One More Cast: Fishing the Crookhaven

Great family fishing spot: Steve Johnson with a Crookhaven River bream. You can almost always rely on getting a feed from the river thanks to the abundance of estuary species on offer.

Great family fishing spot: Steve Johnson with a Crookhaven River bream. You can almost always rely on getting a feed from the river thanks to the abundance of estuary species on offer.

Having grown up fishing the Crookhaven River I've really got to appreciate just how good a place it is to wet a line.  For me, one of the drawcards of fishing the Crookhaven River is the variety of estuary fish species you can target and the difference techniques you can use to catch them.

The Crookhaven River offers up just about every south-eastern estuaries species you can catch, from big mulloway, trophy-sized flathead and big blue nosed black bream to the humble garfish. There is something for all anglers.  Not only do you have fish to catch, there also also tasty mud and blue swimmer crabs on offer.

Another selling point for fishing the Crookhaven River is there are plenty of land-based options to choose from.  The public wharves at Orient Point, Crookhaven Heads and Greenwell Point are all good fishing spots, especially for kids.  The best time to fish these locations are the last hour of the run-out tide and first hour of the run in, also the top of the tide. 

Fishing light if possible, using baits like fresh prawns, striped tuna, and slimy mackerel, will produce bream, flathead, flounder, tailor and the odd whiting.  It is always a good idea to put some berley in the water to attract the fish around, it doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, some tuna oil, chook pellets and bream fixed together will do the trick.

The rock walls and wharves around Greenwell Point, Orient Point and Comerong Island are good places to float-fish for luderick.  The breakwall on Comerong Island is well known for producing tailor, salmon, rock blackfish, bream and the Ghost of the Estuary, mulloway. 

The Crookhaven River also has plenty of live bait to collect, from poddy mullet for flathead, nippers for whiting and flounder, also black crabs, which big bream can’t resist.   Remember you need to have a fishing licence to collect bait and also be aware of the bag limits as well.

If you have a boat then the world really is your oyster when it comes to fishing variety on the Crookhaven River. The staple is no doubt the humble dusky flathead and there are some stonkers in the Crookhaven River system.  St Georges Basin is well known for its trophy-sized flathead, but the Crookhaven River does have metre plus fish in it as well. 

I mainly target flathead using soft plastic lures like the 85mm Squidgy Pro Wiggle Prawn in the black and gold colour fished on a 5/8 jig head, but drifting around using nippers, fresh prawns, live poddy mullet or white bait should get a feed of flathead.  The best time to fish for flathead is the last couple of hours of the run-out tide, particularly when using soft plastic or hard bodied lures.

Bream are another good species to target in the Crookhaven River and you can get some big blue nosed models 2kg plus if you put the time in.   Probably the most exciting way to target bream in the Crookhaven River is to use hard bodied lures around the oyster racks on the high tide.   Cast along the oyster lease and using a slow retrieve with pauses will entice lure crunching bream.  Using soft plastic lures like the always reliable 80mm Squidgy Wriggler in bloodworm colour around rock walls and deep holes will also produce bream.  Putting some Sax Scent Gold Prawn fish attractant on your hard bodied or soft plastic lures will improve your catch rate. 

Crookhaven River bream are very partial to a lightly weighted fresh prawn, striped tuna, nippers, black crabs or slimy mackerel.  The last of the run-out tide or first of the run-in tide are good times to fish for bream, target areas where they is broken ground, rock walls, deep channels and holes. 

During the summer time it’s definitely worth putting out some crab traps for a feed of either blue swimmer or mud crabs, while you’re out fishing.  I find the run-out tide the best for targeting blue swimmer crabs, place your traps on the edge of the weed and sand.  Mud crabs like the run-up tide, put your traps around areas where there are shallow rock bars and mangroves.

If for some reason the fish aren’t biting in the Crookhaven River all is not lost for a feed of fish - just drop into to see Sam at the Pelican Rocks for some of the best fish and chips on the South Coast. His bacon and eggs rolls also hit the spot. 

With school holidays around the corner go explore the Crookhaven River, it’s an underestimated fishery that can produce some fantastic fishing.