by Carl Hyland
Ever wondered what that river next to the road is like as far as fish goes? You know, you’re on your way to work and you gaze longingly at the water, thinking you’d rather be fishing. Little do you know that the sometimes the best fishing spots can be right under your nose? I’ve found that over the years, I have had to go further and further afield to get to a good spot for fish, but lately, have been looking closer to home and boy, have I been pleasantly surprised. I mean, as a young lad, I cut my teeth as I’m sure a lot of you did, on spots close to home, using basic gear and you always seemed to do all right. Well I am starting to look at that philosophy again and it’s paying dividends. I have pretty good fishing gear, but have laid all that aside and gone for a custom made two kg outfit spooled with six lb Nano braid and found it perfect for the type of fishing I am talking about. I’ve also started to remake my own berley and get lots of satisfaction from doing so. Gathering local baits, it’s all part and parcel of getting back to the roots.
Pontoons and walkways are good spots to try for a fish close to home.
I make a point now of stopping at locations that look ‘fishy’ and doing so has paid off. I often get people stop and say to me ‘what are you looking at’? When I explain I’m sussing out a fishing spot, they often divulge information, such as, they saw someone else fishing there recently and they had a big fish or they saw large fish busting up bait balls. All this is filed away and often I return, armed with more gear than is necessary and again, it often works. Another situation is you have the boat going at full noise past some good spots, but you are in a hurry to get to that ’hot’ spot where you caught your last big fish or you had a top session. Slow down and smell the roses, have a look at some of the bays and estuaries that you would normally pass, as I indicated, they often hold a good head of fish, it’s just a matter of getting them out of the wet.
The Brid River, often overlooked and contains many bigger fish.
I use an example of how this works. At my local pier, the pontoon at the end gets somewhat crowded and I don’t like crowds, so I decided to fish along the platform leading down to the pontoon. I was fishing in about three metres off water with my coarse angling gear and was using local shrimps for bait. I could actually see fish swimming in a circular pattern, looking for food. I threw a bit of berley in and hung my berley bucket just under the surface of the water. Berley this day was chook pellets mixed with a bit of bread plus some fish oil. I added the bread as I was targeting mullet. It was about 20 minutes before the first fish showed up and then it was on for young and old. I was catching mullet on my 1/0 suicide hook (no sinker) and then it was a Bastard trumpeter, a Zebra fish, a sand whiting and on it went. Trouble was, I soon had a crowd alongside me, most with fishing rods and it was near on impossible to swing a line. So I threw all the berley in and left them to it….I might add most were amazed that you could actually catch fish right there!
The walkway is a great place to fish.
From that I started getting crafty, only fishing when I had the place to myself but I usually don’t mind sharing. I apply the same rules when I freshwater fish…I’m the one who crawls under the blackberry bush next to a large backwater, whilst others would often go around. This is where the bigger fish often lurk and it does have its rewards. I now have my eye on a large drain that empties near home, some large sea run trout have been taken from there over the years and I spotted some whitebait jumping the other day, so they might be on the move. Hope you have luck when you start fishing those likely looking spots you often overlook!
The results of a berley session. Yellow eyed mullet with bigger fish underneath.
The author with a KG whiting taken from a two metre deep bay.