Fishing is a wonderful way to reconnect with nature after a long, cold winter. Here are a few tips to help you get hooked.
Fishing's about sitting in a serene environment, watching the birds, the view, getting outside.
Fishing is one of Australia's favourite pastimes. It's a sport that can be enjoyed from childhood through to retirement. Seventy-five per cent of fishing enthusiasts aged over 50 have been fishing for more than 30 years, according to a 2014 survey by Curtin University.
Victorian fishing enthusiast David Kramer has been fishing since he was four. “I have black and white photos of me fishing. I used to go with my grandfather,” he says.
David, the Manager at Tackleworld in Cranbourne and Mornington, says the best thing about fishing is that it’s an activity for all ages and abilities. “But if you don’t catch a fish, you may not want to do it again,” he says. To catch a fish, you need the right gear. “The longer the rod, the further you’ll cast. And the further you cast, the better your chances.”
If you are fishing from a jetty, a variety of chrome metal lures will help you catch salmon or tailor. Be careful to match the lure size to the size of the fish you are hoping to catch.
Want to snag a squid? You don’t need to use a specially designed squid jig. David says using whole bait fish is a technique often overlooked.
“I’ve caught some of the biggest squid on suspended bait,” he says. “But if you like using jigs, look for the Australian-designed brands Ika and Odori. They have great ranges of colourful jigs.”
You don’t have to spend a lot of money either. “Fifty dollars will buy you a rod, line, hooks, sinkers and bait,” David says. “Once you have your first set-up and a fishing license, it costs nothing to fish along your local jetty, beach or riverbank. And the meals you make using your catch are good returns on your investment. Fishing is one of the easiest ways of gathering your own food today.”
Carol McDonald joined the Gippsland Lakes Fishing Club in Victoria six years ago, following retirement. She had fished a little when she was growing up on the Murray River but has now found more time for the hobby.
Carol’s husband Alby is also a member of the club and loves going prawning, a pastime they enjoy together. Carol says she likes the hunter/gatherer lifestyle. “I like opportunities to find my own food.”
Carol’s top tip is to bring extra hooks and sinkers. “Have lots of spare hooks and sinkers in case you get a snag,” Carol says. “Don’t get stressed if you lose a hook, they’re not expensive.
“We live at Lakes Entrance so we fish at Lake Tyers and sometimes at Marlo, where the Snowy River goes out to the sea.”
Fellow Victorian fishing enthusiast Jeanette Seignior comes from a family of recreational fishers and has also fished since she was a child.
“My father fishes, so does my brother and my husband. I have a son who is fanatical about fishing. We all fish,” the East Gippsland resident says.
“My favourite time to go fishing is at sunset and then stay for the moon rising. It’s a beautiful time to catch pinkies (small snapper).
“Fishing is about sitting in a serene environment, watching the birds, the view, getting outside, getting the sun on your body and contemplating,” Jeanette says.
Fishing is so popular, that some councils in country Victoria have installed wheelchair-accessible fishing platforms. Look for platforms in Mallacoota, Lilydale, Bendigo, Bairnsdale (the Mitchell River, a great place to fish) and Lake Hyland at Churchill.