Practice Makes Perfect…
  |  First Published: December 2010

Summer storms will stir things up and can bring on a good bite session, but don’t get caught out. ‘One last cast’ has seen me stranded out in the thick of some nasty weather…

Amazing summer whiting have been reeled in throughout the Passage over the last month, and good sizes will continue to be caught. Use small live prawns for bait to catch the thumper whiting; this will help eliminate catching the smaller ones. If you can’t get live prawns try soldier crabs or bloodworms, this will guarantee a great fishing trip.

For the keen and dedicated anglers I suggest giving surface lures a crack. They really do get results, however you need a lot of time and persistence. I have recently been trying to prefect this style of fishing, with not a great deal of success, but I intend to keep trying and will keep you informed step by step as I crack the code. It’s not an easy technique to perfect and any help is good help. Expect other species of fish to also jump on your lure, like bream, flathead and trevally.

Surface lure fishing is the most exciting way of getting a fish to bite. Keep your eyes peeled for small boils behind the lure and fish following your lure up to the boat.

I have seen some nice size flathead coming out of the passage recently, maybe not the world’s biggest and best fish, but there are still some good sizes there. I’ve had a few flicking sessions on the flathead that have been hard work, but after chipping away we eventually got good results, proving you just have to work for them at this time of year.

If you’re using soft plastics you can tell if it’s a large fish – through your line you will get a sharp violent tick, which is the actual bite, then after that there is nothing much, give it 2-3 seconds then set the hook as the big fish clamp the plastic in their mouth. I learnt that you need to set the hook hard, even double set it. Following this technique will ensure a better hook up and less lost fish at the boat. It takes a bit of getting use to but once you’ve put it to practice, you’ll find yourself setting the hook much better and landing more fish. You need good knots and confidence in them.

Most anglers in the Passage don’t realise the amazing reef fish available at our doorstep. Snapper, mangrove jack, grassy emperor, jew and estuary cod are there for the taking using bait and plastics.

In most situations, a flathead plastic fishing outfit is all you need to catch these quality fish, you will just need to beef up your line and leader size to a minimum of 20lb and ensure your leader line is 100% fluoro carbon.

If fishing around structure, tighten your drag and pull quite hard in the first stage of the fight, this is where you’ll win or lose – and nobody wants to be a looser.

And don’t forget the prawns. They will start to show up this month although not in great numbers or size. For the bait fishers there is no better bait. All you need is a cast net and a bucket; it doesn’t get much easier than that. It’s great fun for the kids because there’s a lot of action catching them and getting them out of the net. My daughter is only 2yo and she loves cast netting.

Prawns can be used many different ways to catch fish. My favourite is live, but you can peel them and put them on whole or chop them up and use them in pieces, there is not a fish in the Passage that won’t eat a prawn.

February through to March will see the quality prawns school up. All the creeks in the passage will hold prawns but my pick is Glassy Creek. This is because it has very few snags to destroy your net and it has the best low tide access. Last year we saw the best size prawns in years, although we only had a small window of opportunity due to some very wet weather, fingers crossed it doesn’t happen again this season.

And remember that the small prawns freeze well in a good air tight container for great bait all year round.

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