Man Fishing River


Everyone has their favourite fishing spots. The areas that you know like the back of your hand, where you know the fish behaviour and have spent years refining your techniques to deliver success every time you fish. This makes for some enjoyable fishing, pulling catch after catch out of the water. But sometimes we need a change. It is good to explore new systems to test ourselves and improve as anglers. A new system might take some getting used to and the first day or two may not yield results but with these top tips, you will be pulling fish out of a new and unfamiliar system in no time at all.


The first phase of fishing a new system should take place on your laptop. Use Google Earth to look at the area and familiarise yourself with the locations of boat ramps, structure, deep bends, drains, sand and rock bars, creek mouths, and possibly hazardous rapids. Aside from ensuring your safety in the new system, this will also let you apply your knowledge of your chosen species and pinpoint potential fish hideouts where you might find some success.


When you are fishing a new system, you want a setup and arsenal that can be quickly transported. Once you locate fish and get a feel for the system, you can bring your more specialised outfits and get more specific with your tackle. However, when you are starting off, choose tackle that is easy to transport, so you can quickly move to a new area if you aren’t getting any action. A lightweight 1-3kg setup is versatile enough to handle most scenarios estuary waters and freshwater systems will throw at you. You don’t need anything fancy, just take something convenient, versatile, and reliable.


If you arrive at your chosen location and find another fisho there, this is a good sign; it might indicate that local fishos have already got this area pinned as a hive of fish activity and your research online has paid off. It also gives you the opportunity to observe. Look at what lure they are using, their retrieve and where they are casting in relation to the wind and structure. Start up a conversation. You have a great opportunity to broaden your fishing horizons and learn some strategies which will give you a headstart in the new system.


Fishing shallow areas first is one strategy many fishos like to employ. Shallower water generally has better visibility, which can help you pinpoint your casts. Fish in these areas are also generally easier to catch and once you get the first catch under your belt, the confidence boost should set you up nicely for the rest of the day.


If you aren’t sure about what structure there is, go somewhere with man-made structure; start on a bridge. They can get busy with anglers but bridges are a great place to start because the shade and structure attract baitfish. These baitfish hiding under the bridge bring in a host of predatory species, including Mangrove Jack, Jewies and Trevally. Throwing some lures out around bridges is always a good place to start if you are unsure.


If you can see the bottom and the conditions are clear, use a lure you have tried-and-tested in clear conditions. When you reach a new system, you won’t have many indications of what lure to start on. Go for lures which match the conditions, or versatile lures that you have enjoyed success on in the past. Just because you are fishing a new system doesn’t mean you have to try out new lures too. Stick to what you know and trust.


Anywhere you find a creek mouth; you are bound to find some predatory species. In the Northern Territory, Barramundi are quite happy to sit at the mouths taking whatever the creek flushes out. In southern Queensland, Mangrove Jack, Jewfish and Trevally will do the same. Find the creek mouths and you’ll find the predatory species.

These might sound like common sense but I am always surprised how often fishos lose their heads and forget the basics when they are transported to a new location. When you don’t know the location, the only thing you have to go on is common sense and the fish-finding basics. Remember this and keep asking yourself, “why am I fishing this location? What is it about this place that will attract fish?” If you can’t give a definitive answer to these questions, move on, cover more water and try your luck somewhere else.


Do you have any tips for fishing a new system? Let us know in the comments section below.

Jackson Williams

Jackson Williams has been fishing around Australia for 20 years and loves his home region of far north Queensland.