I can’t recall how many times I have been fishing estuaries where we are travelling from location to location looking for fish, drifting areas to try and cover as much territory as possible only to see many other boats anchored up in the same spot for hours. Sometimes they seem to be catching a few and other times the only fish they seem to catch are small ones.
Don’t get me wrong many fisho’s know a good drop off, anchor up, burley like crazy and bring the fish to them but more often than not many fisho’s anchor up in any old spot they think looks good and float an old prawn out the back. If this is you and you want to catch more fish you have to start hunting!
At different parts of the tide the actual speed of the run varies. For example after the first hour or so of a tide change the water starts to run at its fastest. There is virtually no point then anchoring up in a channel as not only will any burley you put in the water drift too far away from you, your bait will probably not hold bottom either. Some pelagic fish like Tailor will sometimes feed in fast-running water but for the most part your regular estuary species use the current to travel to a back eddie or some sort of structure to break up the fast-running water.
You really need to read what the water is doing before you drift or anchor up. Some little rules I use that may help you:
- On the slack tide which is right at the top of the tide or bottom of the tide (plus about 1 hour on either side of the tide) your drift if any will be very slow but you will often move a little with a bit of wind. Whether you are using bait or lures you're more likely to be able to fish the entire water column and you will cover some ground.
- When the tide is really pumping try and fish locations that have a break in the flow like a jetty, a pontoon or maybe and big snag. Fish will hold in these locations and face into the current. You can anchor up at each spot and try your luck searching out the fish rather than waiting for them to possibly come to you.
You will get to know when you're not drifting enough or too much based on the flow and remember if you are a bait fisho, using burley when you drift can sometimes be a real waste of time if you just watch the burley drift away at speed in the current.
Tight Lines, Bergie.