Having success in the shallows
  |  First Published: March 2017

Many anglers say the shallows hold small fish or even no fish. However, you’d be surprised at what is lurking in water only a few feet deep.

Shallow water fishing is something that can be very successful if done right. The main reason some anglers catch more fish than others in the shallows is noise. Noise such as outboard motors, banging, walking around the boat and even the sound of your sonar can spook anything in the area. Successful ways to reduce this noise are to kill the motor before you reach the ground you want to fish, turn off your sounder once in the correct area and work out your drift so you don’t need to reposition the boat halfway through.

When working out your drift, the main thing you need to know is what way the drift will be taking you and how fast you will be drifting. This information can help you set yourself up to work as much of the area as possible without having to reposition the boat. When you drift, always cast in front of your drift so you can drag your lure through the ground that you haven’t floated over.Anywhere with some sort of structure such as reef, weed or rubble with a depth ranging from 1-3m is a great place to start your search for likely looking areas.

Baitfish are also important to have in an area. With baitfish you will be able to find out what sort of lure to use by matching the size and type of the bait found.

Time of day is also another big factor into fishing shallow water. Low light times are best. As the day goes on, fish can shut down in an instant with boat traffic being the biggest contributor to fish going off the bite.

Tides can vary on the location you are fishing, but my personal favourite is the start of the incoming, as the fish are just moving up in the shallows looking for a feed.

The gear needed for this can be simple and most people should have a combo lying around that will do the job. A rod around 4-8lb that is 7ft long will do the trick, matched up to a 2500 reel with 8lb braid. The combo I like to use is my Samurai Infinite 2-4lb with a 2500 Shimano Stradic spooled with 4lb braid. Leader can change depending on the water clarity. I like to carry leader ranging from 4-12lb, which covers a variety of circumstances.

As I said previously, lure selection can vary on the bait in the area. On a recent outing, I found that the bait where I was fishing were only small, so I decided to throw a small hardbody – a little Atomic Crank 38. However, three weeks prior to this there were several hardiheads around the 3-4” size, so I was using soft plastics like the 3.5” ZMan GrubZ to imitate the bait. I use heavy jigheads so I can get a good casting distance to cover ground.

There are a variety of species you will encounter doing this type of fishing including bream, sweetlip, squire and even a few others here and there. I hope that this has given you a few pointers so you can get out there and get yourself a few fish. If you want to follow my fishing adventures, I have an Instagram page --e-mail address hidden-- and a Facebook page (Ryan’s Fishing) that I regularly post on. Until next month, tight lines.

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