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30 Estuary Starter Saltwater Fly Collection

$69.95 $62.96

Product Information

30  Estuary Starter Collection 

5 x Clousers size 2,4,6, with large dumbell eyes in mix colours

5 x whiting/bream Mix colours poppers, size 4

5 x Gotchas in size 4 with small dumbbell eyes in mix colours

5 x Estuary Shrimps in Tan,Olive tan , size 4 ,6

5 x Estuary Shrimp Hot Pink / Pearl , size 4, 

5 Bread Flies size 6,8,10

Box Not Included in price
 

 

Picture: Mullet respond well to bread barley.

One of the big boom areas is in fishing the tidal estuaries where 'bread and butter' species such as bream, flathead, mullet, and whiting are receiving considerable attention from the furan' feather brigade. And understandably so. All these species are quite prolific in New South Wales estuaries and enthusiastically respond to a well-presented fly. Each requires a different approach and presents different problems, making the pursuit especially challenging.

BREAM 
Of all the common fly-caught species the humble bream would have to rate as my favorite. Virtually all my fly fishing for bream takes place in tidal rivers, coastal lakes and creeks. The fish are quite predictable, hanging around any bank-side structures, giving the angler specific targets at which to cast. If you've done much lure fishing for bream you'll know exactly what I mean. Casts need to be close to cover in order to raise a few eyebrows. Just making a good cast can bring a smile to your face, and when a solid bream strikes there's a great feeling of personal satisfaction.

Before you start fly fishing for bream, it's an advantage if you have a canoe or boat-whilst you may pick up the odd fish by walking the banks, you'll catch many more from a boat. Most of the fish encountered will be along the shore but the canoe or boat will give you unrestricted casting access, as well as the ability to move around freely and quietly.

Like most fish, bream are far more active around dawn and dusk. The best plan of attack on non-tidal lakes is to get up way before sunrise and fish the productive first few hours before the sun hits the water.

In tidal estuaries, the most productive period occurs during the last few hours of the run-out tide. Whilst it's possible to catch fish at lunchtime, you'll catch many more if the run-out tide coincides with dawn or dusk. Overcast days and neap tides also make bream very active in tidal waters.

Bream are worthy opponentsWhen first targeting bream on fly gear I received many bumps and subtle plucks and very few solid hook-ups. At the time, my flies were basically bait-fish patterns. Whilst they were great for most things with fins, they weren't the best for bream. The main problem stemmed from the fish actually grabbing the tail feathers, not further up around the hook. The next lot of flies I tied were crude looking prawns, with virtually no overhang. Problem solved. The hook-up rate wasn't perfect, but at least I was putting a few fish in the boat.

Picture: Bream are worthy fly-rod targets.

Retrieve techniques can also play a big part in success rate. One of the most effective retrieves is a series of slow 30 cm strips. Also deadly is the figure-of-eight approach often used when trout fishing, which gives the fly continuous slow movement.

Another method borrowed from the salmonid crew is to simply dead drift the fly. This technique is well suited to slow-moving creeks and rivers, where the fish are stationed down deep. Whatever retrieve technique you decide to use, just be ready for the often subtle takes. Mind you, not all takes are hard to detect-some bream hit like house bricks, dragging your pretty fly into the depths before you know it.

Fly fishing for bream with wet flies certainly accounts for many fish taken each season, but dry flies also score plenty of fish for those in the know. Small deer-hair bugs work a treat, especially micro Dahlberg Divers, tied on #8-10 hooks, worked in a subtle manner close to cover. Though bass may love the noisy plops associated with fishing such flies, most bream shun the excessive surface commotion. Bloop the fly when it first lands, but from then on, just break the water with short, non-threatening strips. Mostly, the fly will be taken soon after it lands. Smaller fish tend to strike dries with a series of ill-directed plunks, whereas the bigger fellows often slurp them down with far more precision. If that surface takes don't get the heart pumping, nothing will.

I guess the name of the game with bream on fly is to cast as tight to cover as possible and retrieve the fly in a lifelike, non threatening manner. Work the best tides at the prime times and fish the water thoroughly from top to bottom. You'll soon find out if there are any bream around.

FLATHEAD
Whilst bream, at times, can be a little reluctant to strike, no such problems occur with flathead. The old 'lizard' is a sucker for fur an' feather, pouncing on just about anything that even remotely resembles food. This feeding characteristic makes them an ideal 'first' for any newcomer to the fly rod.

Knowing where to start is one of the keys to successful flathead swoffing. Look for patches of ribbon weed and distinct drop-offs. Such places usually house a few lizards, and are particularly good on the last few hours of the run-out tide. Areas of broken rock and shell-grit are, without doubt, the best areas to look for big flathead. Double figure lizards relish these rugged areas and will quite happily lay in barely a few feet of water.

Whilst boats can be advantageous when chasing flathead, they are not essential. Shore-based fishers can do extremely well, working areas more thoroughly and often more quietly than most boat anglers. The boat angler has the advantage of covering greater distances, often finding locations seldom fished by the crowds. When walking the banks, always move around slowly and work the area in front thoroughly before moving on. It can be depressing, and heart-stopping stuff, when a good sized flat-head blasts off from near your feet.

Flathead take fliesThis sort of flats fishing calls for longer casts than those required when chasing bream. Casts of 20-25 metres allow you to probe distant pockets and depressions without spooking fish. Covering water is a big factor when fly fishing for flathead.

Picture: Flathead frequent the tidal sand-flats and take flies readily. {PETER FLOWER}

The most important aspect when targeting flathead, however, is simply keeping the fly down in the strike zone, flathead seldom rise high in the water column to grab food, so it is of paramount importance to keep the fly right down near the bottom. Sinking lines and fast-sinking flies, like Clousers, help immensely in this respect. Retrieve methods are pretty straightforward, with steady 50 cm strips being all that's called for on most occasions. As mentioned before, keeping the fly close to the bottom is what really counts.

MULLET
Catching mullet on fly can be a real buzz. I have spent many enjoyable hours flicking flies at these boisterous little fellows, watching them slurp down tiny dries and follow up with an impressive aerial display. They may be fairly small, but their power to weight ratio is quite surprising. Scale down the size of your fly-gear and have a ball.

In order to catch mullet consistently on fly it is essential to use berley. One loaf of bread is all you need. Keep half dry and soak the rest in a small bucket. Cruise around the sand flats on a rising tide, looking for telltale silver flashes and obvious surface disturbances. Once you locate a school, throw out a 'sample' amount of wet bread and see how they respond. If they fire up instantly, lower the anchor and flick out a little more bread.

When berleying, try not to overfeed them. Too much of the baker's stuff and you could see the whole school fill themselves and move on. It's better to use too little than too much.

Once they're actively feeding it's time to drift out a few small (about 1O cm) pieces of dry bread. This gets them accustomed to feeding off the surface, so when your dry fly comes floating down the trail, they'll take it with little hesitation. There's no need to continue with the wet bread, as the small dry pieces should keep them well and truly interested.

Perhaps the most challenging facet of mullet on fly is the controlled use of berley. You soon become proficient at dishing out measured doses. Once you asses the situation, you'll have mullet begging for food right at the transom. I've had them so fired up, it was impossible to cast. I ended up lowering the fly and poling them out like tuna!

The fly I mainly use on mullet is a small white deer-hair creation, tied on a #12 hook, trimmed to the shape and size of a lady-bug. The aim is simply to represent the bread drifting down the trail.

Mullet aren't the only species that will end up feeding in the trail. Bream, garfish, leather jackets, butterfish, trumpeter, herring and so on, all fancy a free feed of bread.

WHITING
The poor man's bonefish-that's a fairly apt description for these flighty estuary nomads. Whiting cruise the flats, searching for nippers and various marine worms, and will actively chase down a well-presented fly. The trick is spotting them before they spot you. Consistently catching whiting on fly tackle is a challenge.

It was three years ago when I first caught a whiting on fly. I tied up what I thought to be a 'whiting fly' and proceeded to sneak around the local estuary sand-flats on a rising tide. At the time I wasn't quite up to spotting them and consequently spent a lot of time blind casting in the hope of running into a few fish.

The take, when it finally came, was surprisingly hard, and I set the hook on what I expected to be an overenthusiastic tiddler. So when the rod loaded up and the fly-line skidded through my fingers I was more than a little shocked. After a spirited battle, a solid whiting of around 40 cm slid up on the sandy bank.

To consistently knock over whiting on the fly rod, the ability to spot them, or more so their shadows, is a major asset. A pair of polarised glasses, preferably with amber tint lenses, is very handy.

The best bet is to be on the water a few hours after sunrise with a making tide. Often the conditions are glassy and with the sun behind your back, you should be able to locate a few fish. You often see the bigger fish cruising in pairs or alone, and the smaller ones in schools of up to thirty or more. Try to land the fly just in front of a group of fish-this way, hopefully, the fly will sink right on their noses without spooking them. Of all the fish that actually chase the fly, only a few are likely to hit it. Whiting have a great capacity to pick your fly as a fake. As I said, consistently catching whiting on fly is a real challenge.

Whiting seem to have a fascination for anything pink or red, so bear that in mind when tying up a few flies. Ultra small Baited Breaths and Crazy Charlies are the way to go, using plenty of red or pink marabou.

As with mullet, fly gear for whiting need only be ultra-light. I have been using a 3/4-weight outfit for the last six years and have found it ideal for the estuary lightweights.

There are many fly fishing options in your local estuary, so why not take up the challenge and give it a go? Perhaps you will see these so called 'bread and butter' species in a new light.

Product Code: 30 SIV7B34

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