OK, so I want to try my hand at fishing. I have a couple of rods and reels, and an assortment of stuff in a shiny tackle box (Chrissy present from a few years back). I've got salt water and fresh water options close at hand (Narrabeen). But, I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing.
Can anyone offer me some pointers? I'd really like to impress the missus.
Decide what you want to fish for and then find out where that fish lives, what it feeds on and what time of day/tide is best for fishing for it.
IE if fishing for tailor, you'll need lures or pillies and fish dawn or dusk off headlands or beach gutters. Bird working on feeding fish is a great tip.
Flathead will lures and baits fished off sandbank edges on the bottom of the tide or sandflats on a flood tide.
A little bit of local knowledge goes a long way. Find out who catches the fish near you and ask them questions. Or ask at local tackle shop.
Specialise, specialise, specialise.
Chucking a bait out at random is a pretty sure fire way to failure.
Well, I suppose that's the first step. What kinds of fish inhabit my local waters? Where's the best place to find this out? Bloke at the local fishing shop wasn't too helpful unfortunately.
Everywhere I look I seem to come up against a big collage of every marine creature that may have passed through the region in the last twenty years. Obviously that's not what I'm likely to find on any given day and night though.
I'm sure you'd get tailor off the headlands and beaches Ben.
Flathead in the estuary.
Whiting and bream in both lake and beach.
There must be some old salt who's always coming or going with a rod and bag of fish......he'll know.
Alright, thanks Steve - I'll let you know how I go!
That hour or so between first light and sunrise is the magic time for Tailor off the stones.
check your local beaches ,find the old timers tell them your a beginer and your after a few tips,those old blokes are classic to yarn too, ask them if they mind if ya join them for an early.........youll fill the creel in no time.....or p.m. schmuker...
The best tip I ever got was to fish about 60 minutes each side of the changing tides - especially high tide. Outside those times is pretty much a waste.
Also, use good quality bait. Fish won't take dodgy bait. You get what you pay for. Pillies (my preference) or the humble prawn still catch good fish.
Start with that and progress as you get better. Watch and listen to the better guys - bit like surfing.
Hey ben, plenty of good spots around narrabeen. While the water's still warm, get some live worms from narra bait and tackle, size 4 baitholder hooks, 3 or 4kg line, marble size sinker on a running rig (sinker on mainline, small swivel, 40cm of 3-4kg line, hook). Find a shallow hole/gutter in close and cast 20m max... often get fish in a foot of water just in/behind the shoredump. whiting, dart (heaps of these at flightdeck yest), bream on the cards.
If you want to fish the headlands, wear cleats or avoid the low washy ledges
flathead in the lake on live bait
ALso, on the beach: keep moving along the beach and try different holes/gutters, til you find a patch of fish. Spend say 5-10mins in different parts of each hole, and say 30mins max in each hole. Fish like sudsy, not too turbulent water.
The fishing gets a bit patchy when it's 3-4ft like yest, too turbulent for the fish.
One of my brothers said go after a storm.
All of the above from all posters is good advice.
If I can add, get yourself a good yabby pump and sieve to stop you shelling out your hard earned on packaged bait.
Also, fish as light as possible and use smallish hooks.
You can catch a big fish on a small hook but not the other way round.
Finally take a small esky so you've got something to sit on, don't forget a few tinnies and use the ice slurry to keep your catch fresh.
As everyone has pointed out above, fresh bait is best.
All through Narrabeen Lagoon is heaps of ribbon weed in the shallow edges. Get a prawn net or similar and drag it throughthe weed for several meters until the net is half ful of the weed and dump it on the bank. Sift through it and you will find heaps of shrimp (baby prawn). The whiting and bream love em.
Another one is mullet creek, down from the caravan park and goes under Pittwater road behind the high school. Catch live poddy mullet in there and use them as live bait for flathead in the holes just out the front anywhere between the 2 bridges.
Either way Ben, kick back and enjoy yourself with a line in your hand and a few coldies.
Thanks for the suggestions everyone, I reckon I've got my head around it now. Easter's looking like an ideal time to dust off the hardware and give it a good crack. I'll let you know how I go!
So on the weekend, I got a bag of prawns (shrimps?), as "they are the most popular", according to the guy at the deli. Headed off to the beach an hour before full tide, and found a deep gutter all to myself. Baited the hook (number 2's) with a medium sinker and began the process: cast/temporary wait/pull slack/temporary wait/slowly reel in.
Over the next hour, around five or six other fishermen rocked up and cast their lines too - and suddenly they started reeling in salmon and tailor. Sometimes double headers. But I wasn't catching a thing - not even a bite. And I was casting into the same gutter region too.
One of the guys took pity on me and suggested I try some of his pilchards (instead of shrimp) but that didn't work either. After an hour and a half I gave up. He said it's often hit and miss but I seemed to be the only one missing!
Any suggestions? Should I try different hooks/bait, different casting methods, or is it just a case of being persistent?
sometimes thats just the way it is.....did u have sunscreen residue on your hands? tranferring minute traces to your bait is known to repel fish.....a good sand hand scrub prior to baiting up removes most of the oily film and scent.....many moons ago i witnessed same scenario ,jetty full of fishos  one or two used brylcreem in there hair,couldnt get a bite.....while the other fishos bagged out......just a thought.
Are you hinting that Ben uses brylcream Victor? I can confirm he does to keep his noggin clean and shiny ;)
Jeez, that might well be the case victor. Although I'm sure my crappy technique might also have something to do with it.
Actually Craig, my shiny head comes naturally! It doesn't require any product enhancement.
What size sinker did the other guys use? Sometimes fish like Tailor & Salmon are feeding near the surface. Try casting out a pilly without a sinker & let it drift with the current or slowly retrieve it.
Wear polarised sunglasses if your fishing shallow areas so its easier to see any structure like rocks,weed beds or deeper holes. Fish like hanging out around spots like that especially if it's surrounded by barren areas of sand. Flathead will sit right along the edge of weed beds where it meets the sand & just out of the current behind rocks. Walk along casting near weed beds, rocks & into any deeper holes.
With Bream your better off chasing them at night with pillies or mullet fillet if you cant get live bait. Try find an area with some structure, rocks, logs, bridge pylons anything that will hold fish. Scout around during the day with your polaroids. Then come back at night & fish the last two hours of the run up tide, the slack water & the first of the run out.
If guys are catching fish & your not pay close attention to the rigs they are using, length of trace, sinker,hook size & type.
Get a landing net if your chasing Flathead, nine times out of ten they will throw the hook if you try to lift them from the water on the line.
Without one you will be pissed seeing your first 100cm flatty swimming away.
Dont worry about the Salmon & Tailor they taste like shit anyway.:)
Just be persistent, fish often & you'll get the places you fish figured out. The right place at the right stage of the tide, which fish hang out where & when, rigs & bait it all takes time.
I picked up one of these a couple of months ago for chasing Flathead on the sand flats down the river.
The tips so far are all good.however follow the_b's real practical info.
If beach fishing start on small days or head down to colloroy where it's smaller so you can feel the bites.
Prawns are good but they don't stay on the hook as well as beach worms so get a couple of different baits.
Whiting dart bream and flathead are often in the shorey right at you feet so cast behind the shorey and let the wave action slowly wash your line in.
Make sure you keep your line tight so you can feel the bites by slowly reeling in.
After a few days when the fish are biting you will learn to tell the difference between the waves washing your and fish hitting your bait.
I recommend fishing the lagoon or the beaches before hitting the rocks because it cuts down on snags and re-rigging of lines.
I did spend some time in the area and remember long reef on the northern side as having some good litte reefs might be worth a look
Also south curley pool and the freshy pool where plces that people often fished.
Its a little bit like surfing watch where others go, explore for yourself and then have a crack.
Last hot tip, if you find a good bream hole in your travels then small strips of raw chicken breast might just yield a stonker. Goog luck.
Tailor and salmon come in in feeding schools at certain times of day and tidal phases.
You won't catch them on prawns.
It's most likely that by the time you got onto the pillies either a: the school had moved on or stopped feeding.
or b: you had the wrong rig. For pillies you need a gang hook set-up with light or no sinker.
The fact that you were in the right spot when fish were feeding is more than half the battle. Now you just need the right rig/bait and your apples.
Nothing wrong with the feed of fresh tailor, just make sure you bleed and kill the fish and get it chilled quickly.
tailor is ok to eat as long as you stick so much curry or chilli into it that you can not taste the fish at all.
Try a bait hanging about 6 foot off the bottom and hang a soft plastic a couple of foot above or below it, at least then if somthing finally starts knocking your baits off you have a chance with the soft plastic as well.
We get plenty of tailor and salmon when fishing baits on the bottom for jewies, a heavier weight might keep the bait in the strike zone longer than a lightly weighted one, in the surf. It won't get washed in as quickly.
did you notice how far out the other guys were casting? sometimes the fish might be feeding some way further out than just the back of the shorey. The other guys might have been using 12ft rods which lets them cast further than a 8ft rod might. The stiffness of the rod also plays a part in the cast distance.
I do like pan fried tailor fillets, they have good flavour, but they have to be fresh, like caught that day and kept cool.
Alright, I'm gonna give it another crack. I think the problem was (a) bait choice, and (2) rig setup.
the_b: I was casting into about the same spot (off the shoreline) but they were slightly closer to the edge of the bank/gutter than I was. They did have slightly bigger rods too although I didn't see that as being a problem.
Yeah, ideally you want to fish that edge of the bank/foam, predators use the foam to ambush prey and the water movement stirs up food for other fish. Don't usually get much in the clear water in the middle of the foam.
Did you end up catching a fish Ben ?
Any fishing stories out there, let's have 'em. Latest, greatest catches. Unlikely events. Shit witnessed while wetting a line or shooting a shaft through an unfortunate fishes brain. Bring it on.
my brother in law was surfing Waitpinga and a 2 foot salmon jumped on to his board.paddled in with tea.
Nup! Lost all enthusiasm after that. Still keen to give it a go but kinda don't know where/how to restart.
Go fishing on days when the local fishmonger gets a fresh catch in. Hit the local cafe early for coffee and croissants and a slow read of the paper (I'm assuming you don't read Murdoch's rags). Call in to the fisher on the way home and pick up that 3 kg snapper or a few bream, the misses will think you are champion.
Tailor, Aussie Salmon and Dart all taste pretty crap cooked normally especially if not bleed and put on ice, but you make really good fish cakes from them especially Thai fish cakes, just steam them whole and you can easily peel out the flesh.
I love my fishing almost as much as surfing I go through phases but when I'm into it i go crazy and have even passed up perfect waves in OZ and Indo just for a fishing fix.
ozzie salmon are nice if you bleed them and smoke them with manuka chips.
I once saw a giant squid - hood 6' , tentacles another 6', - in 4 feet of a crystal clear sand bottomed , tropical lagoon in NWWA whilst casting a line. I thought they were a deep water species !
Also had an oceanic white tip sharp steal a hooked trevally that was a metre from the waters edge in the same area - oceanic white tips aren't meant to come any shallower than the shelf.
Thai fish cakes are The Bomb. Tailor are great sport.
Too bad , Ben. As a surfer, fishing is a great way to connect with the ocean and get a supremely healthy, organic feed. Not to mention good fun.
Salmon are fun too.
A salmon jumping on to a board is the sort of unlikely shit I'm trying to dig up. Nice work.
Any more fishing or fish cooking tips, keep them coming. I love that shit. Cheers fellas.
No problem at all with tailor/dart/salmon just bleed and keep fresh/cool before cooking, I personally love the stronger flavour of tailor dart and salmon ,especially if used for fishcakes patties. I find keep it simple where im from SE qld fish with light tackle 6-8lb try to fish dawn and dusk with fresh bait either worms or pippies.
also you dont have to hoik your bait out the back of the surf, youll often find fish close to shore especially in low light conditions
Yeah for dart and sand whiting, cocky salmon, the best spot is normally just behind the shore break as they feed in the areas where the sand is getting all stirred up and food can be exposed from wave action, sometimes thats only a few metres cast out.
I actually think a little swell action is also a good time to fish for these species, not too much swell but sometimes when its flat its no good as there feeding area is more spread out, a one to two foot shorie is perfect, and obviously fishing in gutters and edge of rips and edge of sand banks, sometimes you can even cast onto the edge of an almost exposed sand bank and the wave will wash your bait off it, then sometimes wham.
IMO perfect conditions is offshore or any light winds a small swell running and hopefully no loose weed in the water, dawn or dusk are good but anytime of the day can get fish, tide depends on gutters but generally low-half incoming is best especially somewhere thats filling up a hole or gutter.
For whiting dart, cocky salmon and other smaller beach fish, i like to fish with a double paternoster rig, as if you loose one bait (on cast or wave action or bite) you still have another, also lots of these species move in schools, so you often get double hook ups, sinker depends on swell etc, but i try to fish as light as possible, especially for whiting, dart are also heaps of fun on light line/light sinker set ups.
Double hook paternoster rigs are also good because you can mix up your bait and see whats working best.
Bait, my favs are beach worms and pipis, both ideally collected fresh, for both these baits i like bait saving hooks, they have those little barbs that hold your bait on better, sorry forget the sizes i use. (getting beach worms requires quite a bit of skill but once you get it, its pretty satisfying)
For Tailor and Aussie Salmon, I normally cast out a little further into ideal deeper water between shore and outer bank or into a mellow rip.
Again i use a paternoster rig but normally just a single or half pilchard on gang hooks, these are pretty much a must for tailor as those critters have sharp teeth and will bight you off.
Flattys pretty much anywhere anytime on anything, just depends if there around.
Jew fish/mulloway, i haven't had much luck targeting but got them when fishing for other species on dusk.
Also use to catch the odd reef fish when fishing up Fraser Island from the beach especially around areas of coffee rock.
Done a lot of spearing over the years and the funniest thing is watching a fisho stand more or less above the jewie hole and cast out as far as he can not knowing that the fish are within 3 meters of his feet,a lot of fish as in bream etc are in very shallow water on high tide.
Sounds like a fair crew of fishermen around. Great stories. Keep them coming. No one knows the coast like a surfer/ fisherman.
Anyone getting any fish out of this warm East Coast current ? I assumed the joint was fished out. I was wrong. Saw a small marlin caught a couple of hundred metres offshore a couple of days ago and today caught a decent Yellowfin at the same spot. Reports ? Let's hear them.
Here's a good article i came across today about the effect of weather on fishing.
went down to Flatrock thiis morning to take my daughter for a surf......soon as we got there I saw longtail tuna busting up just off the back of the ledge.
Only had a light rod, got spooled first cast.
Motto: always be prepared.
Pretty sure I got sharked this morning landing a tailor.......something big grabbed it and seconds later bit me off......coulda been a spaniard.
Lots of bait and fish around at the moment.
Really fishy over here right now Freeride .
Lots of tuna busting up in close on mid north coast.
Super warm water,maybe too clear though.
Hasn't got that oceanic blue that screams pelagics either.
A pro mate reckons he's been smashing the kingies in close.
Mate at The Bluff is sending me some mouth watering photos as well.
Just an amazing time of year.
Hook your tuna on a metal ?
Keep the line tense.... Make sure you're using enough lead... Have about 12 to 14 inches of line between the hook and sinker swivel.... Don't over complicate things... The fishing retail sector is just the same as the surfing retail sector.... You'll walk out of a fishing store $800 lighter in the pocket but all you need is a basic rod, an alvi reel, some number 4 shank hooks, a few swivels, and some sinkers..... Dont go suicide hooks... They really damage the smaller fish you release, often fatally.... In fact when fishing for small table fish in the surf, like whiting/bream/ flathead, I often clip the barb off..... It's not like you're fighting a bloody 18lb mulloway.... You just reel them in keeping the line tension tight.... It doesn't damage the smaller fish, they hook easier, and also makes for easy unhooking, rebaiting and casting, which can save on line tangles in the surf.....
Last tip.... ask around for what beaches have pippies in the sand..... That's all ya getting from me..... lol
Yeah agree with that Blowin,waters got to be 24 ,white bait, dolphins,birds working every where makes for an uncomfortable session,water wasnt that clear where i was though near coffs.
30 odd years ago a mate of mines dad owned most of the land across the road from Flat Rock to Boulder beach and my mate lived in the farmhouse. They kept horses right on the beachfron there. Sold out for squillions.
We used to stay there all the time, surfing, smoking and fishing. We'd get pippies and fish for dart and whiting on the incoming tide and get tailor on pillies. We'd buy a loaf of bread and cook the fillets on the open fire and make fish sandwiches. Also, that was the site of one of my worst wipe-outs I can remember, thought I was going to drown.
I really miss that area, wonder what it looks like now?
It's got a new name, Zen. Skennars head.
that's all Doc Stewarts land....the cow paddock between Flatrock and Skennars is still there but it's sold off too.
Blowin, caught longtail in green water, caught a 30 pound fish in the river fishing for jew off the walls.
Was using a little hard body to hook this tuna, which was what was on the rod at the time; they were busting up literally metres from the rocks.
MId north coast headlands are heaps better for rockfishing that up here....I'd kill for a Hat Head or a PLomer, or any of the headlands you get down there. Still, ours are heaps better for surfing.
Was Doc Stewart based in Sydney Free? Did he make a fortune in media?
I won't name names but if it's the same fellow, I knew his son through a QUT boardriders contact.
Cheers Lostdoggy, sure as hell didn't look like that from memory.
Zen and that photo of Lost ds is only a small part of the picture and when they build on Doc Stewarts land it will be wall to wall houses from Ballina to Lennox pretty much........ah those were the dayz .
Here's a good article i came across today about the effect of weather on fishing.
Here's a good article i came across today about the effect of weather on fishing.
I thought it was interesting hence posted it, but ive seen times where great fishing happens on all different barometric pressure, rising and falling, low & high and stable.
Plus what i don't understand is although air pressure has an effect on well the air above the water and the oceans surface, i would not have though the difference in pressure could be felt in the water especially considering water creates its own pressure which changes so much at different depths.
Or is it that the air pressure is added on top of the water pressure?...but even then you would expect the pressure difference wouldn't be that big....Mmmmm not sure...going to have to read more on this to get my head around it, but kinda skeptical.
A general rule of thumb, fish rising barometer.
Don't under rate Aussie salmon, bleed em and cut out the blood meat and they eat great.
Also have a crack at flatties in the still ish Beach gutters at low tide with plugs or plastics, not this I like plastics they a fiddly fuckers.
If you missus is menstrating, pinch a pair of her used knickers and rub your bait, lures with em. It's all about hormones and feramones vs testosterone.