Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category


Friday, September 8th, 2017

To start, I’m going to say something that a lot of people may not agree with – Crank baiting is one of the best ways to pull big bream from structure.  Why? Their head is already facing towards you. But a little bit more about that later.

In the start (when I say start I mean late 80’s, early 90’s) there were really only a couple of types of lures that would catch bream. The first was a surface lure intended for bass or a timber crankbait used for trout and bass.  At that stage, all crank baits were hand-painted with a white undercoat and bright fluoro colours. The surface lures were much the same as today, although they are now made from far better materials. Most crank baits had bigger bibs and were prone to snagging up on weed and other structure, but they would still catch bream and I remember some really good fishos using them around structure and catching very good fish.

So let’s move forward to today and look at what we have to choose from. We now have super shallow, shallow, mid deep and super deep. But the ones I’m going to talk about in this article are the shallow and the deep versions. I think that if you only had these two types you could cover everything you would come across on the water. The colours are far from what they used to be and look so good they even catch fisherman with translucent UV shrimp stripes to matte black with red eyes. You name it – they’re making it.

Over the years I’ve tried them all. I have a huge collection of cranks and still have a lot of favorites, but in the last few years I have found what I think to be the best I have ever used.  I’m talking about the Pro Lure S36 (shallow) and the D36 (deep) crank bait.

Bream Aireys inlet

This is why I think they’re so good. I’ve used a lot of crankbaits but found that the size was always wrong. And if the size was right, the weight was wrong. The hooks would always need to be replaced or the lure would need tuning out of the pack. The Pro Lure 36 is a perfect crank bait lure. It’s 36mm long, 3.8 grams in weight, size 14 Decoy trebles, and they swim out of the box as good as a $30 lure.

The weight makes for ease of casting and the colours are as good as any on the market. At the time of writing this, I hear of another big bream prize falling to a Pro Lure 36 and I know I have secured a number of big bream prizes on them.

Now it’s time to talk about ‘how’ and ‘where’ to fish them. As I said at the start, crank baits are one of the best techniques to pull big fish away from structure. Crank baits make fish eat them. They swim out and attack them and this is by far one of the biggest advantages of crank baits as the fish is already facing you. This means you don’t have to turn their head and therefore they have to work a lot harder to get home. In the racks is where I think they come into their own. Being able to cast over the racks or along the trays making the fish come out for them gives you a big opportunity of getting them out.


Pro Lure S36 and D36’s float and this makes them two lures in one. When fishing racks or structure you are able to stop and let the lure float up giving the fish a chance to grab the lure or giving yourself a chance to pull the lure away from a snag. You can also use the crankbait as a surface lure because they float. This is one of the best ways of fishing cranks. You simply twitch it on the surface allowing the fish to see it. Give it time on the surface with a few twitches to start to crank it down- this is when bream will grab the lure. I know in my experience, there are times on the flats when there is no wind I will leave the lure to float on the surface up to 2 minutes before moving it at all then only a slight twitch to start cranking.

One of the biggest things I see people doing today is using fluorocarbon (fluoro) straight though. I think there is merit in this but only to people that know how to use cranks well.  If you’re starting out I would stay with using braid and leader. The feel that you get with braid allows you to understand what the lure is doing from hitting weed to snagging on rocks. For the guys that know how to use cranks the fluoro may be for you as I see it has two big advantages. Firstly, fluoro is invisible in the water so fish don’t see it as well as braid. Secondly, you don’t pull hooks out as much as with braid due to its stretchy properties. It’s also a cheaper option.

Wind, wind and more wind. I know people just hate the wind, and that’s a problem. The wind is your friend and after reading this, please try what I’m about to say and then see what you think. My first tip is to always fish windy banks. If there is no wind, go to the banks where the wind blew yesterday.  Why wind? Wind does a few things. It puts oxygen in the water, creates current, pushes the food to that bank and is a form of cover for the fish. A lot of people fish with the wind but this lowers your chances of the fish seeing your lure. Instead, try to cast across the wind, as the fish will be sitting into the wind like trout in current. As you bring your crank across, more fish will be able to see your lure compared to just bringing it with the wind. When fishing in a strong wind, have you ever seen a baitfish or prawn swim head first into the wind?  Not that often I bet! In this situation, put on a crank that has a fair weight and cast into the wind and wind a bit quicker to keep up with it.

Deep or shallow? I love fishing shallow. In fact, the shallower the better. But what would you think if I said I use a deep diving lure in shallow water and a shallow in a bit deeper water. You see, things happen with a deep diving lure that doesn’t happen with a shallow one. They use different angles and so should you. The best way to change angle is to change the lure and a deep diver does exactly that. It pulls down into the bottom and puts the hooks in the fishes face. It also digs up the bottom and keeps the hooks away from snags. You can also wind the lure very slowly. Now when I say shallow I’m talking 100mm. Generally I use shallow cranks in 400mm up to 3 meters and then I’ll switch to deep lures at 3m+. Once again, angles come into play. The shallow crank will get more hits from the sides and from underneath when in deeper water so I like the hooks to be where the fish are going to hit the lure.

Rods. Let me start by saying I think the next big thing in rods will be an increase in length. The thing with a short rod is that you get accuracy but with a long rod you get distance.  This is what you need for fishing with crankbaits. How I see it is this – If I were to fish in a bream tournament and use an 8 or 9 foot rod, there would be no doubt that one could cast at least 2 meters further than  another angler with a 7 foot rod. If you were to cast only 80 times each in that bream tournament this would mean the fisherman with the longer rod would cover 160 meters more than the fisherman using a 7 foot rod. I think it would only be fair to say the guy with the longer rod would have more bites.

Main points:

  • Crank baits can be used as surface lures
  • Always fish every cast. This means even if the lure is tangled, hooked on a rock or weeded up fish it all the way back. When hooked on rocks keep trying to free the lure for a bit as the lure shaking on the rock looks like a crab or food.
  • Always fish the wind blown banks
  • Use deep diving lures where ever you can
  • Retrieve slowly. If you think you are going slow then go slower

By Jason Meech


Thursday, July 13th, 2017

There’s not a lot of salt water to be fished in Canberra, none in fact.  Casting metal slices into Lake Burley Griffin for tailor and bonito is a hollow pastime with guaranteed poor results every cast.  Growing up in the nation’s capital, I was fortunate that my family would venture east to the coast with unwavering frequency. This is where I learned to fish, where I found my passion for fishing, and where I learned the sport. I discovered my own techniques and became a true, dedicated angler.

However, as I grew up, work and other ‘grown up’ commitments significantly reducing my available time for coastal adventures. That’s when I started exploring the small creeks and ponds around my local area in the north of Canberra. When I say urban fishing, I mean the middle of suburbia only a stones throw away from people’s backyards. Fishing in these areas can be red hot. The two main types of water I fish around the north of Canberra are small ponds and the creeks leading into and out of them. These small bodies of water are often over-looked as they appear very un-inviting. However, these little water ways are home to large natives like cod and yellowbelly as well as pest fish such as redfin and carp.

Urban Redfin

To target these species in small urban water you don’t need boxes and boxes of gear. A light spin outfit such as a 2-6lb rod paired with small 1000-2500 reel should get you out of trouble most of the time match this with some braid between 4 and 8lb and leader between 4 and 10lb and you should be in the game.

When I go fishing in urban waters I am likely to do a fair bit of walking, because of this I don’t like to take too much tackle with me. Generally I take a small box with only my favorite lures and a few color variations. Generally, my box will consist of;

– Pro Lure Live Yabbies, Pearl Green, Mud Green and UV Pumpkinseed

– Pro Lure Grubtails in Pearl Green and UV Black

– 80mm Pro Lure fishtails in Brown Bass and Lime Pepper

To rig these I carry a small range of jiheads between 1/24th hidden weight through to 1/8th regular jig head. Other lures I generally carry with me include a range of vibes, S36 cranks and surface pencils in summer.

Often the places fished in the urban environment look devoid of structure, however there are a few key factors I have found which will hold fish in a certain area. These include weedbeds and mats, storm water outlets and deep pools.

Urban fish

Generally when searching for fish in these areas I like to slow roll an 80mm Fishtail, mixing my retrieves with short hops and deadsticks. When I am fishing at night or in turbid water I also like to add a jigspin to this to add more vibration and flash to my lure.If I am fishing storm water outlets or places I know hold fish, I will often cast Live Yabbies or Grubtails rigged weedless or with a small hidden weight Jighead, focusing my casts on the water running into the pond and the surrounding weed edges. More often than not with this method I use small hops, deadsticks and sludges along the bottom to entice the bites.  Fish like yellowbelly and redfin have very sensitive lateral lines so don’t be afraid to try subtle retrieves.


When targeting carp I use a slightly different approach. I have found that using cranks and vibes tends to spook the carp in there slow muddy pools. When targeting these ferals I like to sight cast unweighted or very lightly weighted Grubtails and Live Yabbies a foot or two in front of their noses and wait. If your lucky and don’t spook the fish, they will come over for a look at your offering before slurping it out of the mud. Carp are a very underrated sport fish and can be a great challenge to target on soft plastics.

So next time you have an hour to spare why not throw some lures in a back pack, grab a rod and go and explore some skinny urban water. Don’t be afraid to try even the smallest looking pools, drains and creeks as often there are some great fish waiting there for a feed.

By Matt Cools


Thursday, February 9th, 2017


To say I’m stoked with my 2016 tournament season would be a pretty big understatement. I made the decision not to fish my local tournament series in 2016 but to concentrate on the Australian Hobie Kayak Bream Series. The goal for the year was to fish at least 5 Hobie events as the Angler of the Year is determined by your best 5 results for the year so this would be more realistic in testing how I am fairing against the top anglers in the country. I’ll be completely honest and say that a bit of luck went my way in a couple of the tournaments but to place 5th overall for Angler Of The Year out of nearly 300 anglers and 9th in the Australian Championships was one of my proudest achievements to date in this sport and to do it on the back of the Pro Lure product made it extra special.

My planning started as soon as the 2016 Series Calendar was released as it was important not only to study the locations that I would be fishing but the time of year was critical in the type of bite pattern I would be encountering. I predominantly fish structure and canal edges with plastics, cranks and surface lures in my local haunts on the Gold Coast, which can be very rewarding if you can cast accurately, but can be incredibly frustrating to the point that you may think the fish aren’t even there if you don’t put your lures in the hot zones. My tournament series was going to have me well out of my comfort zone fishing Port Macquarie, Lake Macquarie & Forster in winter which all fish a lot differently to my home town techniques. In saying that, Gold Coast and Bribie Island were the other two events and areas that I understood so they were really areas I’d be expected to get fish but as it is always the way in tournament fishing, doesn’t mean you will.


Traditionally a winter bite is deep & slow targeting schooling fish which I don’t do a lot of up here in sunny Queensland and I tease my friends down south about how we take fish off the structure and surface all year round. Although there is still the deep schooling bite pattern available as the fish still spawn in the same fashion as their southern counterparts. So understanding this was a technique I really needed to improve, well actually acquire, I spent at least a small period of all of my social fishing honing my skills on sounding up schooled fish in deeper open water away from the structure and directly targeting them with blades and plastics. I also spent a bit of time fishing from the banks of the canals on foot targeting the bellies of the canals with the same techniques. This really helped me prepare for the year as I learnt a lot more patience in working my lures, especially plastics and I actually caught some fantastic fish in the process although not in the numbers I was used to by hitting the structure.

IMG_0509I must say that when sounding for fish, the best investment I have made is a side-scan fish finder. This allows you to search so much better and especially in shallower water as you do not have to go over the fish to see them on your sounder.  My favourite and most productive deep technique for the year was using the Pro Lure Grubtail rigged on a No2 1/8th – 1/12th jig head which I’d cast past the fish I had marked on the sounder then I would do a dead slow roll. The jig head would provide natural variation to the retrieve as it would bury in the sand or mud then pop out again as I retrieved. More often than not, the bream would just pick at it then I would pause immediately. During this pause, the bream would just pick the plastic up and run with it which was when I would strike to set the hook. This technique worked well for me and found it to be much more consistent in picking up the fish than the traditional hop and pause. It was also the key technique that allowed me to close out my tournament bags at both Port Macquarie and Lake Macquarie which is always important.



What I love about this sport is that you never stop learning and I am lucky to be surrounded by a great group of anglers with such a wealth of knowledge that they openly share to help you improve your skills. Although my techniques varied throughout the tournament season, working hard on a technique that I don’t normally use really made the difference for me throughout the year and I actually feel it improved me as an angler overall.

Now bring on 2017!!!


Port Macquarie 33rd Place

Lures that got the Bag

Pro Lure Motor Oil Grubtail, SF62 Pearl Shrimp & S36 Matt Black


Lake Macquarie 3rd Place

Lures that got the Bag

Pro Lure Pumpkinseed Live Yabbie & Pro Lure Motor Oil Grubtail


Forster 8th Place

Lures that got the Bags

Pro Lure S36 & D36 Cranks Custom Camo, Matt Black, Brown Gill


Gold Coast 2nd Place

Lures that got the Bag

Pro Lure Pumpkinseed & Mud Green Live Yabbies


Bribie Island 5th Place

Lures that got the Bag

Pro Lure S36 Cranks, SF62 Pearl Shrimp & Pro Lure Crystal Pink Paddle Grub


Australian Championships Gold Coast 9th Place

Lures that got the Bags

Pro Lure Live Yabbies


By Michael Halliday


Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

One of the most popular native sports fish where I live on the NSW South Coast is the little Aussie battler, Australian Bass. Together with its cousin the Estuary Perch, both species are an easily accessible target in the countless tidal rivers on the coast. In this article, I will provide an insight in to the way I target these fish on these rivers, as opposed to targeting bass in creeks and streams beyond tidal influence.


On the NSW South Coast there are endless options to target Bass and EP’s. All tidal rivers which have fresh water tributaries should be considered an option. Flipping that around, any fresh water creek or river which meets the salt, will have bass. It is important to remember that bass are primarily a fresh water fish only moving to the salt to spawn, and EP’s live in salt to brackish water so the upper reaches of the tidal rivers approaching the tidal limits is where you should regularly come across these two species. In relation to the two of the larger waterways on the coast, the Shoalhaven River and Clyde River, that generally means upstream of Nelligen and Nowra bridges. It is in these upper reaches that you will encounter some stunning scenery, with untouched forest meeting some spectacular natural features such as sandstone rock walls and cliffs.

Structure, Structure, Structure


When looking for specific structure there are a few favourites that I will cover: Timber and rocky snags; rock walls; grassy edges; and deep open water. My favourite, and perhaps the most obvious, are the many snags such as fallen trees and rock boulders that line the river bank. Most lures, surface and subsurface, will work in these areas but I like to favour crank baits. The standout lure for me is the Pro Lure D36 crank in Flash Green, Tiger Shrimp and Matt Black, and throwing these deep divers hard up in the snags and slow rolling them makes for exciting fishing as you anticipate a strike. The big bib easily bumps over structure and the fast diving action ensures they quickly swim down to the strike zone. I often add a suspend dot to the lure, as bass and EP’s love some hang time. If a simple slow roll doesn’t attract a bite, suspending it in their faces can sometimes tempt a strike. I like to add just enough weight to allow the lure to suspend, depending on the density of the water (salt water is more dense, so lures will have a faster float rate). Testing the lure next to your boat may be required depending on the conditions.

bassep-13The second structure I love to target is steep rock walls and cliffs, where fish like to hang tight up against the rock and sometimes in the undercuts, waiting for food to drop or flow past them. This is a favourite area to throw surface lures such as the Pro Lure SF62 Pencil hard up against the structure. The SF62 in Mangrove Shrimp worked great last season when bass and EP’s were dialled in on the surface, feeding on shrimps and insects. Wafting soft plastics down the face of these rock walls can be a great method as well, particularly when the fish are less active. My soft plastics of choice are the ever reliable Pro Lure Grubtail and Pro Lure Live Yabbie. The Grubtail is a popular bass pattern, with Motoroil, UV Worm, Jade, and Pearl Shad my choice of colours. In the Live Yabbie, Pearl Green, Mud Green, Bloodworm and Pumpkinseed UV are my go-to. I normally have a few different weights options to choose, from a light 1/28 hidden weight down to a 1/8 for fish sitting deep. On my local I find a 1/20 or 1/16 is a good starting point.
In the upper reaches of rivers you will typically encounter grassy edges, commonly featuring bull rush and muddy banks. It is along these edges that bass like to sit in ambush to feed, particularly during the peaks of the tide when the reeds are covered in water. Surface lures, especially early in the morning and late afternoon will work particularly well, otherwise throwing a crank bait parallel should see results. When fishing these areas, it pays to keep an eye on the top of the reeds, as any twitching movement within may indicate a fish.

Fishing open water for bass and EP’s is normally a fall-back option when the edges are not producing. I like to keep an eye on the sounder for any schools of fish that are sitting deep off the edges. On the sounder, bass, EP’s and bream looks very similar in terms of the arch pattern, and often schools of different species will mix, but a thick school identified on the sounder is always worth a shot. My favourite lures to throw at schooled fish are soft plastics and blades. Favourites include the Pro Lure Live Yabbie, Paddle Grub and Pro Lure Sicvibe in any of the shrimp patterns. Estuary Perch in particular love feeding on shrimp, and the Live Yabbie is a great lure to target them in the deep. Select a jighead appropriate to the depth and current, and send it down. A series of slow hops or twitches will entice a bite if the fish are feeding.

In my experience, bass are fairly habitual in terms of the snags they prefer. So once you come across some good edges, they tend to fish well season after season. The difficulty is trying to keep these hot spots a secret from your mates!  EP’s are fairly similar in their habits, although studies have found these fish to be extremely migratory. One day you may find them, and other days they are simply not there. They are also more likely to be caught over a wider area of the river, sometimes well down stream in the salt.


Gear and Techniques

The great thing about targeting bass and EP’s is that you don’t have to modify your tackle too much from your regular bream gear. A quality spin stick in the 1-4kg range and around 7’ matched with a 1000-2500 sized reel loaded with 4-6lb braid and 4-8lb leader will do the trick. If you want to get more technical about your gear, you can choose a rod and reel specific to the technique you will be doing on the day. If cranking around rock walls, snags and tighter structure I choose a 6’9” 13Fishing Muse Gold 1-3kg rod, with a 2000 reel loaded with 0.6PE Gosen braid and 4lb leader. I’m a massive fan of using straight through fluorocarbon when fishing cranks in open water, but around structure I like the direct contact with the lure and increased pulling power. For surface lures, plastics and vibes I choose a 6’10 13Fishing Omen Black 1-4kg rod, matched to a 2500 high speed retrieve reel, loaded with 0.6PE Gosen braid and a 4lb leader. I always start with a light 4lb leader and up the ante to 6lb or 8lb if the structure is extra gnarly or when I feel a little under gunned. The high speed reel allows me to control my retrieve speed and offer a bit more power when fighting fish if required.

Natural conditions including the weather seem to have an impact on the behaviour of the river natives. Air and water temperature, barometer and moon phase can all have an impact on your results so it pays to keep a record of your sessions so you can keep track of the conditions which seem to be best for your local river. In terms of tide, movement is important but my previous results and history would suggest a run-out tide is optimum.


So there’s my take on targeting bass and EP’s in the tidal rivers on the South Coast of NSW. The fighting capability, stunning scenery, and prospect of encountering some quality by-catch (bream, flathead and mulloway) place these species high on my list and I encourage you all to hit the upper reaches of your local river, so you too can encounter these awesome sports fish. And remember, catch and release is encouraged to ensure the long term viability of both species.

Don’t forget that Bass and Estuary Perch have a zero bag limit in NSW tidal rivers during the winter months from the 1st May until the end of August, to protect both species during their vulnerable spawning period.


Monday, June 27th, 2016

Night time lure fishing for Bream, with Michael Halliday


Bream fishing after dark is generally reserved for the bait brigade.  While there are plenty of lure anglers who have tried casting lures in the dark hours, there are indeed very few punters who will regularly ‘crank after dark’. Like most of you, I am sure, work and parenting duties command the lion’s share of available time.  Fishing the evenings became the only way to ensure enough hours on the water to adequately satisfy my passion for casting lures at Bream. I happen to be one of those trail blazing few who regularly cast lures at Bream in the glow of a billion stars. What’s more, I’ve been at it for a few years now and learned a thing or two.


As with all styles of fishing, you never stop learning. Although this is not the first time I have written about this style of fishing, nor am I the first or only person doing this, a few changes have crept in to the way I approach a night on the water. This article is about sharing my experience with the hope that more newbies will embrace the practice, and that regular practitioners will be able to compare and contrast my techniques with their own.

My home turf are the Gold Coast Canals. They are perfect for this style of fishing with endless sandy banks and thousands of hungry bream foraging for an easy meal.  I have also had night sessions in Lake Macquarie and Moreton Bay with just as much success. It’s worth noting that technique will vary with the terrain you are fishing.

I fish from a kayak so the fishing can be quite hectic at times.  The quantity and class of fish can vary significantly but it is always very rewarding. A quick note of warning however. For those who intend to night-fish the Gold Coast Canals from their kayaks as I do, beware.  There are toothy creatures lurking that you need to be mindful of-namely Bull Sharks. These nasty thieves are happy to knock your fish off. I’ve lost as many as four fish in a session so their presence is always in the back of my mind. So long as you remain in tune with your surroundings the water will generally tell you if there are predators lurking. Be sensible, and don’t dangle your hands and feet in the water.

My Weapons of Choice:

You need to be really comfortable with your setups if for no other reason you simply can’t see that well. You want to avoid turning your torch on every few minutes to fix tangles. I still carry 2 rods. However, rather than 2 identical setups for quick change up when things go sour, I carry a 2004 Daiwa Caldia with 3lb straight through Unitika Silver Thread fluorocarbon that is strapped to a Samurai 203 for that softer action, when pulling hooks becomes an issue. This is pretty standard for cranking. Essentially, what you use at night is the same as you use during the day. My other outfit is a 2004 Daiwa Luvias with 6lb SAS Braid ended with 6lb fluorocarbon leader. The reel is mounted on a Nordic Stage Sharpshooter. This outfit is a little more versatile as it allows you to have greater control if you need to vary the action of the crank. Leader strength doesn’t seem to put fish off at night, for obvious reasons, even when there is a little phosphorus or “fire” in the water.


My Techniques:

I have really honed my arsenal of techniques to suit the variations I encounter from system to system. Regardless of variations however, I can honestly say, where you can maintain contact with the bottom, 99% of the time you will catch more fish. Pro Lure D36 Cranks are perfect for the canal systems on the Gold Coast. They track nice and straight, maintaining their strong action while dozing the sandy edges of the canals. A slow steady retrieve, as slow as you can go whilst maintaining action and contact with the bottom, is generally the most productive, as the bream can track the lure comfortably before striking. However, during a recent outing with a visiting friend from Lake Macquarie, this methodology all went out the window. Although we found we were getting the bumps in the canals, the fish weren’t loading up as usual. We tried a little scent, which didn’t work. We then tried mixing up the technique while still maintaining the slow constant retrieve. I used the faster action of the Sharpshooter to impart a bit more action on the crank. This came up trumps for this session and the following night it was back to the slow constant steady retrieve. This demonstrates the similarities of day time and night time cranking but how subtle changes in technique can be the difference between converting and munching on a doughnut.

Here on the Gold Coast I target the open banks of which there are miles and miles. I tend to avoid the jetties and pontoons. The reason for this is that the bream tend to spread out chasing all types of crustaceans along the edges of the canals. It is not uncommon to see bream with their backs out of the water with whatever it is they are trying to eat pinned against the bank. I avoid the jetties and pontoons because the last thing you want to be doing is untangling your lure from someone’s pontoon or crab rope. The locals can get a bit cranky when they see headlamps flashing around their property.


Moreton Bay and Lake Macquarie are very similar with a lot of weed and broken bottom. This really draws on your knowledge from day time fishing and you need to pick your lure depending on the depth of water to avoid fouling up your hooks. The Pro Lure S36 Matt Black really comes in to its own in these areas. Again you want to look for areas that fish will likely move using the benefit of the cover of darkness to feed. Do your reconnaissance on these areas during the day then return in the stealth of night to reap your rewards. The slow constant retrieve really excels in these areas. Your lure is most likely running clear of the bottom and the fish is zeroing in, initially, on the vibration of the lure.

The take is generally very subtle. The fish will track the lure picking at it at times. When they are in this mood, trebles can fall victim to the bream’s oyster crunching mouths so make sure you have spare lures and trebles on hand.

My Theory on Lures:

Pro Lure D36 in Brown Gill, Tiger Shrimp and Violet are my go to colours here on the Gold Coast. Peach and Matt Black also rate well on their day. In my experience, colour does make a difference at night and more so than you might think. The Gold Coast Canals are fairly well lit so your traditional black or solid colours don’t tend to work as well most of the time. In saying this, the darker it is, I’ll tend to go more solid in colour as I do in Lake Macquarie and Moreton Bay. The Tiger Shrimp D36 is a great all-rounder as it is solid enough on top to give you nice contrast yet the more transparent base provides a little contrasting flash with the lights. My theory, built from my own discoveries and from discussions with more experienced anglers, is that a lures transparency makes it appear smaller to the Bream, therefore, is assessed as a much easier meal. Don’t be afraid to mix it up, experimentation is critical to discovering effective techniques. Most importantly, as we all know, it is the hours spent on the water that really makes the difference when learning to fish.


Night cranking is incredibly relaxing. There’s no blazing sun, it is generally much more peaceful and quiet and, most importantly, the fishing can be outstanding. Over the last few months I have blooded some new night fisher folk and to say they loved it would be an understatement. If you enjoy cranking during the day you’ll almost certainly love it at night.


Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016


When I get a break from my bream tournament schedule, a fish that I love to target on my home waters of St Georges Basin is the Dusky Flathead. Dusky’s have a huge distribution range on the East Coast from Cairns in Queensland to the Gippsland Lakes region of Victoria, but it’s here on the South Coast of NSW that these fish have become iconic, with anglers travelling from far and wide for their chance to land the fish of a lifetime. Fish 90cm and larger are no longer a myth, which is testament to the great fishing that the region offers.

Location, location, location:

photo 2When examining the body shape of a Dusky Flathead it is easy to recognise that they are a bottom dwelling fish. The huge mouth, full of sharp teeth suggest an ambush predator capable of inhaling quite substantial sized food. Dusky’s can be found all over estuary systems, from the shallows to the deep, and in the salt to the seemingly fresh water– they can be hooked absolutely everywhere. Larger fish however, will tend to congregate on the many drop-offs and deep holes that are common in coastal estuaries. It is here that the large fish will lie in ambush waiting for food to come off the flats and other structure with the tide. In tidal estuaries and rivers, I like to target bends, deeper holes and drop-offs adjacent to a food source such as a shallow flat or rock wall. The last of the run out seems to be the most productive feeding time, when baitfish and prawns become concentrated in less water volume. The receding tide also allows for easier boat positioning and lure retrieval due to the slower water flow. In deeper basins with less flow such as St Georges Basin, and Wagonga Inlet, fishing for these big fish can become a frustrating and time consuming affair with fish being hooked in what seems like the middle of nowhere, out in the deeper water. You need to remember though, that the fish will always be there for a reason, so it pays to keep a close eye on the sounder and target the deeper drop-offs and holes adjacent to structure such as flats which are full of bait. It may take you a few trips to establish a pattern, but persistence definitely pays off.

Gear guide:

Catching flathead on lures is not an advanced skill, but if you want to land big fish consistently on relatively light gear, your tackle becomes very important. As with any lure fishing, use the best quality gear you can afford. Luckily, to catch flathead consistently on lures you don’t need gear that will cost the earth. A good quality graphite spin rod around 7’ in length and anywhere between 2-5kg line rating will be sufficient to even stop the biggest of flathead. For the reel, I choose a 2000 or 2500 size loaded with thin braided mainline. In the past I used fused braids of 4-5lb breaking strain, but nowadays I prefer to use quality PE braid mainlines that are 0.6-0.8PE in diameter. These lines feel smoother, cast better, have higher breaking strains for their diameter and are generally a pleasure to use. When it comes to leader choice, a high quality fluorocarbon is an absolute must. 1-2 rods lengths of high-quality 8-12lb fluoro will offer protection against the Dusky’s sharp teeth and ensure enough ‘finesse’ to provide a natural presentation.


Lure Choice and Retrieve:

Flathead are not fussy when it comes to lures; they will take everything from small bream hard-body divers, blades, vibes, hard bodies to huge plastics. I’ve found however, that big fish tend to regularly take lures around 80-105mm in size. I prefer using a paddle tail lure, as the action attracts fish from a wide area. Where I live on the south coast of NSW, natural colours such as Pro Lure’s Brown Bass, Midnight, and Mangrove Gold are my go-to options. Rigged on a 1/4oz 4/0 or 5/0 jig head, I can fish depths ranging from 3m to 9m with ease. If conditions get too windy I may up the weight to 3/8oz, but I find the 1/4oz a perfect size for casting and retrieving comfortably all day.  With the retrieve, a single or double hop is all that’s required. Experiment with your retrieve, alternating between slow gentle lifts and strong ‘rips’ to see what the fish are prefer on the day. Flathead will sit in ambush on the bottom, so between each hop, allow your lure to settle before commencing your next ‘rip’. Watch for ticks in your line at all times, and strike hard to set the hook if you detect anything which resembles a bite.

photo 3

The fight:

Landing big fish requires high levels of skill and patience. Once you’ve hooked up to a big fish (sometimes as much as 6kg and bigger!) you may be forgiven for thinking that you are snagged. A big dusky will feel like dead weight until she starts making the big, low, grinding runs that these fish are famous for. It’s important to set your drag correctly to ensure that the fish can take line, but you can still lift the fish when you have the opportunity. Allow the fish to run if she wants, and make smooth slow lifts to bring the fish to the boat or shore when you the run stops. Often you will feel like you are going 2 steps forward, then 1 step back, but patience and keeping calm during the fight will see you land that trophy fish. Lastly, once the fish comes to the side of the boat, make sure you are prepared with a large enough net to land the fish comfortably.

Releasing big Dusky Flathead:

There’s huge support for ‘catch and release’ these days and thankfully most fish in the 60cm+ range are being released, thanks to great education and increased attention on social media. When handling the fish, use a towel or glove and grip the fish firmly in the mouth. I prefer this method of handling rather than using a lip grip which can injure the fish’s mouth. Another important tip is to wet down your brag mat to protect the belly slime of the fish before placing her down to measure. When releasing the fish, hold and support the weight of the fish in the water for a few minutes to allow her plenty of time to recover. Placing the fish in a large Environet style of net to allow lactic acids to settle next to the boat initially after capture and again before release is recommended if available. So if you do happen to land that fish of a lifetime, follow these release tips and make sure you practise CPR or ‘Catch, Photo, Release’ to ensure that generations to come can enjoy catching these iconic fish.



By Anthony Kalsow


Saturday, January 16th, 2016


“Oh that’s a good cast” I thought to myself as I worked the lure down to depth.  “Right in the snag…There’ll be a fish there for sure”. 


Sometimes fishing can seem so simple.

It’s great when you’re fishing your home estuary. You know it backwards. You’re confident in your ability to find fish in a variety of locations and know the techniques that will best suit the species you’re after.  You know which locations will fire and at what time of day to be there.  But what happens when you are out of your comfort zone and have to fish in a new location.  Can you still make it happen?  Will your favorite lures and techniques still work?  Where are the likely hot spots that are holding fish?  It can be daunting fishing a new location but there are some general tactics that can be used by all fishos to increase their chances of finding fish.

Research, research, research

Success on the water starts long before you even hook the boat up to drive to the ramp.  In our modern, technological world where most people have access to the internet, Google Maps can be an invaluable tool that can be used to explore a waterway even before you have laid eyes on it.  It allows you to view satellite images of an area and can help you to identify places and structures that you think may be holding fish.  Once identified, these likely locations can make up the beginnings of a list of areas to fish once you hit the water.  In some instances, you can see street view images.  This can be quite useful for checking out boat ramps and fishable man-made structure.  .


If you’re a bit more “old school”, paper maps can be a fantastic aid to exploring a new fishing location.  Topographic maps are great but I find the Australian Fishing Network map series brilliant.  Not only do they provide a reasonably accurate map that shows where certain species of fish are often found, but they are also packed with written descriptions for many of the locations within a fishing area.  They also have descriptions of areas that should be avoided for safety or environmental reasons.

Most fishing locations will have tackle shops with staff who fish their local area regularly.  A quick phone call to a tackle shop in an area you are going to fish can reveal a wealth of information.  You can find out things such as what the most productive times to fish are; if there is a lure, bait or technique that’s running hot; what species are most common; and where some good starting locations could be.  I always make sure that I get the name of the staff member I talked to and I   go into the tackle store when I arrive to meet them, purchase some new lures or other tackle and on the way home, I stop in to give them a report on how the fishing was and thank them for the information.  A little bit can go a long way and can help you build up a great fishing information network.


Another source of information is the monthly fishing report publications that are produced for most states in Australia.  The articles in these publications are written by local fishos who know their area really well so the information is current and accurate.  When I’m getting ready for an ABT tournament, I will always go back through these publications and find at least three reports from past years for the month that I will be fishing the tournament in.  This can help build up a picture of what techniques and lures to use and which areas fish have been found in.

On the water

Once all the research is done, it’s time to hit the water.  Armed with the information that I have collected, I will actively identify areas that will allow me to fish to my strengths in a new estuary system.  That is, I will fish locations and structures that are similar to those that I usually catch fish in when I am in my home waters. I will always start a session fishing lures that are my “confidence” lures and will use techniques that have a proven track record.  Confidence lures are those that an angler feels most comfortable with. They are the lures that the angler believes, rightly or wrongly, always produce fish them.  For me, my confidence lures are shallow diving hard bodies such as the Pro Lure S36 Crank, 60 mm Grubtails and stick minnows. These lures allow me to fish in a variety of areas within an estuary; Shallow hards on the flats; the stick minnows and grubs in most other locations.  Once I have found fish, I will often mix up the lures that I am using to try and establish a consistent pattern to catch more fish.


When I plan to use a new technique or lure, I will always do this after I have located actively feeding fish using one of my confidence lures or techniques.  Knowing there are active fish in an area can really fast track learning a new technique and catching a few fish on a new lure can give you confidence to try that lure again in another location or in a tournament  situation.

While it’s important to have “confidence” lures, it is equally as important to have a variety of lures that you can pick from on any given day.  Sometimes fish may only want a particular colour in a lure.  All is good until they stop hitting that lure.  Often this can happen on the second day of an ABT tournament when there is a lot of angler pressure.  When and if it does, I will use lures of similar colour but different shape, action or running depth.  This can turn the fish back on and prolong a productive session. Sometimes a completely different style of lure can also have the same effect so it’s worth keeping a variety of lures at your disposal.

Finding a few fish early in a session in a new location is a great confidence booster.  This allows you to work through some other parts of the environment   using the patterns that you have already established when fishing your early locations.

Fishing in a new location can be an extremely exciting experience.  Success often depends on some time spent researching the location and the techniques that work in the area.  Your research allows you to determine places that suit your style of fishing and the areas that you can use your preferred lures and techniques to successfully catch fish.  It’s a big world out there with some great fishing opportunities to be had so the next time you’re stuck at home due to foul weather use your time to check out your next great destination.

Pro tips

My first priority when fishing a new system is to determine a pattern that will enable me to catch fish.  The pattern includes:

Are the fish on the edges or down deep? I will generally start fishing my lures toward the edges first up in a new area and gradually work further out from the bank until all the water has been covered.

What type of lures will work? When fishing a new location, I have four rods rigged and ready to go.  Each will have one of my “confidence” lures.  This allows me to change lure and technique so that I can establish what types of lures are working quickly.

I always have a plan for which lures I will use and in which areas. This is usually done the night before hitting the water.  I put the lures I definitely want to use in their own section of my tackle box so I don’t forget the plan.

What type of lure retrieve will work? I usually run through a variety of retrieves early in a fishing session to determine what retrieves are working best for each of the lures I am using.

What structures are holding fish? Once I have found fish in a particular type of structure, I will actively seek out similar structures in a waterway.  Not finding fish can also help discount certain structures so you don’t waste time on the water.


Pro Tips: Jason Meech– Australian Hobie Kayak Team Member, Pro Lure Pro Staff, Samaki Pro Staff

When you are going to fish a new waterway, what things do you do before you actually get on the water?

  • I like to watch the weather for the week leading up to a comp in a new place and then I will always go to the bank that the wind has been blowing onto the most.
  • I also look at Google Earth and find spots that look like they will hold fish.
  • From this, I will identify around 8 different places to start fishing. These will include flats, edges and deep water.
  • Then it is easy. I just fish them all with lures that I know work and normally one will hold fish and that will be the one that I fish during a comp.


Pro Tips: Scott Baker– Australian Hobie Kayak Team Member and 2012 World Champion.

When fishing a new system what determines the technique you begin your day with?

Confidence is such an important part of fishing for bream and many people spend countless hours looking for the magic bullet.   There are very few things you can control when fishing for bream but it’s really important you do have control of basic things. This means starting from the bottom up. If the basics work you can then adjust to suit the situation. So I always use super light leader and also super light line straight through; as light as 2 lb straight through and a 3lb leader with braid.  I will use a 65mm blood worm grub on the lightest jig head for the conditions and then a deep diving crank bait in natural colours.  Why?  Because that’s what I’m confident with. Those lures have worked for me more times than not. If they don’t work then I start to swap colours and jig head weights.  I always keep in mind that the technique is sometimes more important than a magic lure and so I always start with super slow, long pauses and I will also try ultimate finesse.  That is, cast out and do absolutely nothing.   Just leave it.  If this doesn’t get results I start to experiment with different retrieves until I start to catch fish. For me, it comes down to confidence so I use techniques that have worked for me before and try to keep it simple.

Pro tips: Wayne Friebe

When you are fishing a new waterway, what influences your choice of technique?

I believe that similarities exist in all waterways we fish for bream and I like to choose my techniques to suit my strengths and the ways I enjoy catching bream.

Because of this, I will always look for areas that suit my preferred styles of sight fishing, surface hard bodies and plastics.   These styles are best suited to flats and vertical structure so that’s what I look for.

This makes reading a new waterway easier as you can break it down into more familiar areas and structures, even though it may be your first time on the water in that location.

Success is often very satisfying when things fall into place as well.


Written by Jon Clisby


Monday, October 5th, 2015

Have you had a crank lately? Yep, it’s that time of the year again- Christmas is just around the corner and if you blink, you’ll miss it.

The weather is turning up the heat and the cicadas are just about to roar. It is in the warmer months that this type of fishing is most productive. For those who have never used crank baits (aka hard bodies) or have little experience using them, crank baits are a great lure to get a reaction bite and many species of fish will smash them. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert but I absolutely love using cranks, so I thought I’d share some simple tips to help those who find this type of fishing overwhelming or dont know where to start. There are heaps of different types of crank baits on the market that come in many different shapes and sizes. There are short fat ones, long skinny ones and a whole heap in between. I have a personal preference for short fat ones like the S36 and D36 in the Pro lure range, which bream absolutely love. These little lures are the perfect size at 36mm in length; weigh around 4g so they cast great; and the two models dive from 1m (S36 Shallow) to 2m (D36 Deep).


There are lots of different options but I try to keep this as simple as possible. I like to use a softer/medium action rod in the 7ft 4lb-8lb range, and a reel size around 2000 to 2500. As far as line is concerned I throw them on 3 or 4lb straight through fluorocarbon but braid can also be used with a light fluorocarbon leader.


If you are still dialing in your casting accuracy then I would suggest either fishing weedy flats or finding a fishery that is quite open and has lots of broken weed beds, rocky edges or rock walls. Depth is a major consideration. Choose the S36 when working areas 1m and shallower, and the D36 when working areas up to 2m deep.In the picture below you will see mangrove edge with oyster encrusted rocks, this is prime bream territory. This area is best fished as the tide is receding. Cast your lure up current at 45 degrees to the edge and work the lure back down as the bottom drops away.



For those that have your casting accuracy down pat, throw your cranks at mangrove edges, as well as timber laden banks and man-made structure such as boast hulls, pontoons and bridge pylons.

The picture below shows a small tributary with mangrove edges either side, a great spot to fish as the tide is receding.




Now onto the retrieve. Using a slow roll technique work the lure back across the structure, the slower the better. 9 times out of 10 this will get the fish to react. You just need to make sure the rod tip has a mild wobble which indicates the lure is actually swimming. You want the lure to be close to, if not bumping in to the structure/bottom. Often a lure bumping in to rocks will entice a bite. On open weedy flats, don’t be discouraged if you are constantly picking up weed. This is a sign that your lure is ‘in the zone’. Add a pause into the retrieve to let the lure float up a little if you find it is constantly scraping the bottom, this can also induce a strike at times.

Now for the hook up. To hook the fish you don’t need to ‘strike’ as you would with other lures such as soft plastics. Often the fish will hook themselves, and a firm wind to take up the slack is all that is required, but be ready as the second you stop concentrating is usually when the bite will come. Lastly, it is quite easy to pull hooks using crank baits so keep your drag on lower setting.

This is just the beginning and I’m sure that once you start, you won’t stop. Crank baiting will not only be responsible for some of the most productive explosive fishing sessions you will have, but some days fish will only be hitting hard bodies so you definitely want to have this technique under your belt.

Stay tuned as our next article will look at a more advanced approach to cranking techniques.

bream net