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Posted 23th November 2022

Summertime Fishing Options

Summertime Fishing Options
Summertime Fishing Options

Robert Thornton

Summer in Australia is when we can take a break from our societal obligations and make time for what’s important: friends and family. Getting outdoors with our loved ones and enjoying our sunburnt country is something we look forward to all year. For many anglers, it’s a time to focus on their true passion, and experience the awesome fishing this land of extremes has to offer. What better way to soak up some rays with your people than to take them fishing, and what’s good about summer is there is a stack of options to suit beginner and experienced anglers alike!

Summer fishing success means changing your approach a little, however. Long, scorching days and large crowds can pose a challenge to anglers, but by fishing smarter and not harder, you’ll be able to make the most of the short windows you have. 

Secrets to Success in Summer

The two main factors to overcome during the summer holidays are the oppressive heat and the excess human traffic. Successful anglers will time their fishing so that they can beat both of these things, and the easiest way to do it is to avoid fishing during daylight hours.

During the middle of the day, summer temperatures all around the country can and do reach 40°C, and when the mercury climbs this high most fish will shut down and seek cooler water. Hiding away deep in structure or diving down to where the temperature is more agreeable is standard behaviour for most fish in summer, just as we would prefer to be indoors in the aircon. There’s an old fishing adage that really rings true through summer: lunchtime is for lunch, not fishing.

During mid-morning and afternoon, holidaymakers will be capitalising on this slightly cooler window to get their daily vitamin D. Fishing during these times can be productive, but if you can’t manage to get away from the crowds finding success can be difficult.

This leaves the early morning, late afternoons, and night time. Those who are willing to get up early or stay out a little later are the ones who catch the lion’s share during summer. It may seem like extra effort, but fishing at these times can be super convenient, as it leaves more time for non-fishing activities during the day. It also means you don’t have to worry about sun damage or heatstroke.

Let’s now look at a few great summer targets that anyone can chase. There are many, many more, but to cover them all would take too long. Let’s get stuck into some Christmas fishing!

Whiting, Bream and Flathead

Anyone who grew up fishing during their summer holidays will almost certainly have experienced this heroic trio. Known widely as our ‘bread and butter’ estuary fish, they are readily available, respond to a variety of techniques, and they provide tasty fillets for a Christmas feed.

Any sandy estuary around the country will have at least one of these fish in abundance, and fishing outside of peak traffic and temperature windows is the key to success.

Bait anglers can find fish at any stage of the tide, but it’s important to understand their movements throughout the tide cycle. As a general rule, bream, whiting and flathead will tend to mooch around on top of sand flats and along the edge of mangrove forests when the tide is high. As the tide recedes, they will sink back into the channels and seek out slightly deeper water.

Fishing with saltwater yabbies, bloodworms, prawns, and kitchen baits such as raw chicken, rare steak, and even bread is often successful. Light spin outfits such as the light or ultra light 20 Exceler spin rods with a 2000 or 2500 size Exceler LT spin reel are the perfect balance between affordability and quality.

Lure anglers will also find plenty of action, and mimicking the small prawns, baitfish, yabbies and other summertime prey is the best way to get amongst it. Lures like the Infeet Sazanami 60SP, Infeet Rollin’ Crank MR and DR, Pro Double Clutch IZM 60SP-G, Slippery Dog 65F TG Tune and soft plastics such as the Bait Junkie 2.5 Minnow and Grub are great for chasing bread and butter species in the estuaries.

Light braid and leaders in the 4-8lb range and 2-5kg spin tackle is fine for a bit of summer holiday lure fishing.

You can read our more in-depth blogs about bream, whiting and flathead by clicking the links!

Mangrove Jack

Jacks are a challenging target wherever you chase them, but avoiding crowds and the daylight hours will give you an advantage, as this is when they like to play.

Fishing with live baits like herring, prawns, mullet and garfish, as well as dead baits like mullet fillet, squid and pilchard will put you in with a chance. Finding good structure to present these baits to is the key to success, and the best way to do this is with a styrofoam float. Using the current, anglers can hold their bait near enough to the structure to tempt a jack to come out and eat, but far away enough to have a chance of landing them when they do eat the bait!

Medium heavy baitcast or spin tackle is needed when bait fishing for jacks, as is good quality braid and leader. J-Braid Grand in the 20-40lb range with 30, 40 or 50lb Saltiga Nylon Leader are great tools for this close-quartered game; jacks don’t fight fair!

The lure casting crowd begin to salivate as summer approaches, and quietly pottering up a creek early or late in the day in search of a trophy jack is a great use of your time off.

A baitcast outfit like a 19 Tatula 601MB paired with a Tatula 150 reel is the perfect tool for accurately casting hardbodies, topwaters and soft plastics into snags to tempt a jack. Spin tackle is suitable, so long as it’s rated to at least 3-6kg.

Proven lures include the Steez Current Master 93SP-DR, Slippery Dog 97F and Bait Junkie 3.2 Inch Minnow. The trick is to get these lures in as deep as possible, finding any nook or cranny where a jack might be hiding and waiting for its next meal. When a jack hits, it’s game on, and you’ll need to be on top of your game to ensure they don’t take your lure back into their lair and hang it up for decoration!

For more jack tips, click here!


In our southern states summer is a time when bait and lure anglers have snapper on the brain. Following their spawning, which typically happens around spring and early summer, these fish will be looking to build condition.

Fishing over known snapper ground in around 8-20m of water is a good ploy in most southern waters, and baits of pilchard, squid, prawns, and other oily dead baits are preferred.

Paternoster rigs with 4/0-6/0 size circle hooks and a 40lb trace like Saltiga FC X-Link Leader should see you stand a chance against some of the big snapper found across the bottom half of Australia.

Anyone looking to use artificials in the same areas should do well too, with jigs and soft plastics taking their share of snapper. Solid spin tackle is great for working lures for snapper, and for general luring you can’t go past the TD Black Shake’N’Bake 701MXS.

Lures that will take snapper during summer include Bait Junkie 5 and 7 inch Jerkshads, and Kohga Bayrubber jigs in 80, 100, 120 and 150 gram weights.

To learn more about snapper tackle, click here!

River Bass

We all know bass fishing in dams can be great during summer, but it’s in the coastal creeks and rivers where bass really hit their straps. Spring and summer rains fill the rivers and allow the bass safe passage back up into the freshwater pools following their winter spawn in the brackish reaches.

Whether you’re in a kayak, canoe, car topper tinny or just bashing along on foot, the trick is to get away from the crowds and work your lures in the deepest, darkest, snaggiest pools you can find!

Mornings and afternoons are key times for bass hunters, however in places where it’s safe to access at night, some great topwater action can be had. Popular swimming holes might not be so good during the day, however when the sun goes down and people go home, it can be worth heading down to work topwater lures through the open pools. At night, wild bass will tend to move away from structure to actively hunt for prey.

Kitting up for a bit of river bass action couldn’t be simpler, and while some people like to splash out on the finest gear available, it really isn’t necessary for bass.

Land-based bassers will need a way to carry essentials like lures, leader, water and pliers, and Daiwa’s range of storage has you covered. For short trips, the Sling Bag is perfect way to keep a small kit safe, while longer treks might call for a larger pack, such as the Guide Backpack.

Light spin gear in the 2-5kg range is good for bassing anywhere, however anglers tossing heavier spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and skirted jigs may find a baitcaster more useful. Good quality 4-8lb mainline and leader is suitable for these Aussie battlers.

Lures that resemble small baitfish, shrimps, and insects are going to draw the most interest from these fish. The Infeet Spike 44MR and 44EXDR, Steez Spinnerbait, Steez RPM Crank Mid-10 and Bait Junkie 2.5 Minnow and Grub (which are perfect for rigging on Daiwa’s Jig Spinner SS) are awesome for working the depths when the sun is still up.

As the light fades, or if you find yourself in a more confined environment, topwater presentations will come into play. The Slippery Dog 65F and Steez Popper 50F will turns the heads of upward-looking bass!

Cash in this Christmas

I hope this blog has shown you that it’s possible to enjoy time with the friends and family while also cashing in on the endless fishing options available in this country.

Remember, the secret to success in summer is fishing smarter, not harder. Avoid the heat and the crowds, and even fish at night if you have to. The holiday period is also a great time to introduce close friends and family to this awesome sport.

Merry Christmas to anglers everywhere, and good luck on your summer sojourns!



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