Surrounded by hundreds of kilometers of shoreline, national parks, and historic sites, the sparkling waters of Sydney Harbour are synonymous with Australia’s most famous city. Alive with ferries, yachts, sailboats, and kayaks, one of the world’s great natural harbors is also a gateway to some incredible fishing opportunities.
Don’t expect to see a line of flats skiffs poling in front of the Sydney Opera house, but if you know where to go, and what tackle to use you can find some fish eager to take an artificial fly!
Our first afternoon in Sydney we met up with local guide Justin Duggin – Justin is one of the most knowledgable guides in the Sydney area, and runs a guide business called Sydney Flyfishing Tours. Justin takes us out for a casual night on the town, and we head back to his place to crash on a couch and inflatable mattress – we like to call this “Balling on a budget”. Lucky for us, Justin is also a seasoned drummer in a local band and shows us a few of the beats he has been working on.
We also meet his bird, Marley.
The next morning, Justin takes us to one of his favorite little coffee spots overlooking a beautiful beach full of surfers. A mesmerizing cliff face sits on the other side of the surf-break as we watch the sun peak over the horizon.
The bags are packed as we steam over to the boat put-in – where Justin is confident we can find some action. The day starts off optimistic, and on our third cast we connect to a legendary Kingfish – probably the most iconic fly caught species in the harbour. After a few minute tussle, the fish breaks off… We were devastated.
As most trips go when you bring out all the camera gear, the fish decide to be stubborn… As any good guide would do, Justin decides to shake things up and take us off-shore. We throw out a sinking line and try to pull some fish off a reef in some deeper water. We found a small blue-fish and a beautiful coral orange dweller on an artificial lure.
We bump over to one of Justin’s favorite offshore spots and from a distance see some birds. A Blitz! A blitz of Australian salmon circling a bait ball on the surface.
This was exactly the type of situation we were looking for. As Justin nosed the boat quietly into the blitz, I sent out a long cast and hooked up after a few strips. The medium-sized Australian salmon put a workout on the 8 weight rod I was throwing. But we got him in the boat, and landed two more after!
We spend the last hour of the day casting in front of the legendary opera house. Opened up a cold beer, and gave cheers to a successful day on the legendary Sydney harbour.
Next stop – Northern Australia, to the Wessel Islands!
This trip was made possible by the generous folks at Tourism Australia, Aussie Fly Fisher, and Sydney Fly Fishing Tours.
Be sure to check out episode 1 from the Snowy Mountains: