Fishing expert SALLY JENYNS shares her best tips for beginners looking to hit the water with rods, reels... and kids.
Sally Jenyns shares her expert tips and techniques, in a way that beginners can understand
F ishing. So much has been written about it, folk stories entwined in it, magazines filled with it, and yet it remains a mystery. Just like the weather, fish are nature’s work and – try as we might – the human mind is yet to unravel exactly how it all works.
Luckily the challenge of trying is surely part of the fun. If you caught something every time, it’d be called catching instead of fishing, right?
While big game sportfishing requires big boats and big bucks, introducing kids to the delights of fishing should be kept as simple and inexpensive as possible. As parents, most of us have fallen victim (hopefully only once!) to our kid’s latest craze, and invested in gear that eventually gathers dust in the garage. To avoid repeating that scenario, think about where you’ll be fishing, and what you’ll be fishing for, before you start buying gear.
If you’re playing with little ‘ tiddlers’ off a jetty, a simple handline should suffice. If you’re aiming for small fish like whiting and bream in rivers or estuaries then you’d best invest in a small, inexpensive soft-tip rod. (If your target species is anything larger than these, I’m assuming you have some angling experience and don’t need this beginners’ advice!)
Rod fishing gives anglers the opportunity to cast their bait, therefore increasing your fishing area. A soft-tip rod allows you to feel the fish nibbling or biting the bait, and gives you more power and pressure when retrieving it... hopefully with a fish attached.
Local knowledge is really important when it comes to fishing and a local tackle store should give invaluable advice. What bait do the region’s species prefer? What tackle is best to rig for them? Regardless of whether you’re using a rod or a handline, a good all-round rig is a small running ball sinker sitting above a long, thin shank hook.
A packet each of sinkers and hooks, a basic net, stainless steel nail clippers (for trimming line), a small pair of pliers (for retrieving hooks), a knife inside a case, along with a few old rags, all kept in a bucket, is the basic beginners’ tackle box.
Importantly, don’t waste the wait. There’s plenty of patience needed for fishing, especially for parents taking kids along. Use the time to soak up wherever you are. Observe everything from insects to crabs, listen and learn, sit back, breathe and enjoy our great outdoors.
04 01 Fishing off Venus Bay Jetty © SATC 02 Father-son bonding on the Coffs Coast 03 Family haul © Destination NSW 04 Caught!