Some people have asked me about the products I use and what I carry in my fishing tackle box. So here’s what you’ll find in one of my tackle boxes, depending on the season or where and what I’m fishing for.
I personally use each of these products. That is the only reason I am happy to endorse them. Naturally, I can’t make guarantees. Only that they have worked for me. Some of them I review in more detail.
Some of these fishing products are in the “budget range.” Others are little dearer. Most often this is due to quality. Some products can be substituted reasonably well. Others, not so much.
In my own experience, cheap copies nearly always let you down. This is particularly true with fishing rods and reels, fishing lines and soft plasticSoft Plastic Lure lures.
However, even products by the same manufacturer, often sold through a different outlet for a little less, can be of inferior quality. Pre-tied fishing rigs being a case in point, as I mention below, in my experience.
Finally, I tend to store a lot of extras in Plano trays. For example, if I’m not Murray cod fishing there’s not much point carrying Size One stump jumpers if I’m targetting small bream or flathead. So I switch what I carry in my tackle box changes to suit the kind of fishing.Some product links may earn us a small commission when you click them. This costs you nothing extra.
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Soft Plastic Lures
Like Soft Plastic Lures? Yeah – me too. One of the coolest innovations in fishing in my opinion!
You can fish a soft plastic in so many ways. For some many Australian fish species!
- Cast and retrieve, creatively. Slow, fast, jerk, lift and drop and any variation.
- Cast it out and let it soak – great for sand worm and crab immatations
- Combine the above. Experiment.
- Rub on some attractant.
Berkley Gulp sandworms, for example, are one of my favourite baits. I’ve fished them with success in both salt and freshwater. Generally, I don’t “spin” or “retrieve” them, but let them soak with a couple on a paternoster rigPaternoster Rig .
I use the same technique on the shrimp (prawns.)
Imitation minnows etc, sure, I’ll use these more like a traditional lure. Cast, let them drop to the bottom. Raise them, crank the handle. You know, try and make them look as if they are a creature intent on escaping, or even possibly wounded. Heaps of fun – and extremely effective in catching fish species from flathead to bream in the salt. To trout, redfin and even cod in freshwater.
Their presentation is fantastic in the water. The fact that they are biodegradable and not a true plastic is a huge plus for the environment – and the fish – in my opinion.
Not sure how to use a jig to set up a soft plastic?
Watch this video.
It'll show you a simple method that you can apply to most soft plastic lures. Of just about any brand, not just Gulp.
You already know I’m a huge fan of the Gulp range of soft plasticsSoft Plastic Lure . However…
Chasebaits have become synonymous with creating amazingly lifelike soft plasticSoft Plastic Lure lures. They look – and act – alive in the water.
Offering the fisho the chance to fish a truly “alive” looking presentation that works on most Australian species.
Their Flick Prawn lure is one of an excellent range that includes crabs, shrimps, frogs and even small bird and lizard imitations (the latter two for Murray Cod).
Check out the action in this video.
If you didn't know you were looking at a lure you'd think it was the real thing.
Just the right amount of movement in the antennae, legs and tail, with the right flex in the body.
Flicking and raising and lowing the lure really makes it look alive.
I can see it signalling to a predator fish "bite me" on the drop.
I usually pop a Berkley Gulp Sand Worm on each hook of a paternoster rigPaternoster Rig , cast them out – and leave them to “soak.”
Just like I would with a fresh or frozen sandworm. Usually, I’ll smear a little Squidgy S Factor to add an extra enticement. I’ve found my strike rate improves. Not too much smeared on the lure, mind. The S Factor will dissolve and add extra juices into the water. This is one time being subtle will pay off.
I’ve caught flathead, mullet, pinky snapperPinky Snapper The name "Pinky Snapper" refers to the immature Snapper. Their skin colour is different from adults (its pinker.)
Adulthood is usually considered on fish greater than 40cm - or in the 1.5 to 2kg - range, with darker red colouration.
Pinky Snapper Pre-Tied Rigs and bream in saltwater using this soft plasticSoft Plastic Lure . In freshwater, they’ve taken several good-sized redfin, too.
In saltwater, my preferred colour is the “bloody red” sandworm. In the fresh, I’ll usually choose one of the browner colours, or motor oil with the glitter flecks.
While I generally fish these on a standard paternoster rig with a light fixed sinker (depending on current) I will on occasion use them on a running sinkerRunning Sinker – or with a berley cageBerley
. The berley cage usually contains a medium such as finely crushed breadcrumbs infused with some Gulp Alive Recharge.
What really stands out right after fishing is a Berkley Gulp Sand Worm is easier to keep. They are not going to rot like fresh or frozen sandworms. As long as you keep them in their original packet (or waterproof substitute – I use thoroughly washed plastic peanut butter jars) and ensure there’s enough juice in there.
So – they’re ready to fish next time you go out. That is a real cost saving.
Rigging A Soft Plastic Lure Like Bait
This video tests how effective Gulp Soft Plastic beach worms are compared against live worms. However...
It's also a great example of rigging a soft plastic like bait. In this instance using a Paternoster rig. Though you could just as easily use another right - like a running sinker - using this technique.
This is also how I personally rig soft plastic beach worms.
BTW - I use Gulp beach worms for targetting saltwater and freshwater species, with success!
Cranka Crabs are dynamite on Black Bream.
The body is weighted so that the crab faces the right direction. While the claws contain foam to make them float.
The hooks are in the claws. Many predatory fish will hit crab claws (face) first it’s the claws that really make the difference here.
Watch the video to see just how life-like these lures are.
The foam claws give them that authentic look that seems to be the key that works the magic on Bream.
This really can't be explained and do the lure justice.
Watch the video and you'll see exactly what I mean.
Gulp Alive recharge fluid allows you to add the “juice” that keeps your Berkley Gulp soft plasticSoft Plastic Lure lures in the right condition to fish (pliable and flexible) while adding that famous Gulp fish attractant.
If you fish with Gulp you’ll find topping up essential. The juice your lures sit in is what gives them their flexibility and fish-attracting power. But – it spills, evaporates and disappears when stored in the plastic packets.
I usually add this to a waterproof container – one that doesn’t leak – then add my Gulp lures to the container. I find this keeps them better than the plastic packets the baits come in.
Keep Gulp Soft PlasticsSoft Plastic Lure Alive
Soft Plastic lures are not cheap. I don’t need to tell you that, right? Of course not.
Fact is Gulp lures dry out - and the packs they come in tend to leak. That's why I originally bought the Recharge.
However - it's so darn good - I drip a bit on my natural baits, too!
Oh - yeah - and to store Gulp that comes in the plastic packets? I use plastic peanut butter jars. The ones that reseal and are watertight. Some aren't. Good excuse to buy some better quality peanut butter. Eat it - then recycle the jar.
Rods & Reels
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on fishing rods and reels to just go fishing.
Having said that – more expensive and mid-range rods and reels to perform better than their budget-priced competitors.
So buying a rod and reel combo for $30 isn’t going to give you the performance and durability of a rod and reel combo worth twice that.
This tends to be the case the higher up you go.
My recommendation, if you’re starting out, is to budget around the $100 to $120 mark. A combo makes it easy to get the right balance. The manufacturer usually takes care of this.
Cared for most rod and reel combos in this range will last you many years.
Later on, you can buy something more expensive as your fishing passion grows.
This is a great entry-level priced rod and reel combo from Shimano.
One of the things I like about mine is the rod has the “aquatip” which makes seeing the rod tip easier in the dark. It’s a good, strong rod with enough sensitivity to know when you’re getting bites. Works well with braid or mono.
The reel has some of the features of more expensive Shimano reels. Including braking assistance when casting. This allows for smoother, more controlled casts.
I use mine on piers, estuaries, rivers, kayak and on my boat.
This is a reasonably priced lighter end surf rod from Shimano.
I’ve found these to be perfect for casting off larger piers, as well as of bayside beaches. I’ve also used them off surf beaches when the gutters are a little closer in to shore.
Everybody has to start somewhere.
Most of us have room for improvement.
These videos are designed to introduce and improve your catch rate when targetting Australian recreational fish species.
Anybody can drop a line in the water with a hook and some bait and hope to catch flathead.
But consistent results come from understanding your target species – and flathead are no different.
Selecting the right tackle and then using them with the right techniques can take a long time to master on your own.
Flathead Tactics offers insights experience fishos know produces results.
If I had a dollar for every piece of fishing tackle I’ve ever bought I’d be… Well, no better off financially, to be honest!!
But – who cares right? We don’t go fishing to make money. We go fishing for the sport, thrill and adventure.
And… to give the wife or partner some quality time alone. Right? Sure we do. We’re not selfish!!
Here’s some of the fishing tackle I carry and use on a regular basis.
Hands up if you like smelling like fish, berleyBerley
Yeah, right. Hands up whose wife or partner likes you smelling like fish, berley and bait?
That’s more like it. No hands. Hmmmm….
Well, no problem. You’re covered. This is one of my favourite times after a session – other than eating my catch. Like the fish, I target. I love the smell of aniseed. So washing my hands in it – whoo-hoo! Wife approves, too. Win, win.
- Contains anise essential oil
- Sold in packs of 3 blocks
- Ideal for freshwater but is also possible to offer a slight lather in saltwater.
- Mask oils and odours on your hands that may detract fish.
- Finish a fishing session with clean, fresh-smelling hands.
- Remove human scents and artificial toxins from your hands. Your bait and kit stay clean, attracting more fish and more aggressive strikes.
- Eliminate the age-old problem of cross-contaminating all of your stuff with the smell of fish guts.
- Ultimately, increases your chances of catching more fish, particularly when the bite is a little timid.
- I never caught Bream until I started using this. I used to smoke. I now vape. Bream loathe nicotine. Fussy little $%&#@
The Aniseed Fisherman’s soap should become a core part of your kit like it is mine. It works. Doesn’t cost much and has plenty of benefits. Do you smoke? Fill your car or outboard with fuel before you go out? There’s no for your hands to smell like petrol or nicotine.
Get your 3 pack now and freshen up!
You found the spot. The conditions are perfect.
You’ve placed your delicate, succulent bait on the hook.
You cast out.
Either the bait came off during the cast – or fell off slowly in the water. Maybe those small baitfish picked at it until it was gone.
If you’re not keeping your bait on the hook there’s not much point fishing! Right?
This elastic thread simply wraps around your bait and the hook, easily breaking off once a good wrap is achieved. Keeping soft baits like pipis, pilchards, chicken liver and much more – right on the hook, where it needs to be.
I’ve found it even keeps some of the smaller “bait stealing” fish from picking at your bait till it falls off.
It’s cheap and easy insurance. Since I’ve started using thread soft baits have not been a problem.
Sure, you can tie your own rigs. But one thing I learned as a computer programmer, over more than three decades, is that “re-inventing the wheel” is a waste of time and money.
This applies to how I approach fishing, too.
I always carry some of these rigs with me. Choosing the rig to suit the fishing I’m going to be doing.
The great thing is they are much less likely to tangle than the rigs most of us tie – and they’re ready to attach to your line in seconds! That makes setting up and changing rigs a pleasure, rather than a pain.
It also allows you to change a rig fast – before that fish school “bust-up” you can see in front of you moves on.
Want a paternosterPaternoster Rig ? No problems. You’re covered.
How about a running sinkerRunning Sinker ? Yup. No worries, mate.
Targetting snapper – there’s a rig for that. In fact, there’s a rig for Whiting, Mullet, Garfish (including feeder floatFeeder Float ), Surf and bay species like salmon. Gummies and more!
Note. There are two varieties marketed by Jarvis Walker
While they appear to be similar I have found the slightly cheaper ones sold in some department stores are not as good. In my experience, I've had more rig failures.
The ones I use can be easily told apart by the foam block that the slightly dearer packs have. The foam block holds the rig securely and can be re-used to avoid tangling
Look - the difference is a dollar. But the fishing experience is more than worth the extra.
While Black Magic rigs cost more than some of the other Pre-tied rigs I use there are times when I’ll reach for one.
Particularly when targetting finicky species like King George Whiting.
They are extremely well constructed and come rigged with glow beads and flashing.
Which is a great time saver when you compare wasting time and rigging things up yourself.
What I like about these rigs is that they can be just as effective on Pinky SnapperPinky Snapper The name "Pinky Snapper" refers to the immature Snapper. Their skin colour is different from adults (its pinker.)
Adulthood is usually considered on fish greater than 40cm - or in the 1.5 to 2kg - range, with darker red colouration.
Pinky Snapper Pre-Tied Rigs and Bream, too.
This video shows a range of Whiting rigs from Black Magic.
Hailing from our cousins in New Zealand you can - because I do - use them on more species than just Whiting.
A Whiting rig is great for flathead, bream and other species.
Freshwater? Perfect for Trout, Redfin and Carp. Choose a larger rig for large native species like Murray Cod.
The packet says “Trout Spinners.” But I use these for Redfin (English Perch) too.
I’ve tended to have more success targetting Redfin with spinners than soft plasticsSoft Plastic Lure .
Some colours, like red, seems to work better than others. Probably because Redfin are cannibals and enjoy snacking on smaller Redfin. A bit like politicians.
I even add some feathers to these. Black or green and always red.
Boat & Kayak Fishing
Boats. They’re designed so that they get wet – and you don’t. You love boat fishing, I love boat fishing. Not too many fisherfolks dislike fishing from a boat.
While BOAT is an acronym for “Bring Another Thousand” the fact is its fun buying gear for our boat. Right? Be honest!
Whether it be a cruiser, small Cuddy, tinny or a humble kayak.
Personalising your boat or kayak brings hours of satisfaction doing it – and using it. Bringing out our creativity in what we create – and the excuses we make justifying it to the wife! So – here are a few of the bits and pieces I’ve added to my fishing platforms.
I love these socks. Great for boating and kayaking. Keeping your feet warm and dry.
I also use them when surf fishing and landbased fishing in Winter.
Cold feet make fishing unpleasant. Why put up with it? Better than wool or cotton, which retains freezing cold water.
These simply aren’t optional for cold weather boating and kayaking. They not only make it bearable, but they might just slow down hyperthermia too!
I pair these up with the other thermal wear products listed in this section, too. Especially with the dive boots!
The Adrenalin 5mm Neoprene Zip Dive Boots are perfect for boating and kayak fishing.
They’ll protect your feet while being comfortable to wear. Your feet will remain warmer and dryer. While avoiding painful encounters with sand, gravel and rocks.
Their semi-rigid sole has a tread that will help you get a grip on the boat deck.
While the 5mm neoprene lets you get them wet – without them staying wet the way leather boots or a pair of runners do. Massively to superior to sandals or thongs (flip flops for folks overseas.)
Gotta admit I love mine. I hate cold feet and in Winter on the water cold feet can become a health factor, rapidly.
Loading and unloading the boat or kayak at the boat ramp? No worries. Your feet will stay warm. Especially when paired up with the other Adrenalin products I’ve listed here, like the Adrenalin 2P Thermal Socks.
Getting the sense I like to stay warm? Yup – and why not!
- 5mm neoprene material Zip Dive Boot
- Available in AUS men’s sizes 6-13
- Non-corrosive YKK zips
- Semi-rigid sole
- Reinforced zipper base
- Super tough vulcanized construction
- Heel and toe protection
Look great. At the same time keep out the wind, water and wintery weather. This is my “final layer” of clothing when kayaking and boating in Winter. I also often choose this when land-based fishing. Especially on ocean surf beaches!
Due to the Hi-Tech Knitted Micro-Fibre, it’s weather-resistant. The moisture-wicking fabric keeps the water out. While the plush inner lining feels super comfy. I’m always grateful to be wearing it.
The hood keeps your head warm. Beats wearing a beany alone. Because it covers the back of your head and neck too!
All this without restricting your movement due to the 70% 4-way stretch in the fabric.
Finally, it is rated 50+, TGA compliant ultraviolet protection factor that blocks at least 98% of UV radiation. So it’s super sun smart.
This is the rod holder I use on my DIY Fishing Trolley project.
It’s made for boats and comes with stainless steel screws. That helps prevent rust in saltwater.
The Rod Boat Rod Holder System holds three rods comfortably. Has notches to accommodate your reels when a rod is inserted. Is a solid but lightweight construction and comes with handy holders for knives and pliers.
It’s cheaper, faster and better looking than going to a hardware store and making your own equivalent using PVC pipe, too.
By the time you buy the pipe, screws and fashion the knife etc holders.
It just gets the job done. I love mine.
In my opinion, the T24 Kayak Watersnake Electric Motor from Jarvis Marine is a better pick than it’s T18 sibling. It packs quite a bit more thrust for only a few extra amps of power consumption.
Some folks use these on their tinny’s (around the 12-foot mark) but in my opinion, you’re better off going a little higher for a heavier boat.
On a kayak though, this is an ideal model. It’s reliable. Well made. Saltwater resistant and there’s plenty of spare-parts available locally.
This video shows the motor being used on the Brisbane River, QLD, Australia.
It moves the kayak well against the current and lasts well over an hour and a half on the batter being used.
It's a fun video with some great commentary and views of the river.
You can read my more coverage in Watersnake Kayak Trolling Motor Mount Review.
It’s not a bad product. As I explain in the review you need to make sure your kayak is going to work with it first. Hint: wider gunnel.
The essential concept is good. It seems to work well when used on the right boats. It’s certainly very neat and tidy and less cumbersome than transom style mounts in most cases.
I've Been Critical But...
I did a review on this motor mount and indicated wasn't entirely satisfied.
This was mostly due to my choice of the kayak to fit it to.
Quite honestly it works pretty well if you've got a kayak with a wide gunnel.
This video shows how to install it and you can watch it in operation.
The Lowrance Hook2 Fish Finder series is a vast improvement on the earlier models.
The screen orientation has changed to portrait, rather than landscape. The picture quality is better. There’s a lot of improvements in things like GPS tracking etc.
Choose a model to suit your boat (or kayak!) and budget.
The ability to see schools of fish, even in a tinny or kayak, cannot be understated.
The GPS tracking models let you find your way back to the boat ramp. As well as letting you save fishing spots so you can get back there another day.
Even a basic model, without GPS or side-scanning – is better than drifting around aimlessly and leaving your fishing to blind luck!
Staying warm and keeping the sun off your skin when boating or kayaking is essential. Especially copping spray, waves and even complete, accidental immersion in the water!
To achieve this we look at layers of clothes. Thermal socks, thermal boots with thermal undergarments (waterproof long leg underwear and undershirt.) Then a warm vest over the top of your body. Topped off by a thermal jumper.
This protects your organs from the crippling effects of chill.
Increasing the time you have before hypothermia sets in.
Remember – you can always peel a layer off to cool down. But getting warm is next to impossible.
The PLB Locator Beacon is for that occasion none of us hopes will ever happen.
Yet – every year people fall overboard on boats. Boats sink or turnover. Bushwalkers get lost.
The consequences can be drowning and/or exposure. Coldwater – and cold weather – kills.
In Victoria and Tasmania, the elements are nothing like those in NSW or QLD. Water temperatures plummet after March until the end of November. Squalls blow up unannounced.
The Personal Locator Beacon allows you to be found faster.
Why two kinds of PFD’s on two different boats?
Well. Simple really. If you get wet – which I don’t tend to in the boat – the auto one will inflate when I don’t want it to. So I choose the manual for the kayak were getting wet kind of goes with the territory.
It’s lightweight and doesn’t get in the way while I’m fishing. But when I need it (which I haven’t to date) a pull on the cord and it inflates to 150n – which keeps my head out of the water.
Essential for me as an asthmatic. That’s because I found 50n jackets, that many people wear when kayaking, to be insufficient for sustained usage. Suffice to say I had an experience with less buoyancy I’d rather not repeat. Even though I can “swim.”
Its passed all Australian PFD compliance standards. So it meets all aspects of the law.
In all Australian states, a PFD is required. The kind varies from state to state – but this one meets all states standards.
A quick note. These PFD’s require yearly inspection and servicing.
To inspect simply inflate the PFD. I do it manually using the mouthpiece to inflate it.
Then I let out the air and then inflate it by pulling the cord. This triggers the CO2 canister that fills the PFD.
I then leave it inflated overnight and check next morning for deflation.
If all is well and it’s still fully inflated I let out the air. Repack the inflation bladder. Then remove the CO2 canister and replace with a new one.
NB: Always carry one extra CO2 canister at a minimum with you. Once you fire it off it’s not going to inflate without a fresh canister. You don’t want to be trying to inflate a PFD in the water using the mouthpiece!
This video shows the automatic opening variety, by Watersnake.
The only difference being one requires the pulling of a cord to inflate. Whereas the other is automatic.
I strongly recommend not choosing an auto inflating PFD for kayak fishing.
The chances of it auto inflating when you don't want it to are very high on a kayak.
Choose the pull cord manual inflation for kayaks.
Berley & Attractants
Fishing without berley – and in my opinion without some attractant – is like fishing without your clothes on.
You wouldn’t want to fish naked, right? OK. Maybe there’s a few who would. But I wouldn’t inflict that kind of torture on the world.
Thing is. Berley (called chum in other parts of the world) works. It attracts fish. Brings them to you. It also attracts baitfish – which predator fish like to eat. Bringing them closer to you.
An attractant is similar. Brings them. It can also make them more likely to hang on to the hook.
That’s why I always use – both – and you should too. It can be the difference between no bites and a full session.
Fisho’s who use berleyBerley
(“chum” in the USA) catch more fish. It’s that simple.
On a boat, the pier or on a beach berley cages are one method to entice fish into the area near you.
As the container you use has to be up for the rough and tumble of fishing a metal wire cage is durable and easy to use. With enough weight to get your berley down towards the bottom, maximising dispersion.
This is by far my favourite fish attractant. Simply because it works.
Smearing it on a lure – even pre-scented lures like gulp – or onto bait on a hook has proven to make a huge difference in my own fishing. I always have a couple of tubes available to take with me.
While there are other attractants on the market I’ve personally found Squidgy to get the results.
S Factor scent is made for Australian fishos and the product testing occurred on Australian fish species. Maybe that’s the secret? All I know is it works better than any other “smear it on” fish attractant I’ve used.
- Catch more fish. Nope. That's not hype. This stuff is my favourite because it works on Australian fish.
- S factor is easy to carry and easy to apply
- Suitable for application onto most types of lures. I use it on bait too!
- S-Factor is backed up, used and endorsed by Australia’s most prominent pro anglers including Starlo and Bushy
- S factor fish attractor is easy to carry and easy to apply
- It is affordable enough to use on every fishing trip for even on a budget.
- S factor is the difference between no bites and action on every trip I go on.
Australia – sunburnt, open plains – bloody hot!
It makes sense to protect yourself from our beautiful but harsh climate.
Your skin and eyes will thank you. From fish-friendly sunscreen, polaroid sunglasses (protect the eyes and see the fish!!) and fishing scarves to protect our face and neck.
Look. Skin cancer is no fun and it’s a real issue in later life. I’ve had so many bits cut off now I’ve started to resemble a patchwork quilt.
No joke. It’s not funny. Why risk it?
Getting sunburned is not only painful – it’s dangerous. Take it from me. I’ve had so many minor skin cancers burned off and cut out it’s scary.
One on my right hand needed plastic surgery after removal!. Weeks of plaster and couldn’t go fishing!
However, most sunscreens not only keep the suns rays away – but also the fish.
So a product that protects you, but doesn’t affect your fishing has gotta be good news.
This is the product I carry with me. It works, too!
Keeping the sun off your neck and face is essential if you spend any time fishing in Australia.
I tend to use mine rolled around my neck for the most part. Mostly because of my own asthma issues. But most people will find it comfortable covering their nose, mouth and ears too!
Lightweight, washable material. Basic sunsmarts this one.
If you’ve ever gone fishing with polarized lenses then you’ll know the advantages. If you haven’t then be prepared to be amazed.
Polarized lenses not only protect your eyes from the harsh summer sun but allow you to look into the water too. This allows you to often see the bottom. See the fish. See the structure and see the baitfish.
These days I use prescription polarized sunglasses admittedly. But these were my go-to lenses in years gone by. Before I needed a prescription to see the end of my arm.