Gary Brown

Fishing Author And Sponsored Angler

Gary Brown is a Sydney-based fishing author and sponsored angler. He’s authored the books Sydney and Hawkesbury Fishing Atlas, NSW South Coast Fishing Atlas, Rock and Beach Fishing and “How To Catch Australia’s Favourite Saltwater Fish”. He also writes for Kaydo Fishing World, Visit The Shire and has been published in NSW Fishing Monthly for almost 25 years without missing a single month. When he’s not writing, Gary speaks regularly at fishing events and tackle stores.

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Gary’s Botany Bay Winter Fishing Spot #1: Cooks River

  • At the northern end of Botany Bay near the airport is a small river system with rock walls on both sides of the mouth that are easily accessed from nearby car parks and can accommodate small numbers of anglers. In winter there tend to be less anglers competing for a space.
  • Fishing from pre-dawn until the sun gets up a bit higher will produce plenty of tailor and the occasional salmon. Work your way along the wall fanning out casts to cover as much water as you can. It’s also important to let the lure sink to various depths to work the entire water column both horizontally and vertically. Work the lures briskly, so they’re not skimming the surface but are moving at reasonable speed.
  • Once the sun gets higher, switching to TT Switchblade vibes or soft plastic lures and hopping them across the bottom will reward anglers with bream, flathead, flounder, whiting and the occasional tailor too.
  • Anglers in boats can also troll hard bodied lures along the rock walls if there are no land-based anglers around.

30-40g metals such as Halco Twisty’s, Surecatch Knights or any similar chrome metal lure will work.

1/8 to 1/4oz TT Lures Switchblades in golden or pilchard colours can be very effective, but other brands work too. It’s important not to fish these lures too fast, just gentle hops is all that’s required, allowing the lure to sink back to bottom in between.

1/4 oz jig heads with 3-4” Gary likes to cast these long, let them sink to the bottom and stay there for 10-15 seconds before twitching the lure 5-6” and letting it sit again for another 10 seconds. Repeat all the way back. Drop down to a 2” curl tail if whiting are around.

Gary’s Botany Bay Winter Fishing Spot #2: Rock Groynes

  • On the western side of Botany Bay is a beach between Cooks River and Dolls Point on which several rock groynes have been constructed. These allow anglers to access water from 2.5 to 3.5m in depth. Similar rock groynes are also available on the southern side of Botany Bay at Silver Beach near Kurnell – these southern groynes have a fair bit more weed around.
  • BE CAREFUL! These groynes have loose rocks that can move around as you walk on them. They can also be fished from a boat if preferred.
  • Target species are bream, flathead, whiting, occasional tailor and on the Kurnell groynes, squid.
  • Pick your conditions. In a southerly wind the groynes on the western side are hard to fish and you’re better to choose a different spot – perhaps the Kurnell groynes instead. The western groynes are easier to fish on a westerly wind.

30-40g metals such as Halco Twisty’s, Surecatch Knights or any similar chrome metal lure will work when tailor are around.

1/8 to 1/4oz TT Lures Switchblades or other brands of blade in golden or pilchard colours – again, don’t fish these lures too fast, small hops and let the lure sink to the bottom in between.

1/4 oz jig heads with 3-4” Fished the same way as for Cooks River, allowing the lure to sink to the bottom and stay there for 10-15 seconds before twitching the lure 5-6” and repeating.

Gary’s Botany Bay Winter Fishing Spot #3: “The Patches”

  • This is a boat and kayak only area on the western side of silver beach at Kurnell. It’s comprised of numerous small patches of weed in depths of 0.5 to 4m.
  • It’s not unusual for the fish to be on a particular weed patch and then move on the tide charge and not be caught on that original patch again. Keep drifting until you find them and be ready to spot lock or drop anchor once you find fish.
  • Fish can be taken on top of the weed or along the weed edges and the key species are big silver trevally (50cm), bream to 44cm, flathead and whiting.
  • Winter produces fewer fish in this area, but usually larger specimens are the attraction.
  • Gary likes the run-out tide at The Patches, but any tide can fish well at times.
  • Small boats and kayaks can launch at Kurnell, which is a good option in a southerly. This is not the best wind in a westerly.

Hard Bodied Lures 55-70mm are good in a range of diving depths. Gary likes the Atomic Shiners from shallow to double deep and works them along the edges of weed beds, keeping them very close to the bottom, contacting the sand or mud occasionally

1/8 to 1/4oz TT Lures Switchblades hopped gently across the bottom are effective

1/4 oz jig heads with 3-4” Fished the same way as for Cooks River, allowing the lure to sink to the bottom and stay there for 10-15 seconds before twitching the lure 5-6” and repeating.

Gary’s Botany Bay Winter Fishing Spot #4: Yarra Bay

  • This is a deep-water area near the gas tanks and is easily found by visiting the Fisheries NSW website and getting the marks for the artificial reef that’s been created here. The reef runs from 5-6m on top to 12m off the edge.
  • In a northerly wind, start at the northern side on top of the reef in 5-6m and then drift across and over the edge into 10-12m of water. If the first drift doesn’t work, move ten metres left or right and do another drift. On a north-westerly it’s possible to drift along the full length on top of the reef, although there are often boats anchored that can disrupt this plan.
  • Any species can be caught here including some winter kingfish, large flathead, bream, trevally and tailor. Trevally can be in plague proportions over winter but are often smaller fish.
  • Trolling deep diving hard bodies with the tide is a great option for tailor.

Hard Bodied Lures 55-70mm deep diving Rapala’s or Fish Incs are good for trolling.

1/8 to 1/4oz TT Lures Switchblades hopped gently across the bottom are effective

1/4 oz jig heads a 4-5” ZMan Diesel Minnow Paddle Tail or 3” MinnowZ fished on the bottom can be very effective, motor oil, nuclear chicken, red shad, pink glow colours are always popular. Gary likes to dead-stick these lures for 4-5 seconds between hops, coating them heavily with a concoction of attractants.

Gary’s Botany Bay Winter Fishing Spot #5: Bare Island

  • This is a dangerous rock ledge, and it is mandatory to wear an inflatable life jacket when fishing it. In a southerly swell this is not a safe fishing platform and anglers are advised to try elsewhere
  • There is a bridge across to the island and this gives access to rock ledges close to the water that can produce tailor, bonito and kingfish during the winter months. There are also quality squid to be taken and a popular strategy is to suspend a jig beneath a float while casting metals for fish.
  • Longer rods of 10’ are the minimum as long casting is necessary and keeping lures and fish away from shoreline snags is a necessity. 6-10kg braid and 10kg leaders are perfect for this.
  • As with other areas, fanning casts and working all depths is important. Let the lure sink on an open bail arm to minimise snagging.
  • Low light periods or overcast, rainy conditions fish best, so plan on hitting the island at dawn and dusk.

30-70g metals such as Halco Twisty’s, Surecatch Knights, Wilson’s, Savage or any similar chrome metal lure will work well, depending on what the fish are feeding on. Take a range of sizes.

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Gary’s Sponsors

Tackle Tactics import Okuma rods and reels and distribute Zman softplastics, TT blades and TT headlockz jig heads.

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