Early bird catches the worm
  |  First Published: February 2017

Low light periods can be the best time to go for a fish, and you would be surprised what you can find creeping up in the shallows before the sun’s up.

One of my favourite forms of fishing is setting my alarm half an hour before first light and riding my push bike down to the water to throw surface lures as the sun’s starting to come up. I have found this to be very effective, and even if you don’t get a fish or two, the sunrise is still truly stunning to watch. Wading the flats during the low light periods can be a real eye-opener with the species you see swimming around hunting for food.

Waking up when it’s still dark and grabbing my rod and a few lures to put in my pocket and riding down to the water is something I have done for the last 14 months. Walking out in the crystal-clear water and having a flick around for species such as bream, whiting and flathead can be so peaceful. Seeing flathead cruising in water that’s only just covering their backs is something that I love seeing and is quite common, even along the busiest of beaches come daylight.

My preferred way of fishing the low light times is with surface lures. I have a range of surface lures to suit the conditions including Bassday Sugapens, Atomic K9 Walkers and small cup faced poppers such as the River2Sea Bubble Pop in the natural prawn-looking colours. I also carry a few soft plastics and couple of hardbodies.

When using lures like the Bassday Sugapen, I like to put my rod tip up and give it a wiggle to make the lure swim side-to-side with a little push of water from the small cup face on the front. When chasing species like bream and flathead, I prefer to pause the lure every metre or so and pause for a few seconds at a time. You’ll find that bream love the pause. They come up underneath it and look at it before they suck it off the surface.

Whiting love a lure that’s moving fast. They will chase it down before jumping out of the water to strike it. Keep in mind that as soon as you pause it, they seem to shy away.

Also, a great idea for the surface lures is putting small assist hooks on them. I find little assist hooks on the back of the lure with a little bit of sparkle is a great modification. My favourite hooks to use are the new Atomic Trickbitz and the Decoys in the 8-10 size. I find that these stop those short strikes and can often lip hook a fish when they aren’t really in the mood for eating.

Walking around and casting in random spots can get you some fish, but my preferred method is to find the bait the fish are feeding on. Upon seeing either bait flicking and skipping across the surface or bait swimming around, I like to cast over them and work my lure into them with plenty of pauses, so they can get a good look at your lure.

Prawn season is my favourite, because you see prawns skipping across the surface and bream poking their noses out of the water to suck them in. When walking a sand flat, I also like to target either yabby beds or some form of structure that is different from the standard flat bank, which can be a deeper gutter or a patch of weed.

This type of fishing is one of my favourites, because of the things you see, and the fish you catch. It’s really something special. On the school holidays, I find myself doing this form of fishing almost five times a week, because it is so enjoyable. Even if you aren’t catching fish, the sight of the sun rising over the water is a wonderful thing to see.

Until next month, tight lines!

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