The Tragics are devotees of shallow water fishing. We fish the estuaries from Lake Macquarie to Jumpinpin in Queensland. In all those estuaries, we have proven that fishing the shallow water flats is far more productive than chasing fish in the deeper water. Yes there are times when it is difficult to fish the shallows. You need the right location if land based or a great boat that floats in very little water. Since we were young the Tragics have found that the shallows can be some of the most awesome fishing ever.
We prefer the run out tide, and the first hour of the run back. We find that the bait fish are either coming off the flats, directly into the path of the predators or just starting to move back on. The predators lurk in very shallow water, especially the bread and butter species we target, bream, whiting, flathead. There is nothing better that seeing a hungry bream, savage whiting or a massive flatty just smash the lure, jump out of the water and shake violently to get rid of that hook. We cast our lures onto the sand or mud then pull them back into the water, sometimes only a few centimetres deep. The all of a sudden, a massive flatty or savage whiting will smash the lure and explode away from the bank toward deeper water to escape. We know that we can do this time after time and we get great hookups and great fun from the fights. It is also amazing how long a bream or whiting will follow the lure from the bank almost to the boat. On a regular basis, we find that the fish seem to hit the lure multiple time when you are fishing in shallow water. We believe they are in hunting mode and are just plain hungry. We have proved these methods time and time again, in every estuary we have fished including Forster, The Clarence River and Jumpinpin.
Of course, when you target these shallow water areas, you encounter structure such as rocks and branches. But the plus side, most times it is easier to retrieve your lure. Also we find that most times next to that structure is a good fish. So don’t be afraid to lose a bit of gear. The rewards are enormous. Ask the locals of those estuaries that we fish, they always ask us back at the ramp or cleaning tables,where did you get the fish, as it seems we always have more than them and better quality fish.
I have included a short video on some of the shallow water country we worked at the Clarence River.