Chasing slime-suckers
  |  First Published: August 2003

This month we’re going to look at fishing for blackfish in estuaries with floats and green weed.

Fishing for blackfish with floats used to be something that old pensioners did but down our way the young kids do it also because it is fun and catches fish. It might seem complicated and boring but believe me, it’s not.

The tackle you need to chase blackfish this way includes a fairly light rod about 2.5 metres or three metres long with a small threadline reel and 6kg line. The float slides down the main line with a sinker under it and then a small swivel. Under the swivel you tie a metre of 4kg trace to a No 6 or No 8 hook such as a Gladiator Viking, Mustad 540 or Youvella 11716.

The float should be weighted with lead so that just the top is sitting out of the water, as this makes it easier for a fish to pull it under when it takes the bait. A rubber stopper or a bunchy knot of fishing line or light twine above the float keeps the bait at a pre-set level. It can be a bit fiddly getting rigged up but I leave my blackfish outfit rigged up all the time so it is always ready, which makes things heaps easier.

Some people like to collect their own weed from drains and creeks but it’s much easier to buy it from a bait or tackle shop. It costs only a couple of dollars for a heap of weed that you can use for bait and berley. Pick the nice, green juicy strands for bait and you can cut up the rest and mix it with sand as berley. When you’re fishing, you just chuck a handful of sand and weed in every five minutes to attract the fish and keep them interested.

Most rivers and estuaries along the NSW coast have blackfish and the next few months are when they will start to come on the bite. You can fish from the ocean rocks (careful there!), estuary rock walls or from wharves.

If you aren’t sure where to fish or if blackfish are around, just have a look at how other people are fishing. If there are people fishing with floats and catching them then you will know that you are in the right spot.

If you aren’t sure how to rig up or what to do, just ask your local tackle shop or one of the anglers catching blackfish. They are usually happy to show young kids what to do and help them.

You plait a few strands of weed down the hook and leave a centimetre or two trailing behind for these small-mouthed fish to start sucking on. When the float goes under, lift the rod tip and wind the slack out of the line to set the hook. Blackfish range from about 300g to 700g and they fight pretty hard. If you are fishing from a wharf, it helps if you have a landing net because you’ll lose a few trying to lift them out. It also helps to have a keeper net that so you can keep them alive in the water before you clean them.

Blackfish fillets done in egg and breadcrumbs taste great, so why not get out and have a go at a new fishing technique and show that old blokes that juniors can fish, too!

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