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Thursday, March 31, 2016 - 4:30pm by Kieran

At Luxury Afloat Houseboats we want to help our customers catch more fish, so we are running a special fishing guide promotion for winter 2016. Simply book our recommended fishing guide Pete Le Blang for your stay on the Hawksbury between May and October 2016 and we will take $100 off the booking price of your houseboat. While winter fishing on the Hawkesbury can be tough at times, those in the know spend long hours fishing the colder months because it is also a time when some real monsters get caught. The change of seasons can be a particularly good time to fish around the Hawkesbury for big predatory species. While there is a fair amount of variation in the timing of this change, generally speaking we see some very good fishing between March and May (Autumn) when some really big Kingfish appear around the river mouth and in Spring (late August – October) a time when some very big Jewfish often get caught in the Hawkesbury River. The river at times also receives a good winter run of Hairtail and a houseboat provides the perfect base camp to target these beautiful but elusive fish over the long winter nights.


While fishing is something most of us enjoy doing whenever we have the opportunity to cast a line, or drop a bait, it is also widely accepted that most of the quality fish caught by recreational anglers are actually caught by a very small percentage of fisherman. Whether it is 1% of fisherman catching 99% of the fish or 10% of fisherman catching 90% of the fish, it’s a safe bet that most people aren’t having a lot of luck on any given day. But is fishing really about luck or can fisherman make their own? I believe good fisherman do make their own luck to a certain extent but even the best of fisherman will happily acknowledge a bit of luck when it falls their way.

What a lot of fisherman don’t realise is just how much there actually is to the fine art of fishing and even at its most basic level there are lots of things you can do to improve your chances and essentially make your own luck. Simple things like bait presentation and tackle selection can be the difference between hooking that trophy fish or catching nothing.  Tackle itself is often under-utilised as many fishermen simply don’t know how to get the best results out of their rods, reels and all the fancy stuff in their tackle box. While there is no one way to skin a cat there are definitely easier and harder ways to do so. Almost every lure is different and requires an investment of the fisherman’s time to discover the lures secrets. If you are a keen fisherman but don’t have a lot of free time to invest, you could also invest in someone else’s time and progress your personal fishing standards through the guidance of a local expert.

As it happens, we know just the guide to help improve your strike rate on the Hawkesbury River or around the Broken Bay area. Pete Le Blang from Harbour and Estuary Fishing Charters caters for fisherman of all levels from beginners to experts and will plan a fishing session around his individual clients. Whether you just want to catch fish for the BBQ, learn how to set crab pots, learn to specifically target species, fine tune techniques and methods, or simply learn to be a more effective fisherman off your houseboat Pete can improve your standards of fishing immensely. It also helps a lot that he is on the water fishing most days keeping him well in tune with the supple changes on the marine environment. Pretty much all things that effect fishing, are of interest to Pete.

For this winter Pete is also trialling a special Houseboat Fishing tutorial and demonstration charter exclusively for Luxury Afloat Houseboats.  On this mini-charter Pete will visit your houseboat for a 2.5-hour fishing demonstration session, during which he will discuss and demonstrate things such as spot selection, tackle selection, fishing knots, line class (characteristics of braid compared to mono fishing line), locating fish, reading sounder equipment (how to identify different species off sounder readings), gathering live bait, fishing with live bait, effective ways of trolling lures and live baits off houseboats, catching squid, and effective use of lures such as poppers, blades and soft plastics. The cost for these fishing lessons is only $100 per person with a minimum of 6 persons required to book the lesson. If you happen to have a big crew of 10 or more people Pete will likely do a proper fishing charter as well as a tutorial but the fishing charter crew will likely be limited to the keenest 4-5 members (this can be negotiated directly with Pete). As this is a live demonstration in an uncontrolled environment you never know what can happen on these charters. The aim of these charters is simply to pass on essential fishing skills and knowledge to our customers which they can build on and fine tune in their own time. The aim on these charters isn’t necessarily to catch fish in the 2.5-hour charter but rather help nurture better fisherman who will catch a lot more fish for the rest of their life.

“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for life.”

 Teach a man to fish Luxury Afloat Houseboats

Harbour and Estuary Fishing Charters (Broken Bay) - Peter Le Blang –– (02) 9999 2574 – (mobile) 0410 633 351 - http://www.estuaryfishingcharters.com.au/ -

Pete Le Blang has been acting as a fishing guide for over 20 years, during which time he has dedicated an enormous amount of time to fishing Pittwater and the mouth of the Hawkesbury. I first fished with Pete over a decade ago and have fished with him countless times since, mostly targeting Kingfish in Pittwater. I say without hesitation that Pete has taught me more about fishing in general than any other individual. He has been extremely generous with his vast knowledge and skill set and has always encouraged me to get out on the water and catch more fish. His methods of down-rigging live squid over wrecks and structure were revolutionary when he first started in the 1990’s.

Pete recently upgraded his charter boat and can now take customers outside to top offshore spots such as Long reef chasing Kingfish and snapper or even wider for Marlin and Tuna. He does however still have that knack of finding big fish in calm water too where I have seen some of the best kingfish sessions of my life. On a good session with Pete it is not uncommon to see 20-30 kingfish caught in a few hours, which pretty much equates to hooking fish as fast as you can get baits or lures in the water. Some of my best memories fishing with Pete include, popper sessions where Pete out-fished me 5 fish to 1(I have improved a tad on poppers since), hooking countless numbers of good sized Kingies over 80cm in a variety of ways, catching a Jewfish on a downrigger, catching rat kings on 6lb line, catching bi-catch species I had never before encountered such as Amberjack and Sampson Fish and down-rigging live baits over structure with brilliant results. Once when fishing for Jewfish on the Hawkesbury river I complained about my lack of success catching Jewies on lures only to have Pete tie a soft plastic (slick rig) onto a line and catch a 60cm fish off one cast. I kid you not it took him one cast to prove to me just how easy it is to catch Jewfish on a well presented lure. I still think he got lucky!

Fishing Guide

Pete now resides on Scotland Island in Pittwater where he has been based for the past 14 years, making his vast knowledge of Pittwater, Broken Bay and the Hawkesbury River hard to beat. He writes regular reports for ‘New South Wales Fishing Monthly’ and also writes articles for many websites such as ‘ET online magazine,’ and reports fortnightly on the ABC’s Big Fish Program with Scott Levi. Pete also recently appeared with Dave Butfie

ld on his TV show and DVD “kingfish Secrets”, so it’s interesting to see who gets the call when someone needs to catch a fish for the camera.

Though he dedicates a large amount of his charter time to targeting Kingfish, one of the toughest and dirtiest fighting fish in the ocean, Pete is just as happy to target any species his clients would like to catch. Jewfish, Flathead, Snapper, Bream, Tailor, Salmon and Bonito are just some of the many species commonly encountered around Broken Bay. He also does some wide offshore charters to chase Yellowfin Tuna, Marlin, and Mahi Mahi, fishing around FAD’s at times when conditions are good and fish are around in good numbers.

The Vessel:

Pete’s fishing vessel was recently upgraded to a Fisher 8.4m (over 27ft) named ‘Wildfish 1’ which is a plate alloy vessel perfect for a comfortable day fishing either offshore or in one of the local rivers or harbours. The vessel is surveyed for 8 persons but to keep the fishing space functional the maximum number of fisherman taken for any one charter is 5. Ideally 2-4 anglers would get the most out of the day and have plenty of space to stay comfortable and move around a bit. The vessel has a full length canopy so rain and sunshine are not things you will need to worry about. The boat also has a storage rack to hold Kayaks, surf boards or paddle boards for the particularly adventurous people. The vessel has 12 rod holders in strategic locations, a chopping board and live bait tank. It is also equipped with the latest electronic equipment including Lowrance HDS Gen 2 sounders with side and down scanning. The skipper also has that rare ability to read this equipment like a book. There is an ice box with food and drinks provided and a separate large fish box to store your catch

What’s Included on the Charter:

All fishing equipment, rods and reels, all tackle, lures and bait. People are of course welcome to bring their favourite rod and reel and hopefully test it out on a good fish. Also provided on the charter are light snacks such as chips, lollies and muesli bars as well as a cold roast chicken for lunch and cold drinks. Of course the best thing included in your hire is the guide himself who will do his best to put you where the fish are and provide you with a great days fishing.

Listed below are some examples of various fishing options available with Harbour and Estuary Charters. Please note that there are huge variations in weather patterns and seasons that can greatly effect fishing. While there are never any guarantee’s in fishing you can be certain that if you are fishing with Pete you are a better chance than most of catching something special. At the very least I would expect most of Pete’s clients to finish their charter with a whole heap of new fishing skills and some new ideas on effective ways to target fish. Pete is also very happy to pick our customers up from their houseboat to start a day fishing.

Harbour and Estuary Fishing Charters Cost:

Houseboat Fishing Demonstration/Tuition – This is a new package that Pete is testing for customers of Luxury Afloat Houseboats over winter of 2016. This 2.5-hour package costs $100 per person with a minimum of 6 people required to book. This is basically a power fishing course and offers incredible value for any fisherman who really want to improve their catch rate in our local waters. The demonstration will include a particular focus on effective methods used to target species on the Hawkesbury as well as different techniques required to get the best results off poppers, blades, soft plastics and other hard bodied lures. These tutorials can also be customised specifically for you – For example if your whole crew is just out to catch Jewfish then the entire demonstration can be focused on them, catching bait, squid, reading tides, spot selection, locating structure, tackle selection and anything else Pete can think of to improve your chances of catching Mulloway. For large crews (8 persons or more) Pete will likely include a complimentary fishing charter either after or before the tutorial. This can all be negotiated directly with Pete on the numbers listed above.

Mixed Day Charter – This normally involves a 6-hour fishing session in Pittwater with a particular focus on inshore Kingfish but many other species are often encountered. These charters normally start with a session catching squid early in the morning before moving around Pittwater and down-rigging live squid around wrecks and other structure. Cost $750 (5 persons max)

The Coast Run – On this charter you will travel up and down the coastline targeting migrating pelagic species. Bait fish are caught on the way out and the rest of the charter is dedicated to finding those hard fighting predators such as big 1m+ Kingfish. On these charters down-rigging live baits around reefs and wrecks is one of Pete’s favoured techniques. Sometimes a video camera is attached to the downrigger bomb allowing clear pictures to come in of live squid, live yakka’s, and live Slimy Mackerel getting absolutely smashed off the back of the downrigger. Two things I found very interesting when I first saw these cameras in use were the amount of fish that inspect the bait without biting and also the delay between when a bait gets swallowed at 30 feet to when the rod loads up. You literally watch the bait get eaten and then turn around to see the rod load up, it’s probably something you need to see to believe, but believe me, it’s awesome to watch. Cost $800 (5 persons max)

The Flathead Run – This charter involves specifically targeting Flathead either offshore (Blue Spotted Flathead) or around the river mouth targeting Dusky Flathead. Generally speaking, Flathead are a pretty easy fish to target so it probably isn’t wishful thinking to expect to bag out pretty quickly on this charter once fish are located. These charters are often fairly short (2-4 hours) and generally wrap up once anglers reach their bag limit. Cost $800 (5 persons max)

The Snapper Run – This charter is all about Snapper, one of the most sought after and difficult to catch species found around Broken Bay. On these charters expect to spend your time on offshore reefs either drifting with a burley trail, fishing secret marks, casting soft plastics or maybe even down-rigging around the reefs. Cost $800 (5 persons max)

The Reef Run – On this charter you will head out to some of Pete’s favourite offshore reefs using simple burley and bait techniques to target a variety of deep water species including Snapper, Morwong, Flathead, Teraglin and Nannygai. Methods used on this charter will vary depending on the conditions but generally speaking it is drift fishing or anchoring on marks. Cost $800 (5 persons max)

Offshore (FAD Run) – On this charter you will target oceanic pelagic species such as Mahi Mahi, Tuna, and Marlin. These charters normally start by heading to one of the offshore fish attracting devices (FADs) early in the morning, where Mahi Mahi are pretty easy to find. After a morning session on these tasty hard fighters it is time to test your luck on the real monsters. At this time Pete will normally run a spread of skirted lures (or possibly even a live bait such as a Skip Jack Tuna) and cover some ground in search of Tuna and Marlin. Please note that any Marlin caught on one of Pete’s charters must be released, but most other species are fair game for the dinner table. Cost $950 (4 persons max)