Whilst whitebait stir the estuarine trout’s interest as they appear from September onwards, it’s the arrival of smelt that really gets our southern estuaries firing. Even sporting colour there are a myriad of small inlets, bays and flats which can fill with clearer incoming saltwater and provide a window of exciting fast fire action.
- Check out the Incoming tide. Low tide will give you access to the channels and gutters however as the shallows fill this is where the smelt, and therefore trout will be found
- Carry multiple lines. Tidal pull, speed of retrieve etc can all affect the depth at which your flies fish. The Airflo 40+ range allows quick loading and easy distance, with relatively limited casting space. A Di3 (at 3ips) and Di7 (at 7ips) are my most used lines.
- Try other stuff rather than just smelt patterns. Sure, fish are chasing smelt but there are a lot of them to close in on. Try a yellow eye mullet pattern, a Mr Glister or other, strong silhouette fly to stand out from the crowd.
- Move around. The river mouth, channels, inside bends, and the transition zone between fresh and saltwater are all likely places to locate fish. If it isn’t working, mix it up.
- Mix your flies up. Fish them in tandem with the top fly on a substantial dropper for added independence. Switch around the colour, profile, size etc of the top fly, then play with the point fly. Vary your retrieve and bring the rod tip into play for added action.
Get out there and enjoy our tidal reaches. Chances are there’s an estuary very near you!