ESTUARY FISHING 101
Estuaries and their surrounding wetlands are bodies of water usually found where rivers meet the sea. In Australia, there are lots of good estuary fishing spots you can visit. If you’re targeting Jewfish, Seabream, Snapper, Whiting and other common estuarine species, then all you need is a little know-how and the necessary gear for a great adventure.
Estuary fishing in Australia is an excellent choice for a lot of different reasons, including the opportunity to catch a variety of species, and is also one of the most popular fishing environments among Aussie anglers. If you’re new to fishing, then read on to find out some of the basics to fishing an estuary.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT ROD AND REEL
Choosing the right rod and reel combination will significantly influence your success when estuary fishing. Getting a balanced outfit will make your fishing more comfortable and enjoyable over long periods. Fishing rod and reel combos are always a good choice for beginners.
In most cases, casting long distances when estuary fishing isn’t necessary. So, go for a rod that is around 6-7 feet in length. If you’re fishing from the bank, a 7 foot rod will normally do the job. If you’re fishing from a boat, then go for a shorter boat rod because they’re more convenient in a confined space. As for reels, go for anything that balances with your rod and the fish you want to catch. A size 2500 spinning reel on a light fishing rod is always a good place to start.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT LINE
Choosing the right line is also crucial to the success of your estuary fishing. As a general rule, use light line where possible. If you are fishing over a rough bottom and near snags or bridge pylons, it’s recommended to go for a slightly heavier or braided fishing line.
Make sure to wind the line onto your reel firmly and fill it to the correct level (that will be just below the lip of the spool). When retrieving line, make sure to avoid loose coils to ensure that your next cast will be smooth.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT TACKLE
When going estuary fishing, you don’t have to have an extensive range of tackle. A basic selection of hooks, sinkers and swivels should be sufficient when fishing on bait. Lures are also increasingly popular with Aussie anglers. Keep in mind that using the right lure increases your chances of catching big fish, but for a lure to work, it needs to mimic the actions of live fish. You need to understand the design features and capabilities of the different lures you use to maximise their full potential.
• If you’re attaching bait to the hook, make sure to leave the point and barb exposed to give the hook the most chance to penetrate.
• Use the ‘lean and wind’ technique when hooking a fish while keeping the rod up high as you play the fish. Let the rod tip work your lunges and jerks, but always be ready to give line if needed.
• The best retrieval method for lures will depend on the lure and the fish you’re targeting. For example, Whiting will usually strike at slow-moving lures, so slow down a bit when you retrieve the lure. Pausing and twitching lures at short intervals will always get your target fired up.
There is always something new to learn when fishing. These are just some tips that should help you on your way to enjoying your new-found hobby.
Is there anything you would like to add to this article to help beginners fishing in estuaries? Share your thoughts below.