Luderick fishing isn't difficult provided you follow a few basic rules. In another article I have talked about getting the correct bait, presenting the bait at the correct depth and the type of gear required to get the float into the correct position.

But, what is the correct position? What makes a good spot, and where do fish hold once you are in that spot? If you can answer these questions, then you have a fighting chance of catching a few luderick.


This article attempts to give the novice some ideas using a few examples.

If you look at the photo above you will see what I would consider a typical luderick spot, It's a spot described in the article found here. It's close to a river mouth and consists of a rocky outcrop protruding out into the river. The outer edge of the rocks form a reef which drop down to various levels and then onto sand on all sides. On a rising tide or a falling tide the water moves quite quickly past and forms eddies on the upstream and downstream sides. The reef encourgages the growth of kelp and algae and provides shelter for small fish and invertebrates.

This type of spot is perfect for the fish because it provides cover and a food source. It is perfect for you as a fisherman because it allows you to berley into the eddy and then to fish in the eddy. In the photo above, there's a run in tide, the water is moving from right to left with the main current running where the boat is and the water swirling into an eddy that turns at the left had edge of the photo and returns close to the rocks from left to right. This is also where the reef steps down and it's around 8-10 feet deep. The blokes in the punt are berleying heavily into this eddy, which is important. If they were to berley on the far end of the boat, the berley would end up 50-100 metres upstream along with the school of fish. They are also casting their floats quite close to the boat just out of the run of the tide and letting their floats move slowly away and then back in the eddy.

While they fished close to the boat, I was casting out to the left and letting my float drift back towards the anchor line. The fish were well and truly on the bite and were being held there and concentrated by the introduction of berley. This is a great illustration of the types of spot that blackfish favour, and shows that both landbased and boat fishing can be productive.

I live in northern Sydney and there must be literally hundreds of places to fish in the lower harbour where you would be a good chance of catching a few Luderick. There are a few things to look for. Ribbon weed and kelp beds, rocky points, jetties, bridges and floating pontoons. All of these have a few things in common, a supply of food and tidal movement. "No run no fun" is a common saying in fishing circles, it just describes what most observe, that fish bite best with the running tide. Of course this isn't universal but it does generally apply to luderick. One of the consequences of tidal movement, is that it will create eddies as described before. Another consequence is that fish will be more likely to take a bait when the current is moving, and you will get more consistent "downs". Sometimes the fish will bite at slack water, but can be maddeningly difficult to hook.

Another good example, this time Sydney based, is the Taronga Ferry Wharf walkway. You can actually climb down and fish from the rocks if required and if fishing from the walkway you will require a very long handled landing net.

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This spot is very typical of the lower harbour ferry wharves. Again you get good tidal movement, the rocks on the shore fall into deep water and the drop off is lined with huge kelp beds, giving the schools of fish cover and a food source. Additionally the fish like the extra cover that the ferry wharf and walkway give them and furthermore, every time a ferry arrives it stirs up the water and causes a huge movement of water which sends the fish into a feeding frenzy as they chase the bits of weed and small invertebrates around. The drop offs in the lower harbour are quite deep, so you need to fish at around a rod length or more at times.

A third example is The Spit at Mosman. If you walk around the southern shoreline with a pair of polaroids, you will see fish feeding on ribbon weed beds, among the kelp and generally cruising around. There is a saying that the fish you can see are the fish that you can't catch. Well, bollocks to that. I have caught fish around the spit in less than a metre of water using a long stemmed float and watched the fish take the bait. In this case the fish are using the high tide to pick at green weed growing in the shallows on the kelp and rocks.

There is a thread here to be picked up, tidal movement, cover in the form of rocks,kelp,ribbon weed,pylone and floating pontoons and the food source associated with the cover. It pays to have a crack at such spots even if you don't ever see others fishing there, I have found numerous good fishing spots this way, and always carry a pair of polaroids!

Ocean Rocks

There are few ocean rock platforms that don't have a population of Luderick. What you are looking for here is a source of food, usually a platform covered in cabbage (sea lettuce or ulva). At low tide there may be evidence of the cabbage being grazed. This isn't always indicative of luderick populations as there are other ocean dwellers that feed on the cabbage, such as black drummer, rock cale and silver drummer. But, its a good place to start.

A rock platform can be a big place, particularly when you consider the size of your bait. If you look at a rock platform on a half tide, you will see places where the waves break across the platform and then run off the platform as the water sucks back for the next wave. Usually there will be a bit of white water or turbulence in the place where the water is getting dragged back out in a current.

Fish will feed in these currents, picking up the small pieces of cabbage and other weeds that are removed from the platform by the wave action. Suppose you have found a spot where you think there will be fish feeding, how do know what depth to fish at ? If there are other people fishing the area, obviously ask around. Luderick fishos can be a cagey bunch though, and if its a new spot then you need to try a few things. As a general rule, try to fish with your bait a few feet from the bottom, not an easy thing to judge in turbulent white water. Unless it's obviously shallow water, start at 6-8 feet from the stopper to the last lead and vary the depth until you start getting downs, or start getting snagged.

Don't dismiss shallow reef, it can be very productive. It is usually covered in kelp and white water. Of course you have to fish a lot shallower. I have one reefy spot that fishes well on a run out tide, The depth from float to last sinker would only be 2 feet, but the fish will still bite well provided there is at least some white water. Again, the key here is cover, the blackfish are quite at home against the backdrop of the kelp and relatively safe from predators.

I really like positions behind reef. Reefs do a couple of things for you. Firstly they keep you safe, you rarely get surprised by a peaking wave when you fish behind a reef. Any peaking waves will break on the reef and give you plenty of warning so that you can get out of Dodge. Secondly it is very food rich and is usually covered in some white water, even in a smallish sea. I have had days where fish will hold up in white water covered pot holes a couple of feet deep. It really does pay to explore your local platform, the fish will be there somewhere if there is weed covering the rocks.

Be very careful when berleying on a rock platform, it can be very counterproductive. Your berley could take the fish to a spot that is unfishable, or just a long way to drift or cast your float. On rock platforms it pays to fish where the natural berley is and then only scrape extra berley in if you are sure it will hold the fish where you want them.