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Fishing & Boating

10 July, 2021

Luring fish to your hook

G’DAY to the Mackay Community! Welcome to my fifth writing installment for Reel Fishing Mackay with Amy Bender! I hope you have kept up with me on my previous write ups


G’DAY to the Mackay Community! Welcome to my fifth writing installment for Reel Fishing Mackay with Amy Bender! I hope you have kept up with me on my previous write ups. I’ve taken you along with me to some recent local events involving fishing in our wonderful region, my beginners guide to starting your own fishing tackle box as well as sharing my tips and tricks as to where you can wet a line without travelling too far out of the Mackay area. For this week’s fishing report I am helping guide the beginner to transition from bait fishing to lure fishing and will show you where you can practice your new found fishing skill in our community.

So while I’ve wrote about ‘live bait’ fishing it does, at times, have the advantage of catching more fish on a good day but ‘lure’ fishing can also catch fish in the right spot with the right lure on a good day. You see neither are more complicated than the other they are just different styles of fishing and both easy to master once understood and put into practice.

 When starting with lure fishing it’s important to start with your basic fishing knowledge and compare which baits are used to catch which species of fish. Our most common species that are targeted but not limited to in our stunning Mackay Region are Flathead, Whiting, Bream, Trevally, Sooty Grunter, Barramundi and Saratoga. By picking a fish to target for your adventure it’s much easier when selecting and buying what lures will work best for you.

For the absolute beginner, I highly recommend using monofilament fishing line. Braided line is used but I advise you to knock off a few bread and butter species before you look to more challenging targets as no one became an expert without a lot of practice first! The first group of lures that are more friendly for the beginner fisher are the ‘soft plastics’.

 They look and feel real so that fish are attracted to eat then and hang on to them longer. They are available in a wide range of styles and colours to better match what fish are feeding on or they are made to stand out of the crowd. 

They are very affordable, versatile and easily available. Some come with hooks in them already or ‘rigging plastics’ come without. ‘Grubs’ are popular because of their ability to mimic a baitfish in the water. Its curly tail also vibrates and produces action when used effectively. There are two types, one being the ‘single tail’ and the other called a ‘twin tail’.

They are tricky too as you can manipulate their form to look like a baitfish or a worm when altering its speed and action. The colors range from white, which look like baitfish, natural colours to look like insects, worms and leeches, and neon to fish in water deeper then 2.4 meters. 

You can purchase these in fishing kits or individually, so if buying individually don’t forget to buy the ‘Jigghead’ hooks to match which size soft plastics so roughly size 1/0 or 2/0 is plenty to begin with. These lures fish best in freshwater dams or ponds, heavy weed area, rock fishing and jetty fishing.

 Another lure that’s great for beginners are commonly known as hard-bodied lures. There require the fisher to really impart action on the lure to imitate a wounded baitfish or swimming action. Once you learn to balance the bait in the water, the more inspired you get by the potential it brings. These  come with hooks attached and in an array of colours, shapes, sizes and weights – depending on what you are targeting.

I often look in the clearance bin of the tackle shops and pick them at random or you can buy kits with a variety to fish at different depths. When beginning it is best to start small and practice casting over and over again experimenting with your retrieval. Mix it up! As you trial and error what works for you at your regular fishing spot you will get to know which lures get attention and which ones don’t.

 These lures fish best around freshwater dams or ponds, rock fishing, jetty fishing and offshore fishing. The last fishing lure that I would like to introduce to the beginner angler is the metal spinning lure. These have awesome versatility. 

They are designed specifically for a spinning rod and reel combo, and are great for casting over a great distance. They come in a large variety of shapes and sizes and are a basic but tried-and-true lure. They dart through the water, reflecting the sunlight, appearing to the fish as a fleeing or dying bait fish. They attract any species of fish that consumes other fish.

 I recommend these for rock fishing, jetty fishing and beach fishing as these lures come with a bit of weight so casting out is easy peasy. When retrieving, wind slowly, adding twitches and following again with slow pauses. These ones are a simple staple when beginning your adventure into lure fishing and can be used from a structure or offshore in the boat. When shopping for lures do shop around and don’t be shy to check out all the clearance bins as they are often a great place to start with last season’s stock of lures when starting out. You will lose fishing gear it’s unavoidable so not spending top dollar is key.

When unsure don’t be afraid to ask your local Tackle Shop as there is never a stupid question, they want to give you a hand navigating your way around their store and eager to help. I hope that this does help any beginners out there not sure where to start with lures and gives you a little better understand of the lure fishing basics. 

I’ve written about places you can live-bait fish, which are the Pioneer River’s excellent fishing platforms. They are great family-friendly places so definitely go check them out over these school holidays! Next week I will write all about some awesome freshwater local Mackay fishing spots that you might have forgotten about! I’ve found a few places where you can take all your new lures and practice, practice, practice! Until then, happy fishing, Mackay! - Cheers, Amy Bender


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