by Craig McGill •
This article is dedicated to the non-boaties. Here are a few of my favourite shore-based Sydney Harbour spots for the pescadores de tierra.
This place holds kings hold on the northern end where the reef hits the sand. They are best targeted with live squid.
It’s also a top squid ground over the kelp at either end but watch out for a couple of small bommies that break in more than about 1m of swell.
It’s a great rock fishing spot for kings, tailor and drummer. Middle Head, although an inner Harbor spot, is subject to ocean swells so exercise caution.
The long rock platform at the southern end of the beach offers great shore- and boat-based fishing. There is a little bit of kelp in close but a good cast from the shore will put you onto a clean sand bottom where you will find bream, flatties and even pelagics.
The kelp produces good squid, which means you have a ready bait supply at your feet.
The open water off the beach can fire at times with pelagics when the bait is in and the sand makes for a good flattie drift.
This is a great boat and shore spot. The jetty drops into 40’ of water and produces kings and jewfish as well as all your usual jetty inhabitants. There’s a restricted zone around the navy jetty but the white mooring buoy to the north holds good kings.
The drop-off towards midstream is a renowned night jew spot.
The rocks to the south offer the shore fisho great deep-water access for kings, jew and luderick. In fact an average cast from here will land you in 60’ of water.
It’s a good spot, particularly on the upstream side, but the high commercial traffic makes it hard yakka and possibly dangerous for boats.
You can pick up bream, luderick, flatties, salmon and tailor. On the downstream side is a big kelp bed that’s good for squid.
At times Rushcutters and Double bays accumulate huge numbers of baitfish, attracting lots of pelagics. They include some that you wouldn’t expect this far upstream, like samson and amberjack.
The bottom also fishes well for whiting, jew, bream and flatties.
The southern end of Darling Point is a great spot to bounce some plastic.
Just off here is Clarke Island and some Navy mooring buoys that are generally not in use. This area also attracts huge clouds of bait and with it great all-round fishing.
Kings sit just under the buoys, along with some huge tailor. On the bottom you will get jew, bream and the occasional keeper snapper (legal 30cm).
This is a great sandy-bottom location. The pros used to pound it because of the clean bottom, and this is one spot that is benefiting greatly now that they are gone.
The sand flat and the hole (known as the Blue Hole) in the south-east corner is all great flattie and whiting ground. You can wade the flats at low tide out to the edge of the hole. Watch out for seaplanes landing and taking off.
Parsley Bay jetty offers good bream and flatties in Summer and john dory and trevally in Winter. We have pulled a few jewfish there, too.
Bottle and Glass Point offers good shore access and produces kings, bream, blackfish and squid. It’s all good water in a southerly.
There are good squid at both ends of the beach with lots of little cuttlefish in the southern corner.
If you then take your freshly caught cephalopods to the rocky point at the southern end of the beach you might catch a really big kingfish.
In fact this is Sydney Harbour’s best shore-based access to quality kingfish.
Near Collins Beach is a deep hole. There’s good shore access from the old gasworks and the spot produces good fishing Summer and Winter.
It’s a good retreat in strong winds from the northern quadrant.
You will find kings, salmon, bonito and flathead in Summer and dory, drummer and groper in Winter.
This is one of my favourite Harbour spots and in Winter and Summer it produces a mix of estuary and oceanic fish.
It’s the No 1 samson fish and morwong spot and has produced some great jewies. It was spotty mackerel central when the historical run was on and has some thumping blue groper.
I’ve seen fishos on the shore but I’m not sure how they got there. I would start my inquiries at the old Quarantine Station or NPWS.
An average cast will put you on the spot. The tip of Cannae marks the end of the penguin zone.
This is another of North Harbour’s great spots and will produce pelagics, including samson fish, and is a great Winter fishery. It’s also a good yakka spot.
It fishes well for blackfish and surgeonfish but shore access is difficult.
A similar spot with good shore access can be found on the adjacent point near Fairlight pool. A good cast from here will put your bait onto sand next to reef.
The stretch along the sand from Fairlight Point to Manly Aquarium is great for flatties from the shore.
Next stop is the sandy drop-off up the back of North Harbour near the Davis Marina. This is a great flathead spinning spot and is accessible for boat fishers and waders.
It’s also home to some common arrow squid and is good a back-up spot if you are having trouble locating southern calamari squid.
The first major feature you find heading north of Grotto Point is Washaway Beach. As the name implies, this beach occasionally washes away in a big storm so shore-based fishos can’t always rely on it to be there.
It’s a great general spot and one of the most reliable tailor spots in the Harbour.
It’s often clouded with baitfish in Summer, pushed onto the shore (it’s a shore-dump break) by pelagics. When this happens it can explode with fish. Surface fish will attack from the top and bottom fish like flatties and bream will work them from underneath. It’s great lure fishing at this time and it’s not hard to pick up six different species. Shore access is great – you can fish the beach or the rocks, with the northern corner most productive. Bear in mind that nudists like this beach as well, so be prepared to see lots of naked people!
I hope this article has given you some useful tips on land-based fishing around Sydney. I’ve had some enjoyable fishing experiences in these spots over the years, and I trust you will too.
Craig McGill is an experienced guide in Sydney Harbour, specialising in putting clients onto hard-pulling kingfish. To find more information, pricing, articles and photos, click here.