Jetty Fishing


I used to carry my whole tackle box with me every time I went anywhere. I wasn’t sure what I would need and would spend the whole day on the jetty trialling different lures and baits and hoping something would work. Not only was my whole tackle box a hassle to drag everywhere with me, but my strategy of constantly changing my lure and hoping something worked was counterproductive.

I have since drastically downsized the amount of tackle I bring with me to the jetty. Now I just bring a couple of Longshanks in a baitholder style, in the 2/0 size and a couple of other options for when I need all-rounders.

Just in case some bigger beasts arrive for lunch unexpectedly, I make sure I have a couple of gang hooks in the 4/0 and 1/0 sizes. Even with my jig heads and plastics, lip grips and pliers, the whole thing weighs less than 2kg. A lot less than the box I used to carry to the jetty.


Because of the abundance of baitfish which gather around structures, I just catch the bait I need for the day. I usually keep it straightforward for this. I throw a jig on my main line with a sinker and start jigging it once it hits the bottom.

Some fishos prefer to use a net. I have used a hoop net for collecting bait and found it to be pretty successful. Lower it into the water and then throw some burley (leftover crab shells, prawns, bread and tuna do the trick) over the top of it. If you add some sand to the mixture, it will take it a little deeper as the sand sinks and draw out more baitfish from below the surface. Once they are feeding over the net, snap it up quickly and you have your baitfish.

You can keep any extra baitfish for another day of fishing. Just salt a plastic container and layering the fillets over the top. Put another layer of salt on the top and it will last a few days. Just rinse off the excess salt and you’re good to go.

If you want to pick some up from your local bait shop, there are also plenty of good frozen bait options. If I’m in a hurry, I will sometimes just grab some combo packs of frozen squid and prawns.

If the kids are out with us, we sometimes go on an adventure in search of fresh bait. We take to the rock pools to fill our bucket of crabs. Once you have them collected, keep them out of direct sunlight. If they are going to be in the bucket for a long period of time, put a frozen bag of peas or milk bottle or something in the bucket to keep the water cooler for longer.


When jetty fishing, it isn’t uncommon to have some strange and nasty critters turn up on the end of your line. Stonefish and the ironically named, Happy Moment, are pretty common and have a pretty horrible sting. If you take one on your line, get it close to the railing with care, and get a mate to cut it off with a knife. Don’t try and do it yourself as there is more margin for error.

Always be safe on the jetty, especially with kids about. I would go as far as to make sure my kids are wearing auto inflatable PFDs. People do fall in and the thought of my kids falling in without a life jacket is not a good one. These days, there are great models on the market that are comfortable to wear all day.


Is there anything you want to add to this article? Share your experience through the comments section below.

Peter Hollingsworth
Peter Hollingsworth

Peter has been fishing all around Australia since he was a boy. He loves camping, fishing and kayak fishing.