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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...

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July 13, 2017 . 4 MIN .

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.