It’s all child’s play
  |  First Published: November 2009

Holidays are just a cast away so it is time to start thinking of planning some fishing trips.

If you have kids you will need to tailor a holiday that is kid-friendly and this usually means a spot of estuary fishing or getting down to a suitable beach.

Estuaries are great places to get kids into fishing because there is usually plenty going on during the warmer months.

Most kids are just happy to catch ‘something’ and a few undersized bream, flathead, tailor or even yellowtail will result in ear-to-ear grins.

Yellowtail frequent wharves and jetties and can be caught with small long-shank hooks baited with tiny pieces of cut prawn.

If you are a switched-on angler, those yellowtail could easily be kept alive in a bucket with a battery-powered aerator, to be used for ‘Dad time’ later. A night beach jewfish mission or maybe an offshore kingfish sortie would be appropriate.

Kids are always fascinated with a bunch of live fish swimming around in a bucket.

Wading the shallow sand flats for whiting is another good option, if you can get some beach worms for bait.

You will usually run into a number of undersized fish before you score a legal (27cm), but again the key is quantity, not quality when it comes to kids and fishing.

Get the kids some cheap polarised sunglasses and they will even be able to see whiting scooting about on the flats.

If you have older kids and need to find something more substantial to impress them, a beach session on salmon is worthwhile.

Pilchards fished on ganged hooks, or metal lures cast into the surf will do the trick and the fish are generally pretty prolific this time of year.

Try to be on the water with a rising tide in the morning or evening and you will increase your chances of success.


Recently a few mates have got the monkeys off their backs with some nice fish captures.

Andrew ‘Woof’ Badullovich, Ben Roberts and Ray Smith all recently scored their first daytime estuary jewfish on plastics.

Ben Roberts has been one of the unluckiest anglers through many years of trying for that elusive jewie. He had hooked plenty of fish, been present when other anglers have landed them but never managed to get one to stay on the hook.

That all changed recently when he pinned a 6kg fish on the first cast of the morning. It was promptly released, and then he followed up with a fantastic 14kg fish that took 20 minutes to subdue.

Woof also scored a sensational 14kg jewie fishing with Steve Starling, who also released a pair of 10kg fish in the same session.

Ray Smith has had a good run off the rocks on jewfish this year but just could not seem to translate that success to the river until now. He managed to nail fish going 5.5kg and 12kg, with the smaller of the two released.

Night angling with live yellowtail or fresh squid has also been producing some fine fish. Jason Slabberkorn got a double header of 11kg fish at 2am on squid so it isn’t all plastics that are currently bringing success.

In the short time that estuary netting has been banned in the Clyde jewfish numbers have been bouncing back in a big way, which is a really exciting thing for the future, considering the speed in which the fish can grow.

Jason sent a number of jewfish otoliths – ‘jewels’ or ear bones – to Fisheries to get them aged and the results were impressive. One fish, around 15kg, was only six years old.

With knowledge like that I cannot wait to see how the Clyde will be faring in another five years.


James Furlong was also breaking ducks of his own on the rocks with his first success on a land based snapper with a respectable 3kg red.

Jim has been fishing hard for a decent snapper for a few years now and he has lost some good ones along the way, so it was good to see him finally land one. It was all the more sweet having his son Travis by his side to witness the event.

The rocks have been fishing quite well at a time of the year when it should be well and truly over for the year. Fish from 4kg to 7kg have continued to hit the stones for those willing to put in the hard work.

Pelagic fish should be in the area this month with kingfish, bonito, striped tuna and the odd surface-cruising shark along the coast and marlin and yellowfin tuna around the continental shelf.

Mahi mahi may also put in an early appearance if the water temps and currents prove favourable.

Ben Roberts scored this sensational 14kg jewfish in the Clyde River recently during one of the best runs of jewfish the river has experienced in years.

Ray Smith also got in on the jewfish action with a very respectable 12kg fish.

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