Andrew "Sticks" Cole

Andrew “Sticks” Cole

Sponsored Angler And Reef Flat Enthusiast

Sticks is a sponsored angler and obsessed reef fisherman. He’s spent many years exploring the coral reefs of Far North Queensland in search of the most beautiful, aggressive and hard-fighting species.

Sticks’ Top Tips For Chinaman Fishing

  • Chinaman Fish are a year-round proposition on the coral reef flats out from Cairns. They are also frequently caught jigging in deeper water, but Sticks likes the visual aspect and brutality or catching them in shallow. clear water. In the summer months the water on the reef flats can get too warm, forcing the fish to move to the edges of the flats where they have access to deeper, cooler water.
  • Chinaman fish are masters of disguise and can change colour quickly, so they don’t need structure for cover. They can be taken from coral bommies but are also quite common over areas of shallow, dead, algae covered coral without much structure. They are also found quite often over the sand between coral bommies. Look for areas with some water flow and bait.
  • This species is relatively easily disturbed, and rarely come back to bite once scared. Fish quietly and make long casts.
  • Big tides tend to fish best as they allow the fish to move up onto the shallow flats and feed actively on the incoming tide. Glassed out days are best as they allow the angler to see the lure working and observe fish coming to inspect it.
  • By-catch includes many species, but common ones are GT’s, spangled emperor, red bass and coral trout. Some of these species, including Chinaman fish, are potential ciguatera carriers, so if you intend on keeping a fish or two for the table be careful which ones you take!
  • Don’t be afraid to slow troll over the flats when you’re exploring, changing spots or prospecting. Chinaman and other species can be taken while you’re covering ground in this way.

Sticks’ Preferred Chinaman Fishing Tackle

  • Don’t muck around with these fish. They are powerful fish, brutal on tackle and often head straight for the reef. Tackle needs to be robust and capable of taking punishment.
  • Sticks reckons PE 3-4 rods can be used over the clearer areas, but around bommies generally prefers to use a PE 4-6 rod coupled with an 8000-10000 size Shimano spin reel or a 6500 size Daiwa model. Lines are PE 4-5 braid and minimum 120lb mono or fluorocarbon leader joined to the mainline with an FG knot.

Sticks’ Best Chinaman Flats Fishing Lures

  • Relatively small, bite sized lures work best for this species on the flats, rather than the large, heavy models typically used for GT’s and other reef thugs.
  • The Nomad Design 115mm Mad Scad is one of the most versatile flats lures around and can be fished simply by casting long and slow rolling back at constant speed. If the fish are less aggressive it can help to rip and pause or use long sweeps of the rod to create more interest. Sticks likes to run BKK Raptor hooks for their holding power, but also finds that the trebles they come rigged with can have a higher conversion rate.
  • The Nomad Design Riptide Sinking Stickbait 125mm is fished in the same way as the Mad Scad but Sticks prefers to fish it on the really flat days because it’s a lure that’s easier to work if you can see it in the water. Used in the same way as the Mad Scad
  • The Missing At Sea 120 Death Wobble is Stick’s third choice and can be fished in the same way as the previous two.
  • Take care if you’re using the sweeping or jerkbait technique because a savage strike can pull you over the side and poor hook sets when fish take a stationary lure can result in lost fish.

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Episode 547: Fishing Around Exmouth In Spring With Steve Riley

Episode 547: Fishing Around Exmouth In Spring With Steve Riley

Every time I interview Steve Riley about fishing the Exmouth area I get blown away by the opportunities on offer, but I think this interview could be my favourite so far. Steve spills the beans on five land-based fishing spots that are available to visiting anglers during spring. In the course of the conversation we cover everything from bream and whiting to tuna, reef species and pelagics including monster GT from the beach. What a destination!


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