Trade tips
  |  First Published: April 2011

Each month I and all other writers for NSWFM report on what should be happening for the month in their area.

The information comes from a number of sources. They include time spent on the water by the writers and by some of their mates. And anglers like your send us emails of your exploits. And it all comes together so that every angler, including me, can try to improve our time on the water.

It may be information like what is on the chew for that month, places to go, new tackle available and different techniques to try out.

This month and next month I’ve put together some different tips you could try the next time you are out on the water.

While fishing from a boat for kingfish with pilchards or garfish on ganged hooks, I like to keep my rod tip high. This will increase the angle of the line so that it allows you to skip the bait across the surface, just as you see pilchards that are trying to get away from predatory fish.

This can also be done with soft plastics.

Another little trick is to put a pink squid skirt over the nose of the bait to add an extra attraction.

I always make sure the top hook in the gang has a straight eye, not turned up or down, so I can attach a swivel. The Mustad 4200 is the classic example of a ganging hook for this.

The swivel eliminates the need to have a swivel further back up the line and will stop your line twisting.

If I am using a lighter main line, say 3kg, only then will I have a swivel 30cm to 40cm further up the line. This allows me to have a much heavier leader or trace down to the top swivel on the set of gangs.


Remember that estuary leatherjackets have very small mouths and a sharp set of teeth.

You are best to use hooks with a small gape (No 8 to No 12) to fit in their mouths and a long shank to stop bite-offs.

The bait should cover only the bend of the hook; there is no need to run it up the shank.

For estuary leatherjackets I always use a paternoster rig with one or two hooks. The sinker should be heavy enough to put a slight curve in the rod tip.

Once I have baited up I fold over the bail arm, allowing the sinker to hit the bottom, then I immediately wind up so the sinker is just off the bottom to put that slight curve in the rod tip.

It is then just a matter of waiting for the leatherjacket to bite and then striking upwards to hook the fish.

When you feel the weight of the leatherjacket you will need to keep the rod tip up, lowering it only when the leatherjacket tries to swim off.


When targeting silver trevally I bait up with pink nippers, peeled prawns, bloodworms, tube and beach worms and small narrow pieces of squid. Silver trevally have soft, toothless mouths so I always peel a prawn before I put it on the hook and I ensure the hook point is clear of the bait. I then put a couple of half hitches around the tail of the prawn.

When using a pink nipper or a worm I start threading the hook into the bait about 1cm from the end. This allows me to tie a couple of half hitches around the tail, stopping it from sliding down the hook or flying off when I cast.

When you arrive at your chosen spot, start your berley trail and rig up your line so the small ball sinker runs straight down to the hook.

Then just drop your bait into the berley trail and slowly feed it out.

The trick is being able to stay in contact with the bait as you slowly feed it out with the current.

When you feel a bite or extra weight on the bait, drop the rod tip to allow the trevally to take the bait down. Then lift the rod tip sharply to set the hook.


When at anchor fishing for whiting, bream, flathead, trevally and the like, it is always worth the effort of rigging up a blue or white pilchard, garfish or a strip of squid and weighting it with a small ball sinker. Cast it as far as you can and set it in one of your rod holders.

The current and your berley trail will help attract salmon and tailor and next thing you know, your line will start to scream off.

Tailor have plenty of teeth but I have been bitten only once.

I was in the process of landing a tailor around 1.5kg and I swung the fish up to my chest to grab hold of it. To my surprise, it went down inside my jacket and bit me. Everyone thought that was very funny.

I still swing tailor up to my chest to grab them but I now make sure that my jacket is done right up!


If the water is a bit choppy when targeting luderick in the estuaries, I weight my float so that the whole of the stem above the cork is out of the water. This allows me to easily see the float as it drifts around.

I paint the top part of my float a very bright colour, which helps me see when the float goes under.

If the water is very calm I set the float much lower in the water, to allow the luderick to pull the float under much easier.

The only disadvantage is that it gets a bit harder see as it floats away.

I prefer to use small spit shot to weight the float but remember to set them evenly and don’t crimp them so tight that they might cut the line.

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