Garfish are a very available means of bait, food and fun, especially for kids. Their forgiving nature and shear abundance makes them a very useful species, whether you’re looking for large baits for big fish, a few butterflied fillets for the table, or a little bit of fun for younger anglers. They’re scrappy and acrobatic nature can provide hours of fun for the young, and young at heart, and in southern waters they are a much sought after target.
Garfish can be targeted from a boat, or by standing on structures such as piers and rock walls, meaning land-based anglers don’t have to miss out.
One of the things about garfish that makes them so popular is that catching them requires very little equipment, and kitting up for these little acrobats is very easy.
A light spin combo such as the Berkley Estuary Enforcer 662L 2-4kg 3500Spin Reel combo is more than suitable for this caper.
As far as rigs go, it can be as simple as an unweighted hook fished back through the berley trail! Some anglers like to add a float to their rig, which adds an exciting visual element, while also keeping the rig away from less desirable species that lurk below. Size 10-12 long shank hooks such as Gamakatsu Long Shank Hooks or Mustad 4540 Kirby Long Shank Hooks are perfectly suitable. If you want to make it easier for yourself, The Wilson Garfish Rig comes ready-made, with hooks, trace and weight, so you can tie it straight on! It’s then just a matter of baiting up and flicking it back into your berley trail.
On the topic of berley, most gar fishers like to have some on hand, and again, it can be as simple or complex as you like. Cat food and stale bread mixed together to form a damp, smelly concoction can make great berley. You can add other things such as oils, bran and pollard to it to make it more appealing.
For baits, any white flesh baits cut into small pieces work fine, along with chicken skin and maggots. Whatever you use, just be sure to have plenty on hand.
Garfishing is a pastime enjoyed in southern hotspots as such as Melbourne, Adelaide, Albany and Perth, and many of the smaller port towns in between. If you want to satisfy your fix while other species aren’t biting, or just want to kill some time, make sure you have the garfish gear handy!
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