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Cheat Sheet

Fishing For Dummies (Australia/New Zealand Edition)

Want to know where your favourite fish are hanging out in Australian or New Zealand waters? Not sure what bait or lure to use? Is your favourite fish going to be a fabulous feast or a so-so supper? Here you find answers to these questions for both saltwater and freshwater species.

Freshwater Fish Finder

The abundance of rivers and lakes in Australia and New Zealand provide a variety of habitats worthy of frequent fishing forays. Target your favourite freshwater species easily, by selecting the best baits to lure them onto your plate. (The number of stars in the Edibility column indicates the tastiness of the species.)

Type of Fish Preferred Habitats Best Baits Best Lures Edibility
Barramundi Tidal tropical estuaries, freshwater rivers, billabongs, lagoons, some stocked lakes Small live and dead fish, prawns, cherabin, cut fish pieces (successful occasionally) Minnows, plugs, soft plastics, jigs ****
Bass Freshwater rivers, upper reaches of estuaries, some stocked lakes Live insects (crickets, cicadas), earthworms, shrimp, grubs Minnows, plugs, poppers, jigs, soft plastics, spinnerbaits ***
Golden perch Inland freshwater rivers, billabongs, stocked lakes Earthworms, shrimp, yabbies, grubs Deep-diving plugs, spinners, soft plastics ***
Murray cod Inland freshwater rivers, many stocked lakes Grubs, yabbies, shrimp, earthworms, small live fish (where permitted) Deep-diving plugs, spinnerbaits, spoons ****
Salmon Bays, harbours, estuaries, rivers Pilchards, herring Metal spoons, spinners, slices, slugs ****
Trout Cooler rivers, streams, freshwater lakes Earthworms, shrimps, grasshoppers, crickets, grubs, insect larvae Spinners, spoons, minnows, small jigs, flies ***

Saltwater Fish Finder

By tapping into the behaviour patterns of saltwater species, you can confidently get on with some prime fishing: You can easily transfer the techniques and gear used to catch these Australian and New Zealand saltwater fish to other species that have a similar size range and behaviour pattern. (The number of stars in the Edibility column indicates the tastiness of the species.)

Type of Fish Preferred Habitats Best Baits Best Lures Edibility
Bream Estuaries, bays, harbours, surf beaches, rocky shores Prawns, worms, yabbies, crabs, shellfish, cut fish flesh Small minnows and plugs, small soft plastics ***
Flathead Estuaries, bays, harbours, offshore over sand or mud bottom strata Small live and dead fish, prawns, yabbies, squid Deep-diving minnows and plugs, metal spoons, jigs, soft plastics ****
Garfish (piper) Estuaries, bays, harbours Prawn pieces, worm pieces, strips of fish or squid, bread, maggots Unlikely to be caught on a lure ****
Leatherjackets Estuaries, bays, harbours, offshore reefs, near islands, jetties Peeled prawn tails, squid, octopus, cunjevoi, strips of fish flesh, shellfish Unlikely to be caught on a lure, but occasionally taken on soft plastics ****
Salmon (kahawai) Surf beaches, rocky shores, offshore reefs, around islands, deeper bays Small live and dead fish, pilchards, strips of fish, squid, prawns Metal spoons, jigs, minnows, rubber squid **
Snapper Larger bays and harbours, rocky shores, offshore reefs, gravel patches Prawns, pilchards, cut fish flesh, small fish heads, squid, octopus Occasionally caught on metal jigs, regularly taken on soft plastics ****
Tailor Surf beaches, rocky shores, offshore reefs, next to islands, bays, harbours, large estuaries Small live and dead fish, pilchards, strips of fish, squid, prawns Metal spoons, jigs, minnows, rubber squid ***
Trevally Lower estuaries, bays, harbours, surf beaches, rocky shores, offshore reefs, next to islands Prawns, squid, cut fish flesh, pilchards, shellfish Metal spoons, jigs, minnows, soft plastics, surface poppers for tropical varieties ***
Tuna Deeper offshore waters, but occasionally straying closer to shore and even entering bays Small to medium live fish, pilchards, cut fish flesh, squid Resin-headed trolling lures, feather jigs, rubber squid minnows, jigs ***
Whiting Estuaries, bays, harbours, surf beaches, offshore sand, gravel patches Marine worms, prawns, shellfish (especially pipis and cockles), yabbies, strips of squid Once thought unlikely to be caught on a lure, now regularly taken on small surface poppers *****
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