Tips for Young Players!

Your One Stop Fishing Advice Shop

You might have just bought your first combo or kayak, or you might have switched from salt to fresh.  Maybe you just want to try a new species you haven't previously targeted and don't really know where to start.  We talked to a cross section of our members and asked them what they like to target and how.  No honey holes, just some advice to get you rolling!

If you have been out and are getting frustrated with repeated donuts, then it might be time to change up your game.  You may be fishing too heavy, the wrong type of lure, or the wrong tide or moon phase.  If this is you, maybe try some of the recommendations from the members below to get you on the fish.  A simple tip or tweak to your setup or lure choice might be enough to turn that frown upside down!
Wayne Petherick, YHQLD
I'll start!

I don't typically target a species in the way many do (going out geared specifically for that species), rather, I just go out to enjoy a fish and some time on the water.  So my gear is fairly general/multi-purpose though my most common rigs are 1-3kg rods, 1000 reels, and 8lb-8lb line.  I find this covers 90% of my fishing though I do have a few heavier setups (2500 series reel with 10lb and 3000 series with 20lb and 2-5kg rods).

I take a variety of lures out with me from plastics to hard bodies though I have a few favourites that work very well depending on what is in the water.

Bass:  I have really developed a love for bass fishing, especially jigging which is a pretty new thing for me.  When I use plastics I found I can't go wrong with Berkley Gulp!  The 4" Jigging Grub in Pink or Nuclear Chicken and the 4" Swimming Mullet in Smoke always worked a treat.  I also caught a 'toga on the 3" Swimming Mullet in Nuclear Chicken!  The Eastfield curlies and paddle tails from Angler's Source also worked exceptionally well.  For jigging I have found you cannot go wrong with the Northern Lights spoons from Angler's Source, and the Crazee Casjigs (20g and 30g) from Bait Tackle Store Nerang or Underwood have been absolute crackers regularly helping me crack the double digits.

Flathead:  A piece of old rope from the garage attached to a Bunnings carbiner using a piece of carpet as bait.  Just kidding, but not really.  Flathead are a very aggressive species if something is dragged over their head so lure choice may be less important than location.  They can often be found in the shallows along banks, or where the deeper water hits the shallows.  As the bait gets pushed up and over they will sit facing into the current waiting to inhale whatever comes their way.  Points often produce for the same reason.  Because of this, drifting may work well, and casting and retrieving with your lure heading the same way as the current can produce results.  

Bream:  One of the most common bread and butter species and also one of the most divisive!  The much maligned bream can be found virtually everywhere and they can also live comfortably in the fresh.  You will see them along the shore lines in the freshwater lakes around the place though they are more commonly a saltwater species.  As a rule, bream will be found among structure at low tide, and stalking the banks for food at high tide as the water exposes worms and other food matter.  While a general rule you can often see them shooting across the banks away from structure at low tide so putting in a few casts here and there can often produce results.  If you find yourself in a time and position to do so, there is nothing quite as fun as fishing for bream on the surface on light gear.  Small poppers in about 40mm models work well as do Epi Prawns which are sold at Bait Tackle.  These have a really wicked action in the water sitting vertical at rest but going horizontal on the pop.  Pro Lure cranks also work really well in both the shallow and deep versions.  My personal favourite is the 38D in matt black and motor oil with the latter colour really popping in the water.

Something I have found to be a good general rule regardless of the waterway is to fish the junctions where one or more arms joins the others or the main waterway such as where canals join the rivers.  These areas can be "bait highways" and the fish chase the bait so you can often find a few hungry species filling their bellies on the hatch.  It is always useful to find what bait is in the water you are fishing and then match your lure to this.  This is what people mean when they say "match the hatch".  I found small white twin tail minnows to be slaying the bass in my local lake.  They were incredibly effective there.  I landed a bass and a small white fish came out of it's mouth.  I thought it had spat the lure but it was actually baitfish!  It looked exactly the same as what I was using to catch them.  So if you present them with what they are already feeding on you have a much better chance at catching something!
Flatties love the Mag Bite Snatch Bite prawns.  I usually use the 2.5" as they are a good general purpose estuary/river size and they have landed me anywhere from small models right up to 65cm flatties.
This 54cm hog was caught on a Speedstyle finesse baitcaster and Tailwalk Basal 73 on 10lb using a Crazee Casjig 30g in pink/blue.  It's too heavy for casting but vertical jigging is no drama at all.

The bream can't resist the Snatch Bite 2.5" prawn either though the Keitech Easy Shiner in 3" also works a treat.
John Couri, State Manager YHNSW

John is the NSW State Manager for YH and is a top bloke who loves his fishing.  If his pics are anything to go by he looks pretty damned good at it too!  Here's what John threw our way for this feature!

I target bream in all Sydney Systems - George’s & Parramatta Rivers, and Sydney Harbour. 

I prefer to fish hard shoreside structure like canal pontoons, wharves, and boat hulls in marinas. Critter baits are most effective for me: Ecogear Bream Prawns & Gulp Crabbies on ultralight hiddenweight heads, and Cranka Crabs. 

I use 1-3kg spin rods paired with 1000-2000 size reels, 4-6lb braid, with 4-6lb fluorocarbon leader. Technique involves casting as tight as possible into, under & between those structures, letting the lure sink naturally on a slight line belly & waiting for bite signals. I tend to work the higher sections of the tide when fishing shoreline structure, last 2 hours of run-in, and first 2 of run out. This allows the fish to access oyster covered structure which can bring on an aggressive bite period. 

Look for areas with reasonable water flow around the structure. 

The summer & autumn months are my favourite time to fish these areas for bream. Bream are an amazing southern sport fish, when they’re not frustrating you with the too-common bustoff! Be prepared to work them out of these areas, high-sticking can often provoke the fish to dive for cover & freedom. I like to engage reverse on the kayak after landing the lure in position, which allows me to back out of the area without applying too much rod pressure on the fish. 

Tight lines!
Luke "Thready King" Lispet, YHQLD

Unless you've been living under a rock you have no doubt seen Lippy's latest PB thready from the Port of Brisbane going 112cm (bottom image).  This was up 4cm from his previous PB of 108cm (top image).

Manning the safety boat at Round 3 in the mighty Brissie River the boys stopped in for a cast or ten at the thready grounds with this beast taking the presented lure.  Here's Lippy's hot tips for threadies!

When targeting these beasts down deep, there's one go to lure that I find works a treat - and that's the Ima Koume 90. The profile of this lure combined with the weight and action helps keep the lure down on the bottom where the Threadfin Salmon are, and produces a very appealing action that makes a perfect snack for Threadies. I use this lure near structure where the water is relatively deep. I find small hops just off the bottom with pauses gets these beasts on the bite!
On The Cod With Danny Stuart and Malcolm Lang, YHQLD 

The boys live pretty close to some prime cod territory so you can often find them stalking these elusive fishies in the local waters.  They're both pretty humble about it but they're good at getting on the cod, and Malcolm agreed to give us some advice about how to do it!  Keep reading to find out more...

Malcolm said that most of his cod are in the 60cm range!

Cod fishing, for the uninitiated, is essentially the opposite of bream fishing. Unlike bream, these fish are not leader/line shy at all, and are not fussy eaters when they're in the mood. They will climb over large, obnoxious baits, and often these are what's required to really convince them to eat. 

The problem is finding them, and finding them when they're in a mood to eat. I like to run 30-40lb leader tied onto 50lb braid, and every lure I throw is XL sized. The most obnoxious chatterbaits, swimbaits, spinnerbaits and diving lures will all work if they're big enough and dangled in front of a hungry cod. 

Western river systems have been drought afflicted and water access is very difficult, whereas western impoundments are large and deep. Sounding bait, structure, and ultimately greenfish in those areas is the key to success. Impoundment fish will move off structure more than you'd think, hence why working bait schools is becoming more popular in some of the larger dams. Some of these schools can be massive, so trolling around them to work out how big the school is and if any predators are hanging off them is a useful strategy. In the rivers, throwing lures deep under overhanging willows, right against sunken timber etc remains the key to waking these fish up.

And if those few pics weren't enough to make you feel jealous here are a couple of Mal's other catches! 

Honi Felgate And Ewen Slaughter YHQLD

Honi and Ewen have developed a love for going outside in their kayaks and they've become dab hands at the offshore bite!  One cracking piece of advice they started with right up front is to plan your trip to the conditions which is crucial for a safe session!

You don't necessarily need to go miles offshore for decent fish. We both landed and dropped our PB tuna anywhere from 100m to 1k offshore (of course it helped that we where right in the middle of tuna season!) 

Our rods range from 4-6kg up to 7-15kg, and our reels vary from 3000 to 6000; our advice for best all round replaceable reel is the Shimano Sedona 4000. We use 20-30lb Jbraid multi colour braid as it allows us to see how much line we have let out and Jthread fluorocarbon leader from 20-50lb depending on target species. 1

For trawling dead baits we prefer using slimey mackerel or good old pillies on a weighted swivel gap gang hook (plenty of great videos on YouTube on how to rig up a dead bait).   If you just want to relax and you've found some marks then a nice piece of squid on a Berkley 1/2ounce 1/0 weighted jig head will definitely catch you a decent snapper or sweetlip, with our PB snappers and sweetlip both caught on this setup its an easy simple rig to use (and it is Ewen's favorite setup).

If your are more into lures, soft plastics and trawling like me then here are my absolute must haves: all my weighted jig heads have to be Berkley 1/2 ounce 1/0; soft plastics are Zman 4inch open night paddle tail, Zman 4inch nuke chicken curly grub, Zman 4inch minnow/jerk shad in pearl. These best represent the bait fish that hold in this location and we always have luck with these. 

4m divers are the best bet as they sit perfectly in the mid water column. Our picks are the Atomic Hardz shiner 75 and 85 and the Rapala Xrap. My all-time favorite slug is by far the Samaki 35g flash in blue and white. All these lures and soft plastics can be easily trawled past reefs; we tend to circle around the reefs first and locate the schools whilst trawling our soft plastics and bait. Once we start moving to a new location I tend to trawl at 3-5km/hr with a bait and soft plastic out the back, and to up my odds I'll flick my slug on either side. Our best time of day would be between 7am and 11am and 2pm-4pm, they just seem to be on the bite more in our experience. 

Best of luck and tight lines!

If you have any questions feel free to message us on Face Book @honifelgate @ewen slaughter 
Brandon Krushka, YHTAS

What do you fish for when you go to Tassie?  Trout of course!  We are pretty jealous in the northern states as this fish is on most people's bucket list.  Brandon was kind enough to share some of his trout bashing knowledge with us.

I love fishing for Tasmania’s pride & joy the wonderful Brown/Rainbow trout but this can be both relaxing and very frustrating at times. 

The thrill of possibly catching a PB every time you hit the water, chasing them, to losing that one favourite $20 lure. 

Personally, my most enjoyed method of chasing big trout in our waterways down here in Tassie would be using a soft plastic, I find the excitement levels of hooking into a good size trout on a plastic is like no other and gets the blood pumping.  All it takes is a simple 1/8 jighead or depending on the water you’re fishing the size you choose.  The choices of plastics on the market these days is incredible but a big winner here in Tassie is the Black n Gold T-Tail. This doesn’t rule out the hardbodies though in recent weeks I have been out in the yak chasing big brownies & 'bows throwing the ProLure ST72 Minnow in the brook trout colour and the Daiwa presso Minnow in black & gold. I will also throw the odd garden worm or witchetty grub out on a running sinker rig and lay back and enjoy the weather and the peace 'n' quiet by the rivers edge. 
Warwick Holmes, YHNSW

Warwick loves fishing for jewies (mulloway if you are south of the Qld border!). He has hooked some lovely fish and was awesome enough to share some tips and tricks about how he does it.

My lure of choice is the 3.75" Zman jerk shad in opening night colour with a TT headlock 3/8 Oz jig head.  For line I use 12lb leader with 10p braid on a 2500 reel and 6.5-7ft rod with a 2-5kg rating  (the Shimano Rack Raider is a good outfit, paired with a Shimano Ci4).

I like to look for bait on the sounder with large arches down low (virtually on the bottom), preferably in a hole or where there is slack water. It is a common misconception that jews only bite on the tide change and that's not true in my experience.  They are just lazy and feed out of the current stream, so in a hole, under the edge of a rock etc is a perfect hunting ground for them. Jig the plastic off the bottom, with large double hops, if you feel a "tick" set the hooks as fas as you can, they spit the plastic in less then 0.5sec. If you're lucky, the reel will start screaming, hold on and try keep it away from moorings and other obstructions in the water. Don't rush the landing, let it tire its self out before you try and net it, or you may miss it at the edge of the yak.

The locations I fish are Lanecove River, Tunks Park, and the
 Parramatta River though most tidal Saltwater systems hold them around Sydney.
Khean "The [insert fish name here] King" Mak, YHQLD

Khean is a crack fisho on the fresh and the salt and he can be seen stalking waterways around South East Queensland regularly.  He could catch a cod in a pot hole puddle with a piece of string and a paperclip.

He loves chasing toga though and he has become pretty damned good at getting these notoriously difficult to catch fish interested in what is on the end of his line.  Read on to find out more!

Lets Talk Toga fishing!  What can i say...those who target them regularly would agree with me on one point:  they're one of the most fustrating fish to target/chase at times but that makes it sooo rewarding when you do land one!

They're one of those fish you got to put in the miles and million casts for before you even get the slightest tap, and if finding them isn't chellenging enough, then you've got to try and keep them on while they dance around mid air trying to fling your lure!!!

Casting distance is key here -stealth mode- avoid making too much noise, sit down while hunting and avoid standing up, no point if the fish has spotted you before you spot them. 

Now lets begin with what type of gear to use: Rods - Any Light to Medium light Rods are Plenty!! (as well as your standard bream outfits) 1-3kg rod from your L through to you M *light perfect casting for those smaller lures 5-10lb rod...Major Craft MXS672 ML (my person weapon)*.  This is still light for those small to medium lures and has a bit more power in the rod to control the fish more whilst among thick timbers.   Reel - anything from your 1000-2500 is plenty.  MainLines - I pesonally use the YGK G-Soul Upgrade X8 & Major Craft Dangan braids.  In saying that any braid with the rating of 6-14 lb is plenty.   Leader line - I use Berkley Vanish in most of my fishing in 6-12lb.  Some may prefer to go heavier but i personally had never use more than 10lb.  This also depends on what lure you intend on using, and if im going to use a patricular lure which it has a chance of inhaling it down its gob I would go a bit heavier!  Hence,  why I prefer to use hardbody lures such as your jerkbait styles.  Lures  - To save you who wants to jump the queue to avoid that overwhelming feeling standing at the tackle store isle scratching your head on what to buy or look for I'll reccomend a few of my TOP Lures that has been a success for me chasing these fish.  For Suface - D'Style...slow roll across the suface with a few short pauses but you can also use as a popping style lure to attract attention then roll it as if a bug is trying to escape.  Jerk style lures/minnows -   *Crazee minnows (my personal favorite ) *Diawa Double Clutch *Rapala ripstops.

Key points for catching toga:  There will be 3 strike phases. Retreival techniques are all the same, cast as close you can to the intended target and let it sit as this is most likely as you have just landed on its HOT strike zone (phase 1 the drop).  If by now your lure survived the drop do a few short jerks away alternating pauses, this will intrigue the toga in stiking if he's eyed it out from the bottom or stalking it (phase 2).  This again as the strike period is as important as the drop.  Now onto phase 3!  At this moment if hes still holding back the strike you roll with couple of jerks along the way back to the boat.

Sometime you have to pester that location with a couple more cast before it even commits.

Toga's most likely hide outs: Snag/Bays/Coves - From my experience what I'm about to recommend may contridict other fellow  toga fishos out there.  Say for the likes of Borumba Dam where I found their behaviour is a bit different to say Hinze Dam or NPD Togas look for snags, fallen trees and stumps.  Tip= - Be picky with these, overtime it will indicate to you what type of snags they would mostly use for shelter otherwise you'd find yourself casting at every single tree, now imagine fishing Hinze like that!  Bays/Coves - Calm sections tucked away from the winds are prime locations.  Lilly bays - Prime location which provides cover for Togas and also shelter their food source such as baitfish.  Now that I have built a picture for y'all that togas prefer to shelter up near snags/struture, the Borumba togas on the other hand dont always play by this rule!  They love to roam and hang around out in the open where there's not a single tree nor snag in sight.

Hopefully these few tips will get you all on to a few togas . 

Good Luck and Tight Lines!
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