Beach Fishing Tips – Gear & Tackle – Surf Rigs & Lures

Beach Fishing TipsThe Facts on Beaches in Australia

Beach Fishing Australian beaches is for many Aussie anglers the most rewarding form of the sport bar none. Why wouldn’t it be? With 36,000km of beautiful Aussie coastline, one could fish the beaches for several life times and still barely scratch the surface, always enjoying an abundance of our most famous sport and table species. A recent publication by Professor Andy Short provides some very interesting facts about Australian beaches that only confirms how blessed we are here down under. In many respects, it is beach fishing in Australia that remains the last bastion of angling exploration. According to Short “Most of the coast is unvisited…I think Australians would be surprised to learn that the typical Australian beach has no name and no access”. This sort of information augers well for the beach angler determined to experience untouched, pristine beach fishing environments. Short goes on to say that “Twenty five per cent of beaches are accessible by car along a sealed road, 14 per cent are accessible by four wheel drive and 55 per cent aren’t accessible at all.” One could argue that ‘access’ should be rated against desire to access. There might not be a road but, a want of roads never stopped the determination to access places yet untouched. Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth crossed the mountains without a road. The results were historic.

Adventuring sprit aside the average beach angler can access 25% of our beaches in their humble day drive. That’s approximately 9000km of easily accessible beach. The beach angler also enjoys a dizzying array of beach fishing gear and tackle, and beach fishing tips to hit the sand with confidence. Regardless of budget restraints, experience or lack thereof, beach fishing is available to all, is incredibly rewarding and a famous discipline within the sport where you can enjoy access to awesome fish in some of the most picturesque environments Australia has to offer.

Before we look at basic beach tackle, rigs, lures and tips, it should be noted that beach fishing doesn’t necessarily mean surf fishing. There are hundreds of kilometres of Australian beaches that will never see a wave, even in heavy storms. Many Aussie beaches are protected bays or islands and reef. The surface of the water can be as flat and wave action free as a lake or millpond. This fact is important to note as it can alter the species you will find as well as the tactics and tackle employed to catch them. When fishing a flat beach you can fish very light indeed.

Beach Fishing GearBeach and Surf Fishing Gear and Tackle

The modern beach angler will see every fishing rig, combo and set up imaginable on the beach. From a 6ft rod sporting a small 1000 size spinning reel to a full game fishing rig set up to tackle the biggest of sharks the ocean has to offer. Of course, there is everything in between. Volumes could be written about fishing the beach and indeed have been. The key thing to remember is that much of your beach fishing kit will be determined by the location, conditions and the target species.

The most common species beach anglers target are the Tailor, Bream, Flathead, Whiting, Australian Salmon, Dart and Mulloway. Of course depending on where you are in Australia you can include fish such as Mackerel and Trevally. For the purpose of keeping this article concise, the surf fishing tips, surf fishing rigs, lures for the beach and common baits will represent a flexible, general purpose kit that gives you appropriate access to all of these species.

Surf Fishing RodSurf Fishing Rods

Look for rods starting at 10ft up to 12ft and even longer. The key feature of the surf fishing rod will be its casting ability. All the famous brands such as Shimano, Daiwa, Penn and Wilson have a fabulous selection to meet all budget restrictions. The tip here is to get as light as practicable. Holding such a big rod for hours on end can bring on fatigue. Full graphite or composite is best. Spinning rods designed specifically for the beach are the best place to start. Choosing the rating can often be personal preference and depends on whether you want more sport, casting distance, and the size of fish you target. Start at ratings around 3kg and up. This will also be heavily influenced by the reel you choose. It should be noted, if you feel like going old school and traditional and feel you would like to use an Alvey Reel, you must get a low mount surf rod to match. An Alvey is a side cast reel and requires a rod that is designed for the reel. The butt of such rods are very short.Surf Fishing Rods

Surf Fishing ReelsSurf Fishing Reel

With the exception of choosing an Alvey rig, you would usually start with choosing a rod then select a reel to balance. While overhead reels and side cast reels are fine, it is very hard to go past the modern spinning reel. The technology is fantastic and most of the major manufacturers have beach specific designs. Like the rod, the reel should have premium casting qualities, they should be very strong and durable. Sand and surf can wreck a spinning reel very quickly if it does not have the right inclusions. Sealed drag and bearings are nigh on essential, next to its casting attributes. Full graphite reels are excellent in fighting off corrosion and should also top your list.  Keep in mind, while there are beach fishing reels available at very cheap prices, a reel that has all the features you require plus durability, will cost a little more. The common beach fishing reel sizes will of course depend on your rod but as a guide will normally be from 5000 to 14000 size. These would be spooled with mono from 5kg to 10kg. Braid is fine also, and the choice of mono or braid comes down to personal preference.

Surf Fishing Reels

Surf Beach Fishing LuresSurf Fishing Lures

Here are a selection of lures that are tried, tested and very successful on our beaches. For the most part, casting requirements, wave conditions and the wind will determine the most appropriate lure for the day. While there a host of other lures one can use on the beach. These are the most common.

  • Metal slices are just about the best lure for the beach and definitely the most common. They are available in many sizes to match the bait fish your target is eating. Flexible retrieve options and incredible casting qualities make them invaluable.
  • Soft plastics are also very good on the beach. Use a jig head only as large as required for casting purposes. Add some fish attractant to the lure for even better results.
  • When the surf is a little flatter, with little or no wave action, try a popper for spectacular results.
  • Hard bodied minnows are also very good in the surf. Size will be determined by how far you need to cast and they only need be shallow divers.

Surf Fishing Lures


Beach RigsSurf Fishing Rigs

Here are a selection of beach fishing rigs that are very simple and very successful. These rigs will handle pretty well all fishable surfside conditions.

  • The classic. For Tailor, Mackerel and Aussie Salmon, run as much weight as required for casting, directly to a gang hook set in sizes 3/0 to 5/0 hooks. Use a snap swivel to connect your line to the hooks, this way you can change hooks quickly and mitigate against line twist. Add a West Aussie Pilchard or Garfish for bait.
  • Connect a lure to your snap swivel and start casting. Nothing is cleaner, simpler and more rewarding.
  • A sinker and swivel connected to a leader of around 50-100cm is a fantastic general purpose rig for all species. The hook size and style will depend on your target. If there are whiting, Flathead or Tailor about, use a long shank. Use only enough lead for casting to your strike zone.
  • A great rig for when the surf is pumping is the good old Paternoster. Sinker styles are variable here but often about holding the bottom to combat lateral sweep. Try a star shape sinker or a grappling style sinker. Single hooks or ganged hooks are great for this rig.

Surf Fishing Rigs


Surf Fishing Tips

  • Buying cheap, poor quality equipment to be used on the beach is a false economy. Purchase the best you can afford. Durability in the sand and surf counts.
  • Survey beaches from a high vantage point whenever possible. Check for variations in the water colour for an indication of gutters and holes. A good set of binoculars comes in handy for this. You can also use your high point and binoculars to spot feeding activity on the water.
  • When you feel a Whiting bite at your bait, walk slowly back up the beach to encourage the strike.
  • While a featureless beach while hold fish, always seek out structure. This is where the fish are feeding.
  • Be aware that fish will often feed right at your feet. Casting as far as you can every time will often take your bait or lure straight past the strike zone. Whiting are a classic for this, and often, a throw of just a few meters puts you in the zone.
  • While evening dawn and dusk are the standard times to fish, don’t be afraid to fish a gutter or hole at any time of the day but if you can correspond that with a rising tide around an hour or so before hand till an hour or so after the turn then you will be better prepared for a bite.
  • Just because you’re fishing a beach doesn’t mean you need heavy gear. Depending on weather your beach is calm, Try a 6ft rod with a spinning reel around 2500. Fish 3kg line with fresh flesh baits, like pippi or worms, or soft plastics. The Bream and Whiting love it. The bonus is, when you hook into an Australian Salmon, you’re set for the most wonderful fight you can imagine.

Fishing Tackle Shop  has all your beach fishing gear and tackle at awesome prices. What they don’t have is not worth buying. Stock up now and get out on one of our beaches to catch yourself a feed. Bag out on Bream or tackle a Tailor, just make sure you visit before you go.

Fishing Tips – Fishing Lures For Jewfish (Mulloway) Article

Fishing Tips – Fishing Lures For Jewfish (Mulloway)


On the back of a cracker season for Jewfish on the far North Coast of NSW Australia. I thought I may be able to impart with some observations, that may be handy for those about to embark on chasing Mulloway using hard body fishing lures. It took me some time to land my first Jewfish which fell to a soft plastic fishing lure at dead low tide off the far north coast rocks of NSW in what I have come to understand is {for this spot at least} perfect water. It should be noted that capture was on a new moon in August in the middle of a bright sunny day soon after lunch under clear blue skies.

Fishing Tips: Conditions for catching a Jewfish:

There is a great deal of mythology surrounding Mulloway, and a great deal written about them and spoken about them amongst fisherman. Full moon, high tide, low pressure systems, night time, dawn or dusk, foul seas, cold foul weather, dirty water the list goes on. Having landed a couple from the stones now, I have come to think of my own criteria, that is not exclusive, but a series of boxes I tick when looking at the places I may be able to fish. This may change from place to place, the fish and the bait fish may behave differently in your neighbourhood for any number of reasons, to how they behave in mine. Proximity of rivers or estuary , depth of water , structure and migration pattern of fish, bait with water temperature may be some of the things in play that differ from place to place. What is important is to keep at it, and take note of the times that you or someone you know has landed fish and what was going on with the wind, moon, tide, sea temp, season, baitfish etc. You will soon have your own personal set of boxes to tick that are more pertinent to the place and methodology you chose to fish.

My personal opinion on why this year (2007) has been a better year locally for me, is that there have been many more days with fishable low pressure systems and manageable swells.

My perfect criteria now is a manageable swell, that gives coverage for the fish, an outer sand bank or reef that breaks into a deeper hole spreading white suds across it with structure in that critical space I can spread my lures. I like to fish low tide for less water more fish and the ability to be lower on the water. I rarely fish late into the night these days as I often fish solo, and I am getting older, but I can see the benefits of doing so for sure, just remember safety first. I rarely catch fish on the tail end of the waning moon but if the water is perfect I will definitely not lose hope.

Fishing Gear:

I started with an Alvey Fishing Reel 650s on 7144 Snyder Glass blank Fishing Rod, the old translucent orange brown model which, although I have moved on to other Fishing rods, if I could take one rod to heaven, would probably be it.

I now fish with solid threadline Fishing reels, My current Fishing Reel being the Shimano Stella 10000 and custom graphite rods 10-11ft. Built for me personally

by Rohit Lal of King Rods . I have 10 and an 11 ft Longtail H rated at -6 0unce cast 40lb. Which after nearly 2 yrs testing Rohit is contemplating making this fishing rod as standard available build.

I also started with mono fishing line at a lighter breaking strain of 20lbs on the Alvey Fishing Reels. Eventually I became tired of damaging fish and losing them only to see them float away as shark food and made the decision I was going to fish heavy. Changing up to reliable cheap Monofilament fishing line in various brands, which included brands such as Penn & Suffix in around 40lb breaking strain for pain free dismissal of any damaged line like the first 30 ft or so after a bumpy landing and I use 40- 60lb Jinkai Leader or Ande Leader material for a trace. With braid I fish even heavier line for extra assurance with abrasion resistance and longevity although my drag settings have never really changed from the 20lb mono, I am now usually fishing 50lb nylon coated tuff line xp. Again this is a choice set by expense and the harsh nature of the area in which I fish, I would be happy to fish for the same sized fish with 15lb elsewhere.

The AVERAGE size of Mulloway I target being 12- 20 kg’s although the last 2 years has seen a major increase in smaller fish, 5- 8kg model schoolies.

The Fishing Lure.

Well what a journey that has been. I have tried many lures and have had some degree of success with many of them, including locally made boutique models, modified no name bibbed lures. Changing split rings trebles etc. to VMC or Owner treble hooks. But have come to settle on a couple of must haves as a personal choice, these are Halco Laser Pro Fishing Lure in the 190 DD 2 metre diver. I have a couple of favourite colours although I have seen all colours work at one time or another and Rapala X-raps which seem to work in any colour to at least attract the tailor, they are bar none the most efficient tailor lure I have encountered. The X-raps have only been a recent addition to the arsenal but have taken a couple of nice fish and have a casting advantage. Also quickly caught the tailor that have accounted for some great fish, when I have decided I have had enough of spinning and changed up to bait.

But the Halco Laser Pro Fishing Lure 190 DD size remains my personal go to lure. It has an almost indestructible bib system, this is not the case with many other manufacturers, who make lures that may cast better and swim well, but cannot be trusted after a couple of bumps against rock, leading to bibs breaking trebles snapping out of there placement etc. The Halco 190 2m also has a free moving weight inside consisting of small bearings which serve both as a rattle and to take the weight to the tail when being cast. I tie these to a 2ft or so trace with a swivel and this seems to help the lure rifle freely after a cast gaining better distance and less fouling. Very important to, when you stop winding they float.


Firstly, as I mentioned in the beginning my early fish were taken on soft plastic fishing lures, this progression has served me well for a number of reasons, not least of which is to understand the bottom, the current, the movement and speed of the lure and the strike zones of the fish. And all this at the bargain price of $2 or so for every lure lost to a snag as I went through this learning curve. I still make sure I have a small arsenal of 6 inch shads in a lighter and darker colour, brands Like: Storm Soft Plastic fishing lures  like or Squidgies have all caught many fish for me. The major difference with hard body fishing lures is the ability to get a much straighter line in retrieve if you wish to and in the right conditions at a relatively slow speed. Whereas  soft plastic lures will be much more effected by the running currents. That may sweep them sideways at such a speed.

Try to quickly get an understanding of the way the wind and the current are working. Although standing still and repetitively lobbing into the same hole may account for passing fish, moving and poking around the entire available environment will account for allot more. A perfect day, the wind will be blowing your lure on a cast in the same direction as the current, making the bib work harder therefore deeper and slower on the retrieve. Distance out to sea is not a number one priority.

But you’re not quite ready to cast yet. Make sure you have worked out a couple of things, particularly if you are alone. If you do get a fish first cast, and believe me this happens, and mostly when you aren’t ready for it. Do you know where you want to steer it to be landed? Is the gaff ready etc.?

Speed &  Steering:

I have often been asked what type of action I put into the lure, the best action for sure with the above mentioned criteria working in your favour is low and slow. However to be honest I try everything, pulse, fast, a couple of speed throughs then a slow drive by, stop/start, the whole gambit. The action to steer the hard body fishing lures as apposed to soft plastic lures is more sustained and exaggerated placement of the rod tip. The difference between tip down and being low on the water can be critical in gaining depth or avoiding structure. The same with the point from which you tow the lure keeping it away from the ledge, but this all quickly becomes second nature.

I have learned if I am to push lures as close as I can to submerged structure, it became prudent to fish with a soft drag setting and stop at the first bump, this way I avoid burying lures into snags as often. A quick hand to the spool will sink the hook if it runs.

Most jewfish will only have a couple of good runs in them but with a little swell and current that big paddle tail and wide body can make for an interesting time getting them to somewhere they can be landed. For this reason if a good-sized fish heads for open water its often best to let it, and wear it down away from danger and structure.

Having said that, even fishing as heavy as I do, I have just been absolutely mugged by some fish?

I haven’t begun to cover many aspects of hard body lure fishing for Jew fish such as break wall fishing, there are many great articles already in existence about this and my preference for the relative solitude of surf ledges leads me away from that being a particular area of my expertise, although I have done it and know many who do it with great success and many of the same principals apply.

Good luck and remember the two most important principals are stick with it and make it home safe!

McNulty .aka “happy “

Edited by Fishing Tackle Shop Ocean Storm Fishing Tackle.