A Day With The Rat Pack

January 06, 2020

A Day With The Rat Pack

Good friend James T bought a beautiful Blackwatch a couple of months ago, and named it Black Rat.  I've been fortunate to fish on this weapon several times, this summer:

On Thursday (2nd January) he phoned to invite me for the next day. But at short notice it was hard to get a crew together, with so many of the regulars still away on Christmas holidays. I asked him if I could invite the young blokes I’ve been fishing with lately. Oscar, Roman, Xavier and Myles’ lives revolve around fishing. And I can’t recommend their Instagram pages too highly, if you’re interested in what’s happening with Sydney Harbour fishing. They average five days a week fishing:

Oscar Fishing

Roman Fishing

Off we went on Friday morning. First stop the Rip Bridge, on the Central Coast. On Thursday, client Adam had driven down to pick up a downrigger. On the weekend before New Year he had been fishing there in the plum spot, with prime fresh squid for bait, at the best time of the tide. Nothing happened. Then a guy came past with double downriggers working and hooked up on a good one 20 metres from his boat! That was the clincher for his decision to buy.  We headed for where it all happened:


Pretty disappointing. We were marking bait on James’ fantastic Garmin setup but, no kings. We did see the odd bust up but nothing to get excited about. And the live reports arriving by text were gratefully received, but offered little comfort:

how did you go
i got one rat@50cm
then a mixed bag inc a banjo ray


Got nothing at Sydney Harbour Fad
Anything where you are ?
We're on the flatties at south curl curl 30m line 


We messed around for kingies for a couple of hours at East Reef without any success but we were primarily trying out a new bottom track transducer connected to 2 Cannon electric downriggers on my mates boat. The water temp was only 19.2C which didn't help. Your tip re flathead around The Valiant wreck worked well. We fished just east of the marks & boated 11 good sized fish between the 4 of us.

And worst of all:

Hey Mate No kings for us today how did you go? Here’s one for you at Tunks park boat Ramp This guy blocked the ramp for 10 mins whilst everyone was in complete shock He wasn’t moving no matter who told him to. The Skipper in the background assisting with life jacket fitting

With a good forecast offshore we headed for Texas Reef (off Terrigal) with a stop at the FAD on the way:

With temps way down I wasn’t expecting much. Cursor is on the FAD:

Hook ups happened but only tiny kingfish. Temps too low, for mahi:

Up to Texas Reef in the soft riding Blackwatch. Bottom fishing with both squid bait and jigs. Myles hooked up first:

 This chunky bonito the result:

Our 100 gram jig the weapon of choice:


Plenty of mark on the Garmin but not the kind you want to see. Consistent evenly distributed salt and pepper is no good. You want tight defensive bait balls, and big arches. It wasn’t happening:

It was time for an alternative. The three things I like about Texas are:
It can be an excellent kingfish ground;
It’s north-east of Broken Bay, meaning you can ride the summertime nor’ easter back;
There’s a big trap field a few klicks south which hold mahi when the water’s warm.
That’s where we headed. With the lads restricted to land based and kayak fishing inside the Harbour, they had never seen a live mahi. And what the fish lacked in size, they made up for in numbers. We had several triple hook ups:


Not big ones but on 3 kilo line they gave us a lot of fun:

All dollies (20+) taken on our 10 gram jigs. They cast like bullets and are $4 each – an absolute steal:


Not a big fish day but certainly a big fun day. And those mahi will grow fast. We look forward to bringing home an esky full on our next trip. Thanks for reading,

Andrew Hestelow
Managing Director

Tel. 0402075000

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