IT'S funny how you can easily fall into the trap of thinking you have to fish for huge species in exotic locations to experience the best of what fishing has to offer.
Like most keen anglers I've done my fair share of travelling and managed to catch a few nice fish along the way. But over the past couple of months I have spent a stack of time fishing water within minutes of where I live on the NSW Central Coast. Some days I was in my kayak and most recently, I was walking and wading. And you know what? I don't think I have ever enjoyed fishing so much.
It's so easy to grab a rod and throw a bit of gear into a small tackle bag and just go walking. The shorelines I've been fishing vary in depth from 200mm to half a metre and feature a mixture of sand, weed and shallow rocky strata. I've had a great old time catching whiting, bream and flathead on "walk the dog" style lures and shallow diving hard bodies along these deserted lake edges. Big bow waves and explosions in 200mm of water are as good as fishing gets in the estuary, it's just so easy, relaxing and chances are, only minutes from your driveway.
Getting the correct power to weight ratio of the tackle you are using is without a doubt the secret to satisfying the sport fisherman's soul. Two to three kilo rods, small threadline reels, ultra light line, and exquisitely finished lures go a long way to make catching a 700 gram bream or a thumping big whiting as much fun as catching a big king or snapper. Well at least I think so and I'm sure there's a few Fisho readers out there that would agree.
The things that you see while you are quietly walking a shore line, a sand spit or riverbank can be a real eye opener. Sometimes you have to stop and look twice to make sure you're not seeing things. I've spotted some monster flatties lying in the shallows, a dirty big mud crab (he's dinner tomorrow night), eels, lizards, and even a mangy looking suburban fox.
But probably the best part has just been fishing spots that I've never taken the time to cast a lure at, or seen any one else casting for that matter, and thoroughly peppering every weed bed, sand hole and gravel patch that I've come across.
Top water lures are such an effective way to fish a huge variety of fish holding environment and allow you to fish in only inches of water. On an overcast day with a little wind ripple on the water you will be surprised at what's feeding in the shallows. I have been using a mixture of small shallow divers and 50mm topwater lures when the water is glassy calm then switching up to 80mm models when the wind picks up. The added wake and water displacement of these bigger lures sure gets fish fired up, and they cast like bullets which is a big bonus when you're land based.
So next time you have a spare couple of hours and couldn't be bothered putting the boat in the water, grab a rod, throw on an old pair of shoes and hit a spot near you. I'll guarantee you will end up doing it more than just once and you might even have just as much fun as you would catching monsters in a far away land.
Let me know how you go, I'm keen to hear!
Stay safe and happy walking.