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Hawkesbury help! - Brooklyn


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G'day everyone!,

My first post on here just wanted to ask for some advice. In a couple of weeks some mates and I are hiring the 'skinny' from Hawkesbury Afloat from 8 am to 12 noon  it only has a little 9 hp motor (see details below) so we can't venture too far from Brooklyn. Any help is greatly appreciated as it has been a long time since wetting a line. I bought 3-5kg 6'6 Shimano Catana and a 2500 size reel with 8lb braid.

Main questions are where to fish I grew up in Newcastle and have never fished the area so not sure of any spots.

Also I'm thinking of targeting Bream, Flathead and Tailor or anything that will give me some fun. I'm not sure what to use softplastics/bait/lures. If you could suggest a proven bait or soft plastics setup I would be very grateful!

Thanks in advance 

PS: I'm happy to receive a PM if you don't want to publicise any advice.


"Skinny" - 19ft (5.9m) twin aluminium hull

"Skinny"  recently had a total refurbishment and is now ready to hire.

  • 1 x 9.9hp (4 stroke) Yamaha outboard with forward steering
  • Full sun cover and  cushioned seating
  • Flat carpeted floor  and good size esky
  • Fishing licence for 4 people included
  • There is NO BBQ on this boat. Bring along salad and a roasted chicken - a lot easier than a BBQ.
  • Maximum persons permitted on Skinny is 6.
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Portugese Beach for pelagic swim bye. Red channel marker on eastern side near coreal bay has a reef yoy can try. Mouth of Pittwater drifting for flounder and flathead. Careel bay moorings for king but I've never really succeded with this. Scottland island for wrecks and smaller kings. Commercial fishos (in my opinion) have reduced the productivity of hawksberry but still a great day out. Have a squid jig out too.

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Hi Gigs,

I'll have a go at giving you some answers and perhaps some of the more local anglers can chip in. Your post reminds me of my very first trips to the Hawkesbury as a 9yo with my dad hiring single cylinder diesel driven wooden "put put" boats from Brooklyn.

Since you're only planning to fish the 4hrs between 8-Noon... realistically you have missed the typical dawn fishing peak and now your biggest obstacle will be distance and the speed of "skinny" to try and find some viable spots. 

I suggest the that you study some maps - even google maps to get a sense of the general layout of the river near your boat pickup, and the distances of surrounding structures and features from the H/Afloat pickup.  Perhaps also call H/Afloat and ask them about "skinny's" realistic cruising speed so that you get a sense of how long it will take to get to one of those features and hence how much time you have to allow for travel there and back. They will be familiar with the river landmarks and be able to tell you how long it would take skinny to get there.

Here is a quick google maps view of where H/Afloat is located. To get into the river, you have to get around the top of Long Island and head toward the road bridge.


You can see from my snap above that its about 1km to the road bridge ( and at least another 0.5km to the northern pylons which have a hole and hold good fish - but in my experience this is a night spot - I have not heard of good catches during the day). ...and if fishing here you should  be anchored so the tide will carry your baits towards the bridge. 

Generally I wouldn't recommend you try and fish around what looks like a little island under the letters "EY" of Mooney ... this area is a very shallow mud flat - but it really depends on what the tides are doing, what the lighting is like and what your level of experience is with throwing softplastics around mudflats for flathead. Also you don't want to run "skinny" aground.

Turning left under the road bridge and heading further up river another 2-3km across from Milsons island there is an area called the "Vines" - this is a known spot for bream / flathead etc. Its sheltered in a Northerly wind and can be pleasant.

Turning right, away from the road bridge, you start to head down stream and 2-3km down you will see another bridge and set of pylons - this is the rail bridge. Again there are holes on both sides of the northern pylons. 

Another 2km and you will be around Dangar Island - the locals have reported good fishing along the channel that runs between Dangar and the SE headland ("Wobbly") where there are 16m deep holes - I am not sure how they fish late morning though as boat traffic will be high(er)! If you keep going  another 4km down stream you get to Juno Pt or across from it Gunyah Pt and these spots are also known good fishing spots especially on a run out tides. Now you are 9-10km away from your launch point, and if skinny can cruise at 10km/h its going to take you 1hr to get here, at least 1hr to get back (depending on wind and tides) so that leaves you a 2hr fishing window.

My second suggestions is that you study the tide charts for the day you plan to fish to help you decide if you will fish the upper or lower stretches.... given the 4hr window you have,  the ideal would be that you are fishing both ends of a tide changeover, and that you are travelling with the tide on the way to the spot and on the way back. Perhaps book your trip based on the day the tides work in your favour in that 8-12 period. 

Best of Luck!



PS - in the old days, the folks hiring boats were prepared to get one ready for 6am pickup if asked.... I think your fishing prospects would be a lot better if you were fishing the 6-10am period.


Edited by zmk1962
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If you've only got such a short window, and a bit rusty on the fishing skills, i would head to the south eastern corner of Dangar Island. There you have the options of anchoring or drifting in shallows and some deeper channels. That way you not trying to cover too much ground and wasting time travelling around to different spots. There you can choose several different drifts or anchor spots depending on what the current and wind is doing. 

You'll  probably find HA won't let you anchor near the bridge. And the Vines can get snaggy and plagued with catfish if you dont know exactly where to anchor. I agree with Zoran about the flats around Spectacle Island, can be shallow at low tide. 

As Zoran said, you really want to check the tides for the area before you go. The Willy Weather app gives you tide times for Dangar Island, but bear in mind that the current can still run for awhile after the high or low tide level has reached. In the Hawkesbury at that area it can be 1.5 to 2 hrs delay. What day are you going?

For bait there, cant beat the Hawkesbury Prawns for bream and flathead. I try many other baits but just keep going back to them because they work. My brother-in-law picked up an 83cm jewfish on a prawn in that area. At risk of telling you something you already know, youtube how to rig a whole prawn - many casual fishos do it wrong and restrict their catch. 

Take a good range of sinkers too, you'll be surprised at the amount of lead you can need to keep the bait on the ground there when the current is flowing. But always go as light as you can. 

In that area ive caught bream, flathead, flounder, jewfish, tailor, snapper and even squid. And its a great spot for bluee swimmers if you've got a few witches hat traps.

Hope that helps. Any questions, just ask. 


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