At this time of year many keen lure casters around the south eastern fringes of the country are keen to try surface lures on some of our favourite estuary and freshwater fish. Although a wide variety of species will swipe a surface lure at one time or another, the most accessible to most people are bream, whiting and bass.
All three can be successfully pursued from a boat, kayak or by foot, either shore based or wading the shallows. Obviously bream and whiting are commonly encountered around estuaries, lakes or other salty environments, whereas bass are more likely to be found up in the freshwater reaches of creeks through the warmer months.
While each of the three are different, they share some similar habits and all three will keenly smash topwater presentations. The golden hour around sunrise or sunset is generally the best time to try surface lures on any of the three and although it’s still possible to fool them through the middle of the day, they tend to become less active and retreat to heavily shaded spots when the sun is high in the sky.
Weather also influences their behaviour and in most cases bream, whiting and bass are more inclined to hit surface lures after a few hot days, when the shallows are warmed right up. Conversely, a cool change or heavy rains sweeping through may drop water temps and see the fish in a less active mood.
They can also become harder to fool when there’s no breeze and the water is glassy flat, as well as being more hesitant the first few mornings after a bright full moon. Bring back some breeze or cloud cover though and fishing tends to be better.
*Try to be out on the water and casting before sunrise to take advantage of their prime feeding time.
*Bream aren’t afraid of seriously shallow water and quite often they’ll seek out the shallowest spots over deeper places.
*Being easily spooked and a very wary species, keeping back and making long casts is a better tactic for bream than trying to get in close to potential bream structure and making short casts.
*Mix up retrieve techniques, with lots of fast rips, quick burns and sudden pauses. Each day is different, so it may take some experimentation to see what works best.
*Whiting love sandy flats more so than any other type of bottom, however, it’s also important to look for flats with plenty in the way of other structure such as nipper colonies, weedy patches, rocks, mangroves and oysters.
*Keep the lure moving at a constant, steady pace, rather than pausing if a fish is seen zooming up behind the lure.
*Keep an eye on weather forecasts and try to time outings after a few hot days, with a high or rising barometer. Steamy afternoons with some storm activity around can really switch bass on, providing the barometer still remains high and it’s not too dangerous to be out there fishing.
*Cast lures into shaded pockets more so than out in the open. However, in some larger, wide river sections bass may be found amongst weed further out away from the banks.
*Spots with more current flow are generally much better than dead still water.