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Weekend report - Sydney Harbour


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Hi Fishraiders,

Been a member on here for a while and occasionally jump on, but found I have been looking a bit more regularly now so thought I should put a report in.

I have an 15ft half cabin with 50hp on the back and try to get out on the harbour when I can. Boat name is 'Amber' so feel free to say hello.


Had a slot booked (with the wife) to go out on the weekend but hadn't picked a day - something came up on Sunday so decided to go Saturday.

Took the eldest two sons with me (18 and 12) and we launched from woolwich about 6:30am. Few issues with the boat when we took off so took a while of stuffing around before we actually got anywhere. We usually chase squid for a while and then tow them around for kingfish at the various haunts but decided to chase a few bust ups we saw on the way out. Fish were coming up very occasionally and moving very fast so it was hard to get ahead of them and into any decent bust ups and when we did they weren't very interested in the variety we threw at them - couple of hook ups but one pulled the hooks quickly and the other snapped the hook on a jighead. Did manage to see it though and it was a reasonable bonito which I was happy about as they are great fun.

Eventually we decided to find somewhere to throw some baits in. We had some frozen slimies and squid heads from our last outing so we went over to inside north head and then sounded back towards Manly looking for interesting marks. Didn't find a lot so did a few drifts and picked up a couple of nice flathead (50cm dusky and 42cm bluespot)

Then found a bait school with some healthy marks under it so we decided to anchor over it. We ended up staying on this spot for hours as it just kept producing. There was a constant stream of under size snapper which kept everyone busy, but we also pulled a couple more small flathead out. The sounder stayed busy most of the time we were there but seemed to change the fish that were coming through. Sometime we would all be hooking up to tailors, then we would get smashed by good sized Australian salmon. My eldest son hooked up to a 55cm Bonito which had him working very hard on 8lb(and unfortunately cracked his light rod). An unweighted squid head got brutally smashed on the bigger rod and I gave it to the 12 yo and watched him battle with a nice little rat kingie (55cm). Caught lots of salmon that were really fighting hard and great fun - particularly on the lighter rods. I then hooked up to another bonito, probably about 40cm and it was chased to the boat by a few kingfish, not huge ones but I left the bonito in the water whilst the kids dropped some metal jigs in. The 12yo hooked onto one on his 8lb outfit and had a ball for the next few minutes trying to get it in. He did and it was also about 55cm but he had a ball with the rod being pulled into the water for half the fight.

Decided it was time to head back, but we chased a few school bust up on the way back and picked out some nice tailor - some of them close to 50cm.

Kept a couple of flathead and the bonito's for sushimi and BBQ dinner and also a few tailor to put in the smoker. Great day and exciting to be in a really active harbour. Can't wait to get out again (maybe next weekend)



ps: didn't take many photos but here is one with the young bloke and his kingfish (that went back)





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Welcome to posting on here Darren. What a great report to be able to open your account with. Numerous species, non stop action and food for the table. Plenty of action and you all got in on the act too. Sydney Harbour certainly is an absolute gem of a place when it comes to beauty AND fishing quality.

Cheers, bn

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Great report. Always a lot of fun to put the kids onto a decent fish.
Interesting to hear that you smoke the Tailor. I have a smoker and would be interested to understand how you smoke them, what brine you use, do you do whole fish or just fillets? I have smoked my own trout which come out really well but never tried smoking a Tailor. 

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Thanks for the responses all. Great day and hope to replicate this weekend if things line up.

@GordoRetiredI am still trying different smoking methods to see what works, but Tailor seem to go pretty well. I used fillets. Just used a water, brown sugar, salt brine this time with ratio about 4cup water : 1 cup sugar : 3/4 cup salt. They actually turned out a bit salty but I think that was due to poor rinsing rather than too much salt. I went with a longer smoke this time - a couple of hours at 70 degrees and then a bit over an hour at 90-100 degrees. Quite an intense flavour done for that long so you wouldn't have a meal of them like that but nice on crackers etc. I think next time I will just go with a dry brine (no water) and try a bit of cracked pepper as well.


Edited by darrenmason
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Great report Darren (and Amber) - thanks for sharing . Our Harbour has to be one of the best in the world and loaded with clean quality fish. Nothing better than sharing it with the family - your boys have started on a life long past time enjoying Gods creation and creatures (that taste great) that will serve them well for life.

I’ll look out to say gooday when you’re out.

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