Fishing Journalist And Guide
Smithy operates the Gold Coast’s longest running guided fishing service, “Brad Smith Fishing Charters”, having operated for 25 years in 2019. Over this entire period his business has distinguished itself by being a lure fishing only operation. Brad frequently writes for Bush and Beach magazine and has made radio and television appearances as a fishing presenter.
Smithy’s Tips For Topwater Flats Fishing
- The flats at the mouths of pretty much all creeks in Northern NSW and SE Queensland offer amazing opportunities for topwater fishing. These opportunities are accessible to anyone through boating, kayaking or simply wading the shorelines.
- Whiting are the number one target, but bream and flathead are common bycatch and other species such as various trevallies, queenfish and grunter also turn up from time to time.
- The key is to fish water of 70cm depth or less, especially in areas where there are plenty of yabby burrows, seagrass beds and so on, indicating the presence of bait.
- The wind is your friend when fishing the flats, and sunny days tend to fish best. Glassed out, overcast days offer the greatest challenge for flats fishers and usually don’t fish well.
- Periods around the full and new moons have bigger tidal movement, which usually makes for better fishing. Any phase of the tide can be fished effectively, simply by following the water up and down so that you’re always fishing in the right depth.
- Try and organise your session so that there is a tide change at some point. There is often a hot bite around the turns.
- Switching the rear treble hook on most topwater lures for a smaller treble, or even better, a small assist hook can improve the strike to hookup conversion rates.
- Where possible, position yourself with the wind to your back, allowing you to make long casts and cover a lot more water..
Smithy’s Tackle Recommendations
- A lightweight 7 foot or longer spin rod in the 1-3kg line class with a lightweight, 2500 size carbon fibre spin reel loaded with 6lb braid and with a short 6lb fluorocarbon leader is Smithy’s chosen tackle. He likes the Fish Arrow range of rods for this application.
Smithy’s Best Flats Fishing Lures
- The Bassday Sugar Pen stickbait in 70mm size and transparent colours is a standout lure for topwater flats fishing in SEQ and Northern NSW. The 40mm size works too but is more limited due to reduced casting distance. There is some technique to be mastered in fishing this lure, which is difficult to explain but worth persevering to develop. Maintain a loose grip on the rod and point the tip towards the water in line with where the lure landed. Wind slowly whilst twitching the rod left and right to achieve a zig zag action across the water surface. Whiting will hunt in packs and will often make multiple failed attempts to take the lure. Maintaining constant movement seems to work best for whiting, as they return to the bottom if the lure is paused. Bream are more effectively targeted by making occasional pauses, while flathead can engulf the lure using either retrieve.
- The locally made MMD Splash Prawn is another great lure for shallow flats fishing in this part of the world. It is fished in the same way as the Bassday Sugar Pen.
Brad’s Guiding Business
Brad Smith Fishing Charters specialises in catching jewfish and big mangrove jacks, but offers fishing for plenty of other species and can tailor a SEQ or Northern NSW fishing package to your needs.