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.

Gary’s Top Tips For Kingfish In Botany Bay

  • Yellowtail kingfish can be caught from Botany Bay all year around. Anglers will need to work harder for them in the cooler months, although the larger specimens usually show up over that period.
  • Kingfish can be found on the reef structures, around wharves, under ship mooring buoys, around weed beds, cockle beds and even over sandy bottoms at times. Lately they’ve been feeding on the small baitfish known locally as “glassies” and have been smashing small bream lures in the process.
  • Gary doesn’t bother too much about the moon or other factors, finding that tides are the key. Runout tides that bring bait species off the flats are particularly good. Some tidal movement is important although the really big tides can be harder to fish and trolling is often the best option.
  • Using a “Poor Man’s Downrigger” can be effective. This rig is comprised of a 10cm long running barrel sinker stopped by a bead above a swivel. A 100lb trace behind the swivel is armed with an unweighted soft plastic paddle tail or a floating hardbody. The rig is slow trolled over clean bottoms, knocking the motor out of gear when the line approaches 45 degrees to let it sink back down, then putting the motor back in gear.
  • A light breeze and some cloud helps improve the bite, especially when the water is clear. At present the recent rains have made the water slightly cloudy, so cloud cover is not so important.
  • If the water is clear, anchoring 100m upstream of the wharves (the closest anglers are permitted to get to these structures) and berleying up can be effective. A soft plastic lure on a light jig head can then be floated on the current back to the wharves and retrieved once it’s “in the zone”.
  • Land-based fishing is also possible, with multiple headlands, rock walls and groynes giving access to deep water and shelter from the prevailing winds.
  • Sometimes it’s necessary to use very light gear and bream lures to target kingfish. The best approach to minimise bustoffs is to work the fish gently until it comes away from structure before applying whatever pressure the tackle will allow.
  • If the fishing is tough, try applying a small amount of scent to the lure every fourth or fifth cast and/or try sizing the lures down (or up).

Gary’s Kingfish Fishing Tackle

  • A 7’ Okuma Azores medium-heavy rod, coupled with a size 55 Okuma Azores Blue reel, 50lb Platypus Super Braid and a 60-100lb fluorocarbon leader is Gary’s heavy outfit for bigger lures, trolling, fishing around structure and so on.
  • A 3-6kg Okuma LRF rod with a size 40 Okuma Jaw spin reel and 6kg braided line is the weapon to use when the fishing requires throwing very small (bream) lures in order to get the bite.

Gary’s Top Kingfish Lures

  • A variety of soft plastic lures can be effective on Botany Bay’s kingfish population. For fishing the surface down to one or two metres Gary likes the 4” ZMan Scented Jerk Shad, lightly weighted and fished with plenty of rod action. For “Poor Man’s Trolling” the 3” Zman MinnowZ paddle tail is a good choice. 4-5” Curl Tailed grubs are perfect for fishing down vertical structure such as the chains on ship mooring buoys or navigation marks, weighting them as little as necessary and allowing them to drop near the structure. Gary likes the motor oil, pink glow and nuclear chicken colours, but pearl and red shad colours can also be effective. Gary finds the fish’s colour preferences can change often and are unpredictable. A range of jig heads are recommended, with TT HeadlockZ and ChinlockZ and SnakelockZ in 3/0 and 5/0 sizes with 1/12 to 1/8 weights being most useful on the curl tails. Belly weighted and hidden weighted hooks also have their place in getting the lures to behave differently.
  • The Fish Inc sinking stickbaits in the 120-140mm size range are great for long casting and fishing beneath the surface with a retrieve similar to a walk the dog retrieve used for floating stickbaits. They can also be used for trolling, jerking the rod hard from time to time, much like when barra fishing. Alternatively, they can be sunk into the depths and fished vertically if required to do so.
  • Hard bodied diving lures such as the Halco Scorpion or Laser Pro are effective when trolling, downrigging or casting.

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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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