In saltwater, there are four tide changes each day—two high tides, two low tides— from one hour before until one hour after a tide change is the best time to go fishing. Ask your local fishing tackle store for a tide time chart and information on local fishing regulations, size and bag limits.
In freshwater, sunrise and sunset are the best times to fish.
Pick a fish you want to catch and make that your ‘target fish’. For example: snapper, trevally, jack mackerel, kahawai and John Dory are good to look for around wharves and jetties. You’ll catch more if you concentrate on a target fish, because a specific approach is better than a general approach. Much like a t-shirt the right size fits better than a one-size-fits-all type.
Learn what your target fish likes to eat. You can find this information in fishing magazines and books at your library. Just the same as you like French fries more than brussels sprouts, each fish has favourite foods too, and you’ll catch more if you use that for bait. If you get stuck, lots of fish like prawns and squid, the fresher the better!
Learn where your target fish likes to live. It could be beaches, jetties, rocky areas, deep ocean, lakes, etc. There are lots of spots to try in your area. Visit your local fishing tackle store, tell them what your target fish is and ask them if they know of any areas you can try.
While you’re at your local tackle store, also ask what tackle is needed to catch your target fish. Make a list: what rod length, size reel, fishing line strength, trace/leader, swivel size, sinker, and type of hook. Now it's time to go shopping with your parents! You can ask the tackle store about “rod and reel combos”. Companies like Jarvis Walker make this part easy because they offer a range of rod and reels already matched perfectly, and some even have line so they are ready to fish.
Ask family or friends (or both!) to go fishing with you. Arrange it so you arrive at the fishing spot 90 minutes before the tide change, so you have time to find a park, set up your rod and tackle and choose an area to cast so your bait is in the water at least an hour before the tide change.
Cast your bait close to things that impede the current and move the water around, such as tree snags, rocks or bridge/jetty pylons. If you don’t get a bite within 15 minutes, try another cast to a different structure. Sometimes these spots are right under your feet. Remember: the best cast isn’t the longest cast, it’s to where the fish are most likely hiding.
Keep an eye out for any little fish swimming, making swirls or splashes. That’s your clue as to what the bigger fish might be eating, and where they might be hiding to snatch some food.
When you catch a fish to take home, put it in an icebox with salt-ice to keep it fresh. It’s important to respect the fish we catch so anything we take home for dinner must be treated with care. Nothing should go to waste.
Fishing can be tricky and even the best fisherman don’t always catch as much as they would like. The challenge is part of the fun! So if you don’t catch a fish on a trip, don’t give up. Think about the Ten Ts and see if there’s anything that you can improve for next time. The more you try the easier it gets and the more you will catch!