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It’s really kids’ stuff
  |  First Published: July 2011



It’s one of those things a lot of us take for granted, going fishing. But why not take your kids, niece, nephew or your little brother or sister?

I find it most rewarding when I have taught a young person, whether it is my own kids or the kids I teach daily, to enjoy the sport of fishing and catching fish.

There are plenty of spots you can take them and potentially catch a few fish and maybe even dinner. Kids are our future when it comes to the survival of our favourite pastime.

Many kids these days are stuck inside the house playing computer games and on social networks, not having adventures in our great outdoors.

In my eyes kids that sit in front of a television or computers every day after school tend to become antisocial and distant from their families. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no harm if games or computer time is in moderation.

I am going to help you take your family out for some quality time on the water.

GETTING STARTED

It can be as easy as buying a couple of handlines or some cheap 6’ rod-and-reel combos loaded with 6lb to 10lb line.

If you are going to go fishing with the family regularly I suggest paying a little more for the gear because it will last you longer if you look after it.

Just go into your local fishing tackle shop and staff will be happy to help you out.

Next, you need to buy some tackle – hooks, sinkers, swivels, floats, etc.

In the estuary I like to use long-shank hooks from No 1 down to No 10. These are good for baits such as prawns and worms.

Choose ball sinkers size 0 to 1, depending on the conditions. Whenever possible use the lightest sinker you can and let it run freely on the line.

Thread the sinker onto the line and then tie on your hook for the simplest rig. Or thread the sinker, and then tied to a swivel and on the other end tie another piece of line 20cm to 50cm long and then your hook.

Bait comes in all shapes and forms and essentially you want to make sure the bait is relevant to the fish you are trying to catch.

Worms are good bait hard for the fish to remove from the hook without hooking themselves.

Hawkesbury prawns are the best because they are better quality than the other types you can buy. If you can get them fresh, even better, but frozen will still work.

Chicken gut and mullet gut are both smelly. I guess that is why they work so well. Cut it into pieces like a worm and wrap it around the hook. The contents will slowly disperse and act like burley.

Pilchards can be used whole or cut into halves. Leftover pilchards can be taken home, salted and frozen to use again later.

Squid is tough bait and can be nearly impossible to get off the hook; cut it into strips or use the small ones whole.

Bait can be purchased from most petrol stations near the water but I tend to stay away from their bait because unless there’s a high turnover it is usually frostbitten and old. Buy your bait at bait and tackle stores that sell fresh bait and occasionally live bait.

WHERE

There are hundreds of spots around Sydney where you can take the family fishing that have public toilets, barbecues and kids’ playgrounds.

Some of my favourites include Putney Park on the Parramatta River, Lynne Park at Rose Bay, Kesterton Park at North Sydney, Clifton Gardens at Mosman and Narrabeen Lake at Narrabeen, just to name a few.

I like to fish two hours before the high tide and two hours after the high tide. Match that with sunrise or sunset and you should have some good times. You can go fishing anytime but your success rate will increase if you work around these times.

Fish you will most likely catch at the abovementioned spots are bream, flathead, whiting, flounder, leatherjackets, trevally and kingfish (Rose Bay, North Sydney and Clifton Gardens) and tailor.

All of these are great eating fish but remember to take only what you need to feed the family, not everything you catch. Find out the bag and size limits for the species you are most likely to catch by grabbing a Saltwater Guide at your local tackle store or visit the NSW Fisheries website. For more information on introducing fishing to young people email me or visit www.younggunsfishing.com.au.

And remember, when you have finished fishing, clean up your mess and don’t leave any rubbish lying around.

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