Australia is an angler’s paradise. Learn about different fishing categories, techniques and methods so you can sell great fishing adventures to your clients.
There’s nothing like fishing in Australia, but you might be surprised to learn how passionate and educated your clients are on all things piscatorial in their hometown. It does not matter if your client is a novice or life-long passionate angler, you can be sure they have fond memories and knowledge associated with a fishing experience.
Most fishing techniques, and the species they choose to target, are closely linked to the waters surrounding an angler’s geographical location. If they live inland and away from saltwater coastal influences, their fishing styles will be linked to dams, rivers or creeks being fed from a freshwater environment.
Alternatively, if they reside in a coastal community, an angler will often have access to saltwater rivers and estuaries, bays, inshore tidal flats, surf beaches, blue water ocean fishing and many other saltwater influenced environments.
Australia’s saltwater habitats range from the coral reefs and tropical estuaries of the north, to cold temperate rocky reefs along the southern coast, plus oceanic and deep-sea habitats beyond the continental slope. Due to our world class waters and large number of available species, anglers are spoilt for choice when it comes down to how they want to catch fish and in what category of water.
Freshwater Fishing – Fishing for species that spend some or all of their lives in fresh water, such as rivers and lakes with a salinity of less than 0.05%.
Saltwater Fishing – Fishing for species that spend some or all of their lives in waters connected to the world’s ocean or seas. Seawater or saltwater has a salinity of around 3.5%.
Brackish water – Fishing for species that live in a mixture of seawater and freshwater such as estuaries. Estuaries are a body of water that is surrounded by coastal habitats, where saltwater from the ocean mixes with freshwater from rivers or streams. Salinity levels can therefore range between the fresh and saltwater level (between .05 – 3.5%).
Sport Fishing – Fishing for pleasure or competition and is prized for the sport it gives the angler rather than for its value as food. Most sport fishing anglers will carry out catch and release methods.
Light Tackle – Using fishing equipment that includes a complete light line delivery system that makes using baits / lures easier by matching rod, reel and line size accordingly. Light tackle does not necessarily mean it’s for catching small fish, it is technically matching the strength, weight and speed of your targeted species against the angler, rod, reel and line class they choose.
Heavy Tackle – Traditionally associated with large ocean game fishing when targeting thousand-pound blue and black marlin and giant bluefin tuna. Large game fishing tournaments worldwide classify heavy tackle that has a line class of 60kg or (130 lb). Lines are rated according to the amount of force that will cause them to break under normal conditions
Spinning reel – Is most likely the most common type of fishing amongst rod anglers. These reels have a fixed spool underneath the rod, and line is drawn out by the weight of the lure, bait, or tackle. Spin is often referenced as an angling technique when a lure is retrieved at speed by the angler enticing the fish to bite.
Baitcaster – Often used by a more experienced angler who requires better control and casting accuracy. With a baitcaster, the reel sits above the rod and the spool rotates as you cast your line out. Aggressive casting can often result in the reel overspinning and causing knots within the spool and line and is not suitable for beginners.
Fly Fishing – Is an angling method in which an artificial “fly” is used to entice and catch fish. The fly is cast using a fly rod, reel, and specialised weighted line. Casting a nearly weightless fly requires casting techniques significantly different from other forms of casting and is traditionally associated with experienced anglers. Fly fishing is very popular for freshwater anglers chasing trout and other species, but the interest in saltwater fly fishing is growing rapidly worldwide.
Hand reel – Handline fishing is one of the oldest forms of fishing, no rod and reel exists to help control drag or the fight of the fish. A hand line gets you up close and personal with the fish, but you are restricted with the type of water you can fish in.
Many anglers will now use lures when fishing recreationally. A fishing lure is a type of artificial fishing bait which is designed to attract a fish’s attention. The lure uses movement, vibration, flash and colour to attract the fish. The lures are equipped with one or more hooks that are used to catch fish when they instinctively strike the lure believing it to be a living food source. Traditional bait methods would include using smaller fish or prey to entice the fish to strike via their natural food source.
The following examples are specific methods used with lures but could also be carried out with select bait.
Popping – A lure that is used in a surface popping technique that is cast and retrieved swiftly by the angler across the surface of the water. You can often see the fish chasing and eventually biting the lure, providing a visual aspect on the initial surface strike.
Trolling – One or more lines are baited with lures or bait fish and are drawn through the water at various depths. This may be behind a moving boat, or by slowly winding the line in from a static position.
Jigging – Also referenced as micro jigging, vertical jigging, bottom jigging. A jig consists of a lead sinker with a hook molded into it and is normally covered with a surface that mirrors a food source. The jig is intended to create a jerky, vertical motion in the water column by the angler lifting the rod up and down rapidly. Other lures will traditionally work through the water horizontally.
Reef / Bottom fishing – This method remains an extremely popular and effective style when fishing offshore in deeper water. Either drifting or at anchor, anglers will drop baited hooks with large sinkers to the sea bed floor over reef, gravel or sandy regions. This method often results in catching tastyreef table fish suitable for consumption.
Soft Plastics – As the name suggests, soft plastics are artificial bait shapes that are soft and squidgy in design. They are manufactured in a huge range of colours and designs and allow anglers to easily switch shapes and patterns to suit specific conditions. They are fished with a jig head inserted into the soft plastic, which is essentially a hook and sinker combined that is covered by the soft plastic material. An angler must constantly move the soft plastic to imitate a moving object along the bottom or through the water column to secure a bite.
Barbless hooks – Sportfishing anglers will sometimes choose to use barbless hooks, this ensures that the fish is less likely to be harmed during the catch and ensures the angler is challenged throughout the process. A barbless hook is essentially a traditional hook that has had the barbs pressed against the shaft of the hook, so that the barbs are not functional as per original purpose.