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  1. wazatherfisherman

    Bradleys Head to Chowder Head

    As a follow-on from the Bradleys Head and White Rock posts this one is meant to cover from Taylor Bay around to the "Island" at Chowder Head. The southern point of Taylor Bay is easily accessed, on entering the Sydney Harbour National Park entrance on Bradleys Head Rd, park in the car park immediately on the left. Adjacent to the toll booth is a track going east towards the water,(it only takes a few minutes to walk)go almost straight across when you get to the larger bisecting track (which starts near zoo wharf and goes all the way to Clifton Gardens via Bradleys Head- NOTE this track is well up and not along the lower shoreline virtually all the way, with little access to the water for almost all of its length) after crossing, our track narrows as it starts to meander down towards Taylor Bay, keep to the right as it is easier when carrying a fishing rod to maneuver down this little used section. There are about four or five narrow steps at the bottom, directly in front of the steps and also round to the right(White Rock is a few hundred metres this way)are quite a few suitable flat rocks to fish from,some have a couple of chiselled rod holes. The ones on the corner produce a few Luderick and the odd small Black Drummer while the tide is up, though as White Rock is so much better as a Luderick spot we generally fish there for them instead. Casting well out from any of these larger rocks Bream,Flatties and the odd keeping size Snapper are taken, along with a few blue swimmers in summer. If using prawns for bait, sometimes undersized reddies are thick along here with only a rare one making size, better sized ones are around just before dawn and dusk, though still most fall just short of legal length. The rear third of a pilchard on a 2/0 suicide is a better bait here. The whole area of the point also has a good supply of Leatherjackets and I know they don't interest a lot of fishers but a few of them can 'rescue' any otherwise fish-less days and provide a nice easy feed. The usual size 6 to 10 longshank(Mustad 4540 or 4540+half pattern) tied about a foot above a sinker and small piece of peeled prawn have 'rescued' many a days fishing for me when the intended target species didn't co-operate! All the usual kelp-roaming ooglies and colourful species also inhabit the area, so there's always something to keep you interested. Walking left from the point finds you in Taylor Bay which is fairly shallow and without any significant fish attracting formations. I did catch my first two lure caught Flathead in here(on the trusty old "Wonder-Wobbler") when I was a kid, but in general I wouldn't really recommend this as much of a spot until you get past the last house to the east called "The Manor". As you go east towards the point there are a couple of nicer, larger ledges that are quite comfortable to fish from, allowing access to deeper water. In summer and autumn 'surface fish' often appear and we've caught Tailor ,Salmon,Bonito and Frigates spinning with small(7-20 gm) lures. The same species as the other side are caught along here, with a few better sized fish in the deeper water. On the eastern front of the headland is a spot always referred to as "The Island", this has long been one of the lower harbours great land-based locations. The rock outcrop sits well out from the shore and is isolated as the tide rises. There are a few 'stepping stones' in between the island and the shoreline, but it isn't advisable to attempt crossing from about halfway up any larger incoming tide. In fact tides over 1.75 metres submerge the rock almost entirely, leaving nowhere safe for your gear when any waves from ferry's, tankers etc roll in. Casting east to southeast from here lands you in genuinely deep water and some big fish are available. This is one of the land based spots where you can catch a good sized Mulloway. On a few occasions, after going to the trouble of carrying legal sized live mullet, caught west of the harbour bridge, we have caught Mulloway up to 16 kg and been busted up and reefed by bigger ones. The reasons we use mullet? They seem to be hardier than other baits, transport and cast well, Mulloway love them and importantly they are less inclined to snag you as we fish them on the bottom. Large yellowtail often find something to swim around and catch your line on the bottom and if they are the only available fresh bait fish, personally I'd prefer to butterfly them-remove the tail and entire backbone just leaving the head and 2 fillets .These baits are thrown out on the basic rig of large ball sinker,bead to prevent sinker wedging on knot to swivel, followed by no more than 60cm of about 30-50 lb leader and 2 snooded 6/0 to 10/0 92554 suicide hooks. Others may use a different rig but this is quite simple and has always been effective for me. A lot of effort to carry live bait in as it's not really available there, but well worth it. Night time on the very last of the run-out tide is when we've had success. In daylight hours in summer and autumn kingfish sometimes 'bust up' on the surface eating really tiny bait-fish,and even though clearly visible are always hard to tempt. Spinning from here in the early morning often produces Tailor, Bonito and Frigates when they're in the harbour. When fishing here of a daytime I usually use a long rod, heavy sinker and leader no longer than 45 cm (which casts further) and prefer fish baits like tuna, yellowtail, mullet or fresh slimy mackerel and cast well out to the right. The bait rolls along and settles on the bottom in really deep water. Better sized Bream, School Mulloway and the best Snapper I've seen from the shore in the harbour(1-3 kg) are often caught here. It's one of the few locations I haven't fished for Luderick, but talking to divers there on different occasions they have said that they've seen a heap there, along with good size Black Drummer. Stands to reason as it is kelpy and quite deep in very close. The easier access is to park near the southern end of Morella Rd and take the track from there, which branches out at many spots, just keep heading east and that will take you to the water and it's easy to see the Island.