Freshwater Fishing Tactics by Jason Garner
I have put together this short report to hopefully share a few tips that I have learnt over the years with some keen anglers who are looking to have a go at freshwater fishing.
In this report I will cover Lures, Bait, Rod/reel and Line selection, How to find a hopeful spot, what to look for when you have found that spot and some Species that you can target easily….. Ok so sit back and enjoy the read…..
Ok I’m going to start off with Locations…
The best way to find a hopeful spot is use Google Earth or Near maps
Believe me… these will be your 2 best friends when sussing out some great spots , I will normally look for nearby Dams, Creeks that run off from a Dam like Below a dam wall, or I will look for the mouth of a salt water river and track the river all the way back to where I think it may have turned in to fresh water…Once you have found a hopeful spot, jump in your car and go for it… it sometimes can take a while to find a decent spot that holds fish but once you do you will be loving it, Now once you do find a nice spot that you think may hold fish the first thing I do is taste the water…. yeah I’m sure the young fella’s are reading this going “ohhh Grosssss” but that is your best indicator to check for fresh water, you’ll get use to doing it.
Go for a walk and look at the water, how deep is it? How much structure (snags) can you see in the water, are there over hanging trees?
If you want to catch some great Fresh water fish you need to find good structure , If I am Targeting Australian bass I will choose the spots that I will cast at based on these factors, Look for a nice shaded area where you can see an overhanging tree or a tree branch that is sticking out of the water, or if the water that your fishing is flowing then look for some still water from behind a rock where the rock has blocked the flow of water, the fish are most likely hiding behind that rock waiting for a nice insect or fish to come past so that it can have an easy meal, these are all great spots to throw your cast in to.
If you are fishing dams the same applies , Dams can be a lot harder to fish if you are fishing Landbased , Bass will often school up on Points of the dam or around reeds, so look for areas like that if fishing landbased on dams.
Some nice Snags below to cast at.
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Now to Freshwater Fishing Rods/Reels and Lines….
I find if I am freshwater fishing Creeks and skinny water , Land based or Kayaking the best rod length to use would be about 6’6 in a 2-5kg line rating , I have used 7’ rods with 2-4kg line rating but they can be a bit tricky when your land based casting around over hanging trees and thick scrub and the last thing you wanna do is turn up to your new spot with your new rod and punch out your first cast and snap your rod tip on a tree that you didn’t think was as close as you thought, Believe me ….It happens , so stick with a 6’6 when starting out, If fishing dams a 7’ – 2-4kg is great for making that extra long cast plus you have a lot more water to play the fish so you can afford to lose that extra bit of power you get from the 2-5kg where as when fishing creeks and skinny water you have to be able to stop the fish FAST !!! So he doesn’t take you in to a snag and swim away with that $15 lure you just bought From Tackle Land at Sandgate.
When choosing Line and Leaders I like to use a Good braided line, Braid ranges in price but obviously you get what you pay for, a good start off braid would be Fireline or Sunline Super PE, I normally use anywhere from 6lb to 12lb it really depends on how snaggy the location your fishing is and how confident you feel about the breaking strain your using, I have fished 4lb when bass fishing with not many dramas…unless you match that with a 4lb leader then you’re just asking for trouble lol.
The leaders I normally use are fluorocarbon and I don’t normally go less then 10lb and fish up to 17lb leaders in really snaggy water, when a bass hits your lure they hit hard so you wanna stop him QUICK.
The Leader lengths I use vary, normally my leaders are about 3 foot long but with some surface lures that I use I will only use a about 30 cm of leader.
A good leader to try would be Sunline FC ROCK … it is GREAT
Now let’s get on to Lures
I’m a real Fan of lure fishing, there is nothing more exciting then throwing a lure where you predict a fish may be hiding and then feeling that fish smash your lure and start peeling line off your reel , this is a good part of why we fish, it’s a great feeling.
There are many lures on the market and they all have their purpose
Surface lures, Hard body lures, Soft plastic lures , blade lures and the list goes on, When selecting a lure go for something that has a good action or something you can create action with by using your rod, A good type of lure that a beginner can start with is a soft plastic, there are literally THOUSANDS to choose , look for a minnow or grub style to start with , Zman 3” MinnowZ or 4” Zman StreakZ are great on bass, rig them with a 1/8th to 1/16th weight jig head on a size 2 to 2/0 hook and that will get you going, flick them in to snags , let them sink then give a short sharp double flick and let them sink again then repeat , if your cast is in the right spot you will get your fish every time. You can also buy worm hooks and rig these lures weedless so that you can get even deeper in to the snags without snagging your lure.
Hard Body bibbed and bibless lures are great too, anywhere from 35mm to 80mm lures I’ve done great on but a few stand outs for me are Jackall TN50/60s , Kokoda G-vibes, Jackall Chubbys , Cranka Cranks/Shads , Hurricane Fatty’s …these are lures I have had good Success on bass with. An easy way to use these lures are just to throw them out and slowly wind them in (Slow Roll) the slower the better and I promise you they will get smashed…( the TN50 is my favorite lure but be careful they snag easy) These types of lures are great to use when its a bright sunny day and the fish are a bit shy and sitting deep in the water column.
Surface lure fishing is probably the most EXCITING style of fresh water fishing you will ever do , When your concentrating on your lure working the surface then out of nowhere it gets smashed and you actually see the fish break the surface to eat your lure, splashing water everywhere this surely gets the heart pumping , types of surface lures I use are Cicadas ( Tiemco soft shell cicadas, Kokoda “The Bat”) walk the dog style lures like Luckycraft Sammy 65s or Atomic Hardz K9 Walkers, River 2 Sea Bubble pop 45 poppers and recently have started using OSP Bent minnows , these are all great fun to try but the best time to use surface lures are Early morning or Late afternoon, that is when you will see these lures at their best.
Blade lures are another good one to try if you are fishing Deep water like in a dam , they come in lots of different weights too so choose one that will suit where you are fishing , cast them out, let them sink and do little hops on the bottom with lots of pauses … the vibration you feel through the rod also makes them fun to use because you know your lure is working and doing what it’s meant to be doing. TT switchblades/ghost blades, Strike Pro Cyber blades are all great blades to fish with, keep your eye out for Hurricanes new Vibz 35, I have been lucky enough to use a prototype just recently and they are awesome little blades.
Bait fishing can be rewarding, But I prefer the thrill of lures, you can collect live shrimp at most water systems with a shrimp trap , they are best used live on a #1 circle hook with a small ball sinker, Bass and Yellow Belly cannot resist a live shrimp jumping around, but expect to catch ALOT of catfish too lol.
Freshwater Fishing Species
There are quite a few species you can run in to up here in QLD, Species such as Australian Bass, Golden Perch (Yellow Belly), Barramundi, Mary River Cod, Murray Cod, Saratoga, Spangled Perch , Eel tailed catfish..The most common you will find locally will be Bass and Yellow Belly , I highly recommend targeting Bass as they fight extremely hard and will give you a sense of pride when you hook one of them, I am also a Strong supporter of Catch and release , they are too good of a fish to only catch once so hopefully people who are just starting out with freshwater fishing will also take on this form of respect to the fish and release what they catch. As I say to many people when they look at me funny after I tell them I release every Bass I catch “ you won’t understand until you catch one” You will all see what I mean when you land your first bass. There is nothing better than catching a fish that gives you the fight you were looking for, taking a few pic’s to remember your catch then watching them swim off in to the beyond for you to come back and meet again sometime.
Terry the Tortise was released unharmed!
When bait or lure fishing sometimes you may encounter Protected fish species or wildlife e.g Turtle or Platypus, these should be handled with the utmost care and must be returned to their habitat in the best possible condition. Also if you find an injured Turtle, Platypus or other Wildlife, call 1300 264 625. It is always important to respect the area that you are visiting and leave it as you found it.
Well that’s about it for my report, I hope I was able to help some people with some tips and also encourage some young fella’s to get out and give freshwater fishing a go. The excitement isn’t just about the fishing but also getting out in to the bush , exploring different water systems , taking in some fresh air and enjoying the Beautiful scenery and the great country we live in.
Pop in to Tackle Land at Sandgate and have a chat with Mark and the boys, they are always happy to help out and have a good chat.
Also don’t forget to check the QLD Fisheries website for information of where you need Fishing permits for stocked impoundments, Bag/Size Limits, Protected Species & noxious Species
Thanks for reading guys and I hope to see you out there sometime.
Cheers…. Jason Garner
Tackle Land would like to thank Jason for taking the time to write this Fresh Water Fishing Guide for you to read and hopeful learn a thing or two.
Jason has spent a lot of his time fishing Fresh Water and like all of us his experience is growing each time he goes out.
If you have anything you would like to add, any tricks or tips please share below.
Maintain the Passion!
I want to do some freshwater fishing for an upcoming vacation. The only problem is that I don’t know what kind of hooks to get! I’ll have to give work hooks a shot. Thanks for the tips!
Hi Braden, The hook sizes normally depend on the species you are chasing. As an all rounder I will use a #4 Kirby in the Bronze and I will up it to a 2/0 for Yellow’s and smaller Cod. Good luck and have a great trip.
My good friend Anthony Coughran of the Facebook page ‘fishing fun Gold Coast’ suggested above all when going freshing (I’m off to Moogerah dam next week), that I should be using a quality cicada and definitely a spinnerbait lure. What’s your opinion on spinnerbaits?
I have used a few and they work really well but I have had much better luck on Hard Bodies. They are really worth a go and very effective.
Hi, I loved reading every word of this article. I found this page while googling about Z-Man Minnowz. Is it good for all weather conditions? Here I might use them this summer when the weather is boiling hot. There are some rules not good with heat. Do you recommend these Z-Man ?
Hi Fish, we use them all year round, like most plastics and Hard Bodies, keep them out of the sun in a ventilated area. These guys have no real limits that we have found so far!!
I rely on my memory to remember fish I’ve caught but I know many guys love taking their selfies with the fishes.
I know, I know, it is for this reason or that reason but feeding the ego wont help ya
We Joe without selfies we can’t show people the fish we catch in these documents.
I have followed your career and have no doubt that someday you will win the classic.
I am going for fresh water fishing tomorrow , i goin to use this tips thanks a lot , but wher i am going you see fish right on top when its suny and hot . What type of bait i can use for this breams thanks for help
Lawrence, sorry for the very late response! It sounds like you are watching Tilapia or Mullet on the surface. Either way a small hook (No.10 or 12) and float with a small bit of bread or garden worm.
This is not too far from where my mother lives. I have never been on a drift boat