappeared with the dirty, chocolaty, fresh water in the harbour, but I found that weighting my jigs (some stores sell 5g "egi" weights that clip onto the eyelet of the jig) upping to size 2 or 2.5  working them super deep started to bring big, frequent calamari. Standard spots around Middle Head and Middle/North harbour have worked fine, but often taken some persistence. Ive seen very competent charter operators leave with no squid from a few locations so its certainly not been super easy. 

Highlight was boating a 31cm hood calamari at middle head a week or so ago, as big as I've ever caught in tassie. Needed my king/salmon net to get it in the boat. Much ink.

Anyway with fish..throughout March fish were pretty easy...on the main, 'well known' lower harbour marks like the wedding cakes, drums, old mans hat, etc, if one could see kings on the sounder, and get some Squid past the pickers one could generally catch a decent kingy, or two/three. Over March and early April I caught 15 kings between high 40s and 99. 

The problem has been hoards and hoards of jackets, particularly some big and aggressive fan-bellied ones, at all the main marks. Nothing is more depressing than waking up at 3am and spending hours upon hours catching ten green-eye calamari, only to loose them all to leatherjackets in half an hour or so. I never normally use yakkas for liveies, but to avoid the pickers Ive been forces to use them the last few weeks and they've been around the normal middle harbour locations pretty readily. The jackets and pinky snapper tend not to be interested din them thus they've stayed down long enough for the kings to find them

Highlght for the month was a harbour PB of 99cm over in the eastern suburbs, taken in only 7m of water. Fish was gut hooked, and whilst it should have absolutely bricked me on the reef i felt it was an easier fight then it could have been...? I'm starting to see a pattern where gut-hooked fish come too the boat a lot easier than properly jaw-hooked fish...Im assuming just because pulling on their insides hurts them a ****load whereas in the jaw/mouth its all force and the fight like bastards. Anyway was still a challenging ten minutes to get it boated. 

About 2 weeks ago things were really hot for a few days, had  double hookup and broke a rod solo at the drums at Chowder Bay/Clifton on what I's guess were very, very solid hoods. caught a few calamari in the high 20s (mantle) and their guts/inksacs make insane baits when nothing else would work, as soon as that inc hits the water things seem to just fire. The navy have moved their exclusion zone buoys back being the big drum off the wharf there which has been fantastic for fishing, as its a sick mark but normally inaccessible. 

Interestingly, the last two days I've been getting yakkas at the cammeray wreck (its no secret, I saw all 3 harbour charter companies rafted up there baiting up a few weeks ago) and found the place swarming with kings. Kings smashing my burley, kings eating yakkas off my yakka handline, even (believe this on not I'm telling you its true) kings smashing bread on my size 12 sabiki rig on my 6lb 1-3kg 1000 squid/yakka outfit. That sounds made up, but I'm telling you it happened. Sometimes i think the kings were actually hitting the yakkas the second they became hooked and started to struggle, but on some occasions they were just smashing bread and pilli off the sabiki flies. Obviously was  pretty short argument on a $2 sabiki rig. stripped all six hooks of three of four rigs.

Interestingly the fish weren't that interested in lives or real baits, we caught 2 on yakkas and one on live squid over several sessions but given the volume of fish felt disappointed we didn't boat dozens. I;m sure there'll be better fisherman that I out there doing it properly soon. 

Watching those sessions I began to realise just how smart those fish are...i stripped a whole live squid for burley, and stuck an unweight hook in one of 30 chunks. Tossed the lot in and saw a bunch of solid kings clean up the entire lot except the one hooked bait...watched it drift down then swam off. Not dumb. Might be time to downsize leader, as Krispy often suggests. I've been solidly bricked on 50lb and 80b a lot this year, but this last week kings would smash the baits on my yakka rigs of 6lb, 8lb etc and not even look at the bait on my actual kingfish tackle. food for thought. 

Anyway winter is coming I reckon, fish have been on the sounder the last few days but the bite has definitely slowed since, say, last weekend. Harbour temps are a lot lower than a month ago. 

Hope everyone else is having a good time.







Edited by ACJ
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Looks like you've had some great fishing !! 

Ive been trying to get more consistent with the kings using some of the spots and technique you've talked about ,but with much less impressive results . Haven't  caught a keeper this season  ? . It's encouraging to see you are putting it together . 

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Enjoyed your report of the past few months fishing ACJ. Great pictures too. It's a good way to present a combined number of trips into the one thread. Creates a vivid account of how fishing changes over a particular time frame, too. Cheers, BN

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On 21 April 2017 at 9:30 AM, Archillies said:

Awesome work! Do you mind me asking where the cammeray wreck is? 

1.Cammeray Wreck: 
S33 48.750
E 15114.093

Little bit of burley should have plenty of yakkas around. Hope this helps!

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Great report mate (think i've seen you off quarantine) !! I'm still yet to find some decent and consistent squid spots. I have a few on Brisbane waters - but none in Sydney harbour (hint hint anyone :) ...)

In regards to dropping livies around lots of bait - I cut a few of the tail fins off to make the yakka swim different to the school. They make more vibrations and are more noticeable - so maybe give that a whirl.

I've also been told there's some fluro stuff you can get that you paint or dip the yakka's tail in that makes them stand out - i'll try and get the name of it.

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