Question: “Of late I have fished hard, long and in many different spots and come up with nothing. It is hard to retain the feelings of love and optimism I have for the sport when this happens, and I must be doing something wrong. Could you give me some tips on land-based fishing for bream and flathead that might restore some faith in me and my wife and help my son catch the bug?”
Answer: “Sure, Jarrod, with pleasure. For the fish you mention, you will need a quality one-piece, carbon-fibre fishing rod that costs within $100 to $150, that is about 2.5m long and made for use with a quality spin reel. It should be rated at 5-7kg.
Choose nylon monofilament or gel-spun line. The former is excellent and so is the latter, though the latter will cost you more money. Go for the mono line for starters! Your next choice is the egg-beater reel. Buy the best you can afford – preferably $100 or more. Remember, you get what you pay for! Choose a reel that has a line capacity of up to 200m of 7kg line. Once you get used to your rod and reel, they will handle most species of fish up to 15kg. Some good brands are Abu, Shakespeare, Shimano,
Daiwa, Silstar, and Okuma. Talk to your tackle salesman, and ask lots of questions.
Now, for the good baits, start by buying a booklet on knots, rigs and baits. One of the best I know is The Complete Book of Fishing Knots and Rigs by Geoff Wilson. It shows you some common baits and how to rig them, and is very easy to follow. Ideal baits for flathead and bream are live saltwater yabbies, fresh prawns, blood worms, sand worms, fillets of garfish, small mullet, mullet gut, soldier crabs, squid, and fillets of blue pilchards! These baits are also excellent for other species you’re likely to catch from the banks of a Gold Coast estuary.
What to look for when searching for a good fishing spot is a matter of trial and error. It pays dividends if you buy a good pair of polaroid sunglasses.
Flathead and bream can be taken close to the shore or well out from it. Flathead usually live on the sandy bottom with their body buried beneath the sand and only their eyes protruding. They can lie concealed there until some unsuspecting fish or other creature swims close enough to be engulfed. Look for a sandy bottom with your sunnies, especially one that has some sea grasses growing in the vicinity. Sea grasses are refuges for baitfish, prawns and yabbies. Bream will stick close to weed-beds where they can dash into concealment if danger threatens, but they also like to roam along shorelines shaped by rocks and fallen tree trunks, or reefs within casting distance of the shore.
There will be times when you get snagged on these obstacles. No angler has ever avoided being hung-up! Take great care to instil sound safety advice to the little ones! Keep your bait slowly moving across the bottom after each cast. Never leave your bait just sitting there. Make it look alive, even if it means getting snagged. I think you can safely be sure of the result you’re looking for. Happy fishing.
Dick Lewers from Modern Fishing Magazine