Our enormous coastline offers a plethora of fishing spots, for the amateur and professional alike. Here are some tips to ensure you hook a few when you next cast a line.
If you’re not familiar with the area, your first stop has to be the local tackle store, for tips on locations, tides and bait. You’ll find most tackle store owners are happy to share advice, particularly if you buy some gear or bait from them.
To determine where you’ll fish, you’ll need to be able to read a beach by water action, colour and current. The best way to do this is from a high vantage point, preferably with polarised sunglasses. Darker shades in the water where the waves don’t break indicate holes or gutters where larger predators like mulloway are likely to be hunting, waiting for smaller fish to be swept past.
A wave breaking off shore is often due to a shallow point, sandbar or reef. The calm areas by these bars are where small fish seek the shelter of shallows, and flathead lie in wait along the drop offs. Tailor like to hunt along the edges of white water, such as that caused by rips.
Peak fishing times are controlled by tide and daylight. At dusk or dawn, regardless of tide, you’ll usually get a bite. A high tide with either of these times is the perfect arrangement for fish to feed. Other than dusk or dawn, the optimum fishing period often occurs during a change of tide.
Use fresh baits wherever possible. To prevent the baits being stripped by small fish nibbling at them, you can salt your bait, or buy pre-salted baits. Another option is to try ghost cotton. This is thin white cotton you can buy at the tackle store. Wrap it around the bait a few times to hold it together and to keep it tighter on the hook. This will strengthen the bait against the water’s impact when it’s cast and will also make it more difficult for any of those frustrating nibblers to pick away your bait.
If you’re looking to do some fishing with lures, check out how to pick the right lure.