Rat Kings and Surface Bream

Well being boatless now, I promised that I would call in all the favours from my mates who owe me a ride or two or in some cases more. My landbased fishing trips have increased, and I’m very partial to a relaxing afternoon on the Blackfish, but what I’ve really been hankering for is to bend a rod on the Kingfish that have apparently been around in plague proportions terrorising the huge bait balls in Sydney Harbour the last month or so.

I’ve seen photo after photo of balled up bait and pelagics galore. Kings caught on fly, Kings caught on stickbaits, jigs and plastics and all the trips that I’ve had planned, have somehow come unstuck. Come to the rescue Paul. Ok, Paul doesn’t owe me any rides, but with a new boat himself that hadn’t been wet yet, he was hankering for a day on the Harbour too.


Result? Bait galore in the Harbour, but nothing but rat Kings. We spent the morning casting sinking stickbaits and plastics around the markers – The Daiwa Overthere Skipping and Keitech 5” Shad impact were my choice, and despite the size of the fish, I must say the morning was fun!


It started under a blanket of thick fog that burnt off to reveal a sensational morning.


The Overthere Skipping cast an absolute mile beyond the markers, and is a versatile lure, allowing you to work it across the surface, or let it sink and be retrieved subsurface through the strike zone. The Keitech Shad Impact on the other hand is amazingly lifelike and the action from the tail is surprising, and certainly exceeds your expectations.


The wonderful thing about fishing on Sydney Harbour is the number of fishing options available. Once we had enough of the “heavy” gear, we pulled out the light tackle and what else to do, but go and chase a few Bream on surface.


What surprised me the most was the water temperature that was still hovering around 22.5 degrees. So despite the big fresh that the system copped on Friday and Saturday and the chocolate colour of the water in the Lane Cove River, the water temps remained conducive to a topwater bite that was remarkably pretty hot, being this late in the season.


Paul was catching them at almost a fish a cast for a while there on the OSP Bent Minnow with his unique retrieve. You see, he rarely fishes this lure as a true surface lure, instead opting to drag the lure just sub surface most of the time (similar to a wake bait) to entice the bite – and you know what? It worked!


I’ve never seen the Bent Minnow fished like this. I’ve used the subsurface technique before with this lure when I’ve had a hesitant fish tailing the lure watchfully. Dragging the lure under momentarily often can convert a “watcher” into an “eater”, but fishing the lure subsurface all the time was new to me. Just goes to show, you can learn something from everyone you fish with.


It took me a while to get my groove back, but once I did, I was happy as a pig in mud, catching fish on weedless rigged plastics, surface and crankbaits. There were no river monsters in there, but when you’re surface fishing, it never seems to matter.





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