Cruising Sydney waters – America Bay

A few hours sailing north of Sydney Harbour is the Hawkesbury River.
If you are traveling from Sydney just hang a left at the Barrenjoey lighthouse and you are there.
The river mouth is very wide and guarded by tall sandstone cliffs with many very nice spots to anchor or moor.

Just-Jammins mast limited how far we could sail upriver but luckily there is a marina at Brooklyn where the river is traversed by a low bridge.
Brooklyn is a very small township and a pleasant walk from the public berth.
The general store is small but has a reasonable range of stuff and the marina has a bottleshop.

Around the corner from Brooklyn is America Bay.
This is mostly national park with heavily wooded cliffs running into surprisingly deep water and plenty of private but empty moorings and a few public ones, also empty, mostly.
During the week there are few if any boats moored in America Bay with the weekends being quite busy but still pleasant.

 

The fishing is a lot better than you might think, especially if you arrive on a weekend.
There are lots of deep channels running right up to the cliffs in places, with many large mulloway cruising around and hordes of baby pink snapper.

And Squid.

Tailor sometimes to.
The bays bottom like most of the area has a carpet of sea grass with patches of rock and sand.
This is very nice for attracting squid and there are arrow squid in the bay.
During the day we would fish and catch many small snapper, too small to keep but fun to catch and release.

Delousing them was interesting.

At night the transom light would attract baitfish and either squid or tailor to feed on them.
Either squid or tailor because the squid would vanish as soon as the tailor turned up.
Lurking just outside the light were mulloway happy to pounce on any squid or tailor silly enough to separated from the school.

We were both fishing using live and dead squid however Scott was the one that kept getting the mulloway, nabbing some very nice eating fish.
Mulloway is delicious fresh and freezes very well.

Fishing for squid in the bay is like shooting fish in a barrel.
The schools of arrow squid with hoods ranging from four to nearly nine inches are everywhere and would take jigs nearly all night.

On most nights you would see groups of squid, maybe nine or ten, cruising in formation doing circles around the light.
Once you had caught them or most of them it was just a matter of waiting a short while for the next group.

We found berleying them with bread to work and it didn’t attract the tailor like other baits seemed to.
It was quite by chance that when throwing a few pieces of bread into the light to attract the baitfish, they didn’t get any, the squid came out of the dark and started to fight over it.

On one particular night a school of close to one hundred took up station under the transom light.
It was amazing to see so many squid all swimming in formation and staying all night.
We caught many, ate many and used many for bait, all the rest we released.

Once we had caught and released a whole heap of squid Scott started to get creative.
He lowered the landing net as deep as he could just outside the light and then waited for the school to swim past.

Upon lifting the net there were sixteen squid in the bottom, I’ve never seen that before.
Sure made catching them one at a time redundant.

America Bay is such a peaceful place and the scenery didn’t get old.
The fishing is productive and fun and there are public moorings with provisions at Brooklyn.
Why would you go anywhere else.

 

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