Yellowfin Bream at Hen and Chicken Bay

On Saturday afternoon I was itching for a fish, but didn’t have the energy to load my kayak onto the roof. Instead I threw my fly rods into the ute and headed for Hen and Chicken Bay, to spend a quick hour or so wading the banks, in the hopes of picking up a few new species.

My first impression of the venue was good. There was a beautiful green park, including a playground for the kids (making it more likely I’d be allowed future visits), and one of the larger flats I’d seen in the Sydney Harbour – perfect for us fly fisherman.

When I got down to the flats I was even more impressed. There was an abundance of nipper holes, which I hadn’t seen before on the other banks I’d waded. And where there’s bait, there’s fish. The only downside was that the water was exceptionally dirty, with limited visibility of less than a foot.

I made my way to the southern end of the flats, away from the park, and started fishing both off the drop off as well as over the flats. My weapon of choice was a 7 weight rod with a floating line, a 9 foot leader, 6 pound tippet, and a bone fish scampi tied to the end. The 7 weight was perhaps a little overkill, but I was reluctant to expose my 5 weight rod to the salt, knowing just how corrosive it can be.

I tried varying retrieves, from slow to fast, at various depths in the water column. The slow retrieves proved to be the most deadly, and I quickly had multiple bumps, and dropped two fish.

I then had an explosive hit from a bigger fish, which thankfully hooked up solidly. It pulled hard, and I was relieved when I finally got it into the shallows, only to discover I’d landed my first yellowfin bream. Another species checked off the bucket list.

After safely releasing the bream, the fishing went quiet. I switched to surface flies for a while, hoping to pick up a whiting, but it was not to be. With a smile on my face, I called it a day, and headed home.

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