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The large number of rivers, estuaries and lakes along the Australian coastline and the variety of fish species that frequent them, offer the main source of recreational fishing for the angling public. As with all types of fishing the choice of the correct gear goes a long way towards being successful.


The length of the rod used in conjunction with your Alvey reel need not be as long as those used for beach fishing. Estuary fishing in most circumstances, does not require long distance casting, so a powerful action rod is not needed. The length can be anywhere from 2 to 3.3 metres, depending on the type of fishing. It is important the reel should balance the rod. An Alvey 600 model will suit the longer rods, while the 55 and 500 are perfect for the shorter ones. Anglers fishing from the bank prefer the 3 metre rods, while those fishing from a boat often opt for the shorter lengths, because they are more manageable in the confined space.

In both cases the rod should have that ever important light tip action that lets you "feel" the bites. With the modern technology used in building rods, this action is available in most of the shorter rods being used for estuary fishing.

The butt length is important when using an Alvey reel, the reel seat being positioned 15 to 20 cm up the rod. The first or stripping guide is set about halfway up to facilitate line flow during the cast. An Alvey open runner can be used on your estuary rod for the same purposes as on your beach rod.


It goes without saying that Alvey reels have featured in the major successes of anglers fishing in local club and interstate angling championships. The trouble free design and versatility of Alvey reels have been the key to their success.

The competitive estuary anglers favour the 600 model, particularly on the longer rods. This size gives them the perfect balance, quick line recovery and direct winding power. If you are an average recreational angler, you might only need the smaller 500 and 55 models, especially if you use a shorter rod.

Casting with the sidecast reel when fishing the estuary needs no special skills. Turn the reel around to the casting position , at the same time restraining the line with the fingers of the other hand positioned on the spool. An even, free flowing smooth cast will allow you to cast small, soft baits with the minimum of effort. You can cast over or underhand, backhand or forehand, even in cramped conditions. All anglers will be amazed at the ease with which they can cast with an Alvey reel.


As with all fishing, use as light a line as possible. A Platypus line from 2 to 4 kg breaking strain is all that you will need. Fishing over rough bottom and near snags and other cover, you will need the heavier strain, but on sand flats etc, go as light as you can comfortably handle. Wind new line onto your reel firmly and neatly making sure you fill it to the correct level, just below the lip of the spool. (Light fingertip pressure on the line spool you are winding off is all that is necessary.) When rewinding during fishing, make sure you wind it on without loose coils. Doing this will ensure the next cast will be smooth and trouble free.


Estuary fishing does not require an extensive range of tackle. The selection of hooks, sinkers and swivels can be kept to a basic range. The preferred hook is the French pattern (Mustad 540, Eagle Claw 6045B), a fine sharp hook design that will penetrate with a minimum of effort. A selection of sizes #4 up to #2/0 will be adequate for most fish you will encounter. A range of round sinkers from #00 up #3 will be all you will need. Don't forget to use as light a sinker as you can in the conditions you are fishing. Be prepared to keep changing the size of your sinker as the run changes at different stages of the tide. Small swivels are important to alleviate line twist, no bigger than #10.


As with all fishing, fresh bait is important. The sand flats exposed at low tide offer the angler the opportunity to collect the prime bait species, the yabby or nipper. The yabby is the mainstay for the estuary fishermen and is taken by almost every estuary species. The best way to obtain them is with the Alvey bait pump. When baiting your hook, leave the point and barb exposed to give it the maximum chance to penetrate. Don't overbait your hook, a small bait will attract most size fish, while an overbaited hook will prevent some of the smaller, though still legal size fish from hooking up.

Again employ the "lean and wind" technique, when responding to a bite. Keep the rod high as you play the fish, letting the light tip soak up it's lunges and jerks, but all the time being ready to give line if needed.

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