Sydney, as one of the world's busiest international travel destinations needs no introduction. But what few visitors realise is that this beautiful harbour front city also boasts superb estuary and offshore fishing.
Summer to autumn in Sydney is offshore game fishing season. The deep blue water at the continental shelf is 25 nm east of the mainland, producing blue, black and striped marlin, mahi-mahi, yellowfin tuna and wahoo. Places such as “The Peak” and “Browns Mountain” are legendary for big fish.
The prevailing summer North Easterly push the welcome warm currents towards the coast, but can also really get up and blow at times - so fishing “The Shelf” is best done in a reliable boat of about 7m or more in length.
Closer inshore, the rugged high sandstone cliffs and headlands provide good deepwater fishing for kingfish and other smaller pelagics. Hot spots include “The Colours” just to the south of Sydney Heads, “Newport Reef” to the north and “Wedding Cake Island” to the south.
During the cooler months North Head and South Head often hold huge schools of australian salmon (kahawai). These schools can be active for hours when the tides are running. The surface action attracts large numbers of boats, with fly anglers being the most successful on these wonderful sport fish.
Mid-winter to spring an early morning session on Sydney Harbour will deliver a spectacular sunrise over bustling surface schools of kahawai sometimes a hundred or more meters wide - hungry fish shoulder-to-shoulder. They pull hard and jump repeatedly.
Two hours and half-a dozen fish later you can pull up alongside the coffee boat to enjoy a steaming cuppuccino while taking in the sites of this splendid city. Then head back to the boat ramp and be at work, maybe just a little late, but with a much bigger smile than usual.
Inside Sydney Harbour is surprisingly good. Numerous rocky points and bays provide great ambush spots for pelagics - when conditions are right for the baitfish populations to build up, the surface action can be hectic. The key to finding fish is to stay on the move, watching for birds and surface disurbances, visiting all the ambush spots repeatedly as the tides go through their cycles.
Shore based fishing is possible from hundreds of spots around the foreshore - although flyfishing these spots is less productive because the target pelagics are constantly on the move. A boat or kayak is a far better solution for swoffing Sydney Harbour.
There is a specialist saltwater fishing guide operating on Sydney Harbour. A number of charter vessels operate out of Sydney Harbour, as well as Pittwater/Broken Bay to the north and Botany Bay in the south, which can all access the magnificent Sydney offshore action.