Casting and retrieving bait from the beach works for tailor.

Shore fishing tips from Skip

Attractants such as glow beads above your bait are a great option for big fish at night.
Be mobile and have everything you need for a variety of fishing options in a sling bag and shoulder bag.
Casting soft plastics from the sand can yield great results.
Casting at different angles to the shore can bring results.
Gather fresh live bait where possible.

I GET plenty of people asking me about shore-based fishing tips, thinking you can’t catch much without a boat. They couldn’t be more wrong. I may be biased, though I enjoy both, shore-based fishing can be especially satisfying without the technology of a boat. But to maximise your success from the shore you need to be prepared and either be mobile or bring the fish to you. Here are a few ways to increase your chances from the shore. Shore fishing tips

Cast and retrieve

For fish such as whiting and flathead, a moving bait can substantially increase your odds compared to the set and forget technique. You will also cover more ground and make the bait look as though it’s alive. Using a cast, lift and drop retrieve technique – a bit like lure fishing – is a great method for flathead. Bait such as whitebait or small pilchard work well on 1/0-2/0 gang hooks for flathead from the shore.

Use attractants

These might be red tubing above your hook, a glow bead at night or additives on bait or your lure. Attractants also mask human-related smells such as sunscreen or smoking. This stuff really works – I’ve had fish come back again and again on lures covered in scent and out-fished others nearby with baited rods and no attractants. Natural attractants that work include blood from a bled tailor on your pilchard and the scent or slime of a fish you’re keeping rubbed on your lure.Shore fishing tips

Use light line

Leave the whipper snipper cord for the garden. Perfect for whiting and bream in open areas is 6lb line. A trace of 10-14lb is good insurance for flathead whether bait or lure fishing. For fish such as barramundi or snapper, I’ll drop my leader strength during the day but increase it at night because it’s much harder to see then.Shore fishing tips

Use fluorocarbon traces

Due to its unique properties – FC traces have the same refractive index as water – this stuff is much harder for fish to see underwater and sinks, perfect for cast and retrieve fishing. For topwater fishing though, use a short heavy leader of monofilament to allow your lure to track straight and for the line not to sink – as is the case with fluorocarbon.Shore fishing tips


Berley is a great option whether off rocks, beach or estuary. Carry a bucket and use a mix of bran, tuna oil and sand – this gets the fish in feeding mode without over-feeding them. Make sure the current is not too strong or it will take fish with it. Striped tuna frames are perfect tied to a rope off the rocks, as it is pushed around in the wash, creating a berley trail. Cabbage and string weed are good berley if you’re fishing for luderick.Shore fishing tips


If you aren’t catching fish after say 20 minutes in an area… move. You should also cast at various angles and depths to find fish.Shore fishing tips

Use polarised sunglasses

These are a great tool to help you spot fish, the edge of weed banks, potholes and drains or other structure. Flat featureless hard sandy areas will be devoid of bait and much less productive, so if you spot them, keep walking.Shore fishing tips


Use live, fresh bait available from the area such as yabbies, worms, prawns, weed or poddy mullet under a float.

Be prepared

Surprises can turn up, so have a few different sized hooks and sinkers or jig heads and lures to cover your bases.Shore fishing tips

Be portable

Small portable tackle boxes and a sling bag over your shoulder are great options to carry a variety of spools of leader, scissors, lures and other accessories. An Alvey deluxe wading shoulder bag is another great accessory, for not only your fish but it has compartments for tackle boxes, a rag, ruler, knife and pliers. Other essentials are water, a headlamp at night and a snack or two depending on how long you are fishing.Shore fishing tips

So, there you go. Shore-based fishing can be very productive if you plan well, are mobile and use your eyes, and fishing techniques to find the fish or bring fish to you. For more fishing tips and reports, be sure to follow and like my Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages.

Click here for awesome land-based action from Iluka.

About Sean Thompson

Sean caught the fishing bug bad one very cold Canberra day 20 years ago when he was bored and picked up and read Angler's Almanac by the fireplace. Since then he has filled his mind with knowledge from fishing magazines, books, the internet, TAFE fishing courses, guiding fishing charters (estuaries, beach, bay and mountain lakes) and of course 'on water' experience. He and a group of mates formed a social fishing club and soon started to share what they learnt and caught online. Sean is the admin for Ontour Fishing Australia on Facebook, which is a page that shares information, reports and sponsor giveaways and welcomes all to the site. He plans to move into blogging on his new website when time allows.

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