Have fun with the kids
  |  First Published: December 2011

January is a busy time of year with families out enjoying the holiday season – so why not take the kids for a fish?

Too many kids these days are stuck in front of computers or the TV playing electronic games.

When I was a kid my parents would show me the front door and send me on my way. My friends and I would go down the local creek or pond and try to catch whatever moved, and we wouldn’t go home until dark.

Too many parents wrap their kids up in cotton wool and wonder why they get sick so easily. In America they call it nature deficit syndrome, and studies have shown that kids diagnosed with ADD are easier to talk to and communicate if they have spent some time in the outdoors before they are given medication.

So no excuses, grab your kids and introduce to them to the great outdoors and enjoy some quality time kids. I enjoy fishing with my kids and so should you.

Everywhere along the east coast will be fairly busy so it pays to pick the best time to go for a fish.

It’s likely to be very hot so I suggest fishing early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Check your tide chart and match the morning/afternoon session with a high tide and you should have good success.

Once the heat hits, go for a swim or just get indoors or in the shade out of the heat for a while.

The best thing about the morning/afternoon fishing session is that most people either haven’t started fishing or have just finished, so you don’t have to deal with crowds.


Wharves and jetties are good places to fish and you’re likely to find leatherjackets, bream, luderick, trevally, squid and other species.

The easiest way to catch most of these is with a 6’ light action rod and a threadline reel combo. You can also use a handline of about 3kg monofilament line.

Rod or handline, the rig is a size 6 long-shank hook with a small ball sinker about size 0 running freely above it.

The best bait is good quality Hawkesbury prawns or squid cut into strips.

Start off with whole prawns and if you find you are getting bites and winding in just an empty prawn shell, the leatherjackets are about.

If they are stealing your bait, peel the prawn and cut it up to put only enough prawn to cover the point of your hook and when the leatherjacket sucks your bait into its mouth, strike.

Leatherjackets are fun to catch, reasonable eating and they are easy to clean.

I often watch people fish from a wharf and they cast their bait half-way across the river. Most of the time the fish are right at their feet and with a bit of berley you will attract fish to the wharf.

On the pylons there is vegetation and creatures live and grow on the poles, attracting all types of fish. Fish close to the wharf for the best success.

Entrances to lakes are always good spots to fish because of the concentrated flow of water and fish.

Flathead like to lie in these areas. Bait enters or exits the lake and the flathead sit on the bottom waiting to ambush an unsuspecting meal.

You can use soft plastics and hard crankbaits to catch flathead. Cast the lure into the channel and retrieve it back.

Bream and whiting can also be caught in this area with the same lures or with prawns, whitebait, pilchards, worms, nippers or pipis.

The rig for here would be a ball or bean sinker, a No 10 swivel, 40cm of mono leader and a size 4 to 6 long-shank hook.

Mulloway can be caught here occasionally, depending on how deep the channel is – just upsize your lures.

Further into the lake, look for sandbanks, weed beds and any other fish-holding structure. Fish cruise along the edges of drop-offs looking for food so start fishing this area first and then work the deeper water.

There are plenty of places you can take the kids for a fish so get out there and enjoy one of Australia’s favourite pastimes.

We have spots available for kids in our Vacation Care Fishing Programs at various locations across Sydney and Newcastle. The program runs from 10am to 2pm and costs $25 per child. Email us or call 0413 032 217. I’m always happy for readers to send me pictures of their captures, just make sure they are alive and being handled correctly.

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