Harbord Bowling Club, Bonito and a King

Harbord Bowling Club is the venue for many family Friday night pizza’s and a few beers. The pizza parlour is good, the beers are cold and plenty of seating inside and outside.

On one Friday night a couple of weeks ago I decided to join the Harbord Bowling fishing club, a friendly club with a competition at the end of each month. Having met a few members a week ago, I decided would have a shot at the competition last weekend. The rules are pretty simple any legal fish caught from 5pm Friday night and weighed in Sunday 3.30pm.

My plan of attack was to get out early on Saturday and Sunday on the kayak and see if could catch any of the pelagic fish in the harbour. Saturday morning launched from Little Manly, the remnant of a south easterly wind was blowing. The sea was grey and bumpy, but found some fish in North Harbour and caught 3 bonito’s on the fly (at least I had something for the weigh in).

Sunday morning, again launched from Little Manly and this time found the surface fish just past Manly point, more bonito! The fish are getting much harder to catch and were on surface for a few minutes at a time before sounding. Frustratingly there was also a lot of boat traffic. On the same white fly pattern have been using for last few weeks, managed to catch a further six bonito’s. As the morning wore on, I had a lot of near misses and slashes at the fly. With this in mind, I changed to an even smaller style of trout fly. This fly on a size 10 hook is the same basic pattern I like, white marabou tail with some crystal flash, wrapped on white marabou body and gold bead. Around 9am spotted some surface action near Little Manly Point, close to where the ferries run. Sneaked up on the school, cast out, stripping the fly line back saw a fish come up behind the fly and wolf it down. A hard fight, I knew it wasn’t a bonito and up to the net came a 55-60cm kingfish. The legal size is 65cm so back in it went, however a first for me on a fly and another box ticked, next a legal sized one.

At the competition weigh in, at the bowling club, I was in the estuary category of the comp and weighed in nine (5.36kg) gutted and gilled bonito. Not sure where I came, but not last or first. The biggest fish landed were a couple of mahi mahi at 13kg and 9kg caught many kilometres offshore. A few beers(VB’s) and bbq after the weigh in made for a pleasant end to this round of the comp.