QUICK GUIDE TO WHARF FISHING
Wharves are among the most accessible fishing structures for anglers. They provide a stable platform for family fishing excursions and direct access to the water. Wharves are also a great place for young or new anglers to hone their fishing skills and refine techniques. Here are a few tips to enhance your wharf fishing experience.
CAST YOUR FISHING LINE CLOSE TO THE WHARF
Wharves provide water access well beyond the shoreline, so there’s no need for enormous casts into the abyss. Although the odd Bream or Flathead can be caught in deep open water, most estuary fish are found closer to shore. Target casts at drop-offs, deep holes, artificial structure, boats, unusual features or sand patches among the weed.
THE FISH ARE HOLDING BENEATH THE WHARF
More often than not, the fish are holding right beneath your feet. Species such as Bream, Leatherjacket, and Luderick love to lurk among wharf structure. The submerged and encrusted pylons are usually alive with baitfish, crustaceans, molluscs, and aquatic weeds and provide the perfect feeding ground for these fish species. Fishing productivity can dramatically increase by simply dropping baits straight down among the pylons.
USE THE CURRENT ADVANTAGE
Pay close attention to tidal current around wharves and use it to your advantage. Use the current to carefully drift baits under boat hulls, wharf structures and likely fish holding spots without risking entanglements or snags. Recast or reset your line if it drifts into an unfavourable position. Adjust the size of sinkers to fine-tune the effects of current. Use light sinkers for more drift and heavy sinkers to keep baits locked in position.
GET HOOKED ON THE LONG SHANK
Long shank hooks are a great hook choice for fishing wharves. The long shank allows plenty of room for worm and prawn baits, while the small hook gape easily slides into fish mouths. The long shank also provides additional security against toothy or abrasive fish species such as Leatherjacket or Flathead. Other common hook patterns for fishing wharves include baitholder, suicide and Kendal Kirby.
WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT
Keep in mind that not all fish lurk and feed on the bottom. A number of common species such as Mullet and Garfish prefer to feed at the surface. For hours of surface entertainment, you just have to clip on a float and adjust the depth of your bait. Watching a float bob up and down is also a visually exciting fishing option for the kids. Test the potential for surface fishing action by tossing out a floating piece of bread and monitor for activity.
Estuary rod and reel combos are great tools for wharf fishing. However, handlines can also be an extremely cheap and effective way to catch fish. Most handlines come pre-rigged so all you need to do is add bait and cast. Handlines are the perfect option for an impromptu fishing session with the family. With loose change, you’ll get your hands on handlines for everyone.
A SAFE LANDING
Wharves are usually elevated well above the water line so it’s a wise idea to keep a hand net within reach. Lifting fish straight out of the water with the line is a risky practice that will result in heartbreak and disappointment for junior anglers. A decent net with a long handle will help to secure the landing and keep everyone happy.
Berley is a mixture of mashed bait and fish attracting scents that is used to excite fish into a feeding frenzy. It is a great way to entice fish to you, especially when you’re fishing from a stationary position. Fill a bucket with seawater and mush a few slices of bread to create a milky broth. Add in a handful of prawn heads or diced pilchards and you have a universal berley that will attract a range of estuary and inshore species. Toss a few scoops of berley into the water to get started and then periodically add more to keep fish on the scent. All you have to do is drift baited hooks into the berley trail and hang on.
Next time you’re on a coastal adventure or family holiday, take advantage of the local wharves for some fishing entertainment and hours of fun. Wharf fishing will bring about many happy memories and help to develop a range of fishing skills, especially with the youngsters. Happy fishing.
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