Putting together a combo
  |  First Published: July 2003

This month we’re going to look at estuary fishing and how to put a good rod and reel combination together for bream, flathead, whiting and blackfish.

One good-quality rod and reel will catch all of these species in an estuary, whether you are fishing from a wharf, the bank or a boat. If you take your time and spend a little extra to get a quality outfit, it will last a long time and catch a lot of fish, especially if you look after it.

The type of outfit we are looking at here is what some would call a general-purpose outfit, which means it will be versatile and come in handy for quite a few estuary species. You can even use it outside from a boat for light spinning, but it is bait- and lure-fishing that we are talking about here.

The outfit I use for most of my estuary fishing is typical of what you should be looking for. The rod is around two metres long (6’6” to 7’) and is built for a threadline or spinning reel and 4kg to 6kg line. It has cork or EVA rubber grips and a graphite winch fitting to hold the reel in place. It has around six runners and a tip that are fixed securely with thread and epoxy.

The rod I use was one of my dads that he gave to me when he got a new one. It’s built on a Pacific Composites blank but there are a heap of rods around that are similar and will do the same job. Stick to the better-known brands like Shimano, Ugly Stik, Wilson, Silstar or Rex Hunt, and don’t even consider cheap outfits that are half the price. They are usually junk that falls apart and ends up costing you more when you have to buy a new one next year.

Same goes for reels. Go for the better stuff such as Shimano, TiCA, Banax, Daiwa and Shakespeare. You need something that will take about 150 metres or 4kg or 6kg line and if you go with the better gear, you can be sure it will have a smooth drag and infinite anti-reverse. It should also have a handle that won’t fall off after two trips. It might even have a spare spool so you can fish 6kg on one and 4kg on the other, which makes it very versatile.

Fill the reel with line and you should be ready to go estuary fishing for just about anything, especially the popular species that are easiest to catch. You can fish baits for bream, flathead and whiting and you can also spin for flathead and tailor. If you fish in a big estuary or bay you can also fish for squid so, as you can see, this outfit covers a lot of options.

Whenever you come home from fishing, you should wash you rod and reel in fresh water to get the salt off. Salt is the worst thing for rust and corrosion and it will eat your runners and reel away if you don’t wash it off. It also helps to wash the salt off your line and hook while you’re at it. Get your parents to add a few drops of oil to the reel now and then and your outfit should last a long while.

Next month we’ll look at some basic tackle like hooks, sinkers, trace line and a few lures for flathead.


A general-purpose estuary outfit can be used to bait-fish and also to spin. This flathead took a soft plastic lure.

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