Reef Fishing – 5 Top Tips For Beginners

The owner of Wahoo Fishing Charters with a large fish.

Any day out fishing is a good day. But a day out on the reef, well, that’s hard to beat. For many of our clients, reef fishing is the ultimate boat charter experience, and certainly, it’s a chance to see Sydney fishing at its finest. What Sydney reef fish can you expect on an expedition like ours? The list reads like a who’s-who of the big fish world. Think yellow-fin and blue-fin tuna, kingfish, snapper, marlin and more.

If you’re new to the sport and want to give it a go, we’ve compiled this handy list of reef fishing tips to help you get the most out of your first adventure. After that, you’ll be hooked, we’re sure! But before we set up our rigs, let’s quickly touch base on what exactly this sport is.

What is reef fishing?

The way fish perceive a reef is probably like how we humans view a fresh food market; a smorgasbord of edible options and plenty of argy-bargy between customers intent on finding the best deal (and not willing to queue for it)! For those of us who love fishing, it is, therefore, some of the best action and experience you could ask for.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking a reef is exclusively a natural occurrence of nearshore or offshore underwater ridge, shoal or limestone complete with coral. We’d define it more as an underwater structure that has developed over time and become a rich source of food and shelter options for underwater microorganisms and creatures. So yes, that can mean coral shelves. However, it can also mean sunken structures like shipwrecks, abandoned rigs and even manmade or artificial reefs.

So, now we’re clear on where we’re headed (although we only divulge the best locations to Wahoo Fishing Charter clients), let’s look at making the most of our time out there! Welcome to our top tips for reef fishing.

1. Go reef fishing with local experts

This can be said of nearly all life’s experiences, right? Do it with local knowledge, and it’ll be so much better! When it comes to this kind of deep sea fishing experience, Wahoo Fishing Charters knows what’s biting, where, and which fishing equipment to use, depending on conditions. We’ve lived and worked in waters around Sydney and New South Wales for over 18 years and know the top biting spots like the backs of our hands. We also understand the local tidal and weather patterns and how to keep our boats steady over the reefs. Make no mistakes – this is not the type of fishing for novices unless in the company of experienced fisherpeople.

Even if you’re not a beginner but don’t know the area, reef fishing charters with us will fast-track your experience and get the most out of your day. We’ll set you up for success!

2. Know when to use lure and when to use bait

When it comes to what is the best bait for reef fishing and what is the best lure for reef fishing, the answer is never cut and dry. It might be a busy ‘market’ down there, but every day is different. You could get strike after strike early on, only to have things die down as the day progresses. Alternatively, the area might be covered, but it feels like the water is full of window shoppers. Typically, it’s a good idea to have someone fishing on a lure and someone on a bait, so you’ve got both bases covered. Ideally, start with the best bait for reef fishing, like live crabs, prawns and mullet, to get a feel for what’s down there on the day. If you’ve only got frozen bait, respect the fish and don’t give them the dregs of your freezer – put something quality on the line.

3. Understand the optimal tide for reef fishing

What tides are best for reef fishing? We recommend a falling tide. More specifically, approximately two hours before low tide when the water flow is particularly strong.

4. Make sure you have the best set-up for reef fishing

This is another great reason to use a deep sea fishing charter company like Wahoo – we’ve got all the right premium gear at our fingertips for you to cherry-pick on the day. A heavy-action fishing rod is a must if you want to go after anything decent enough for some social media boast sessions. Although you’ll do alright with spinning gear, we recommend a free spooling trolling reel.

“What line should I use for reef fishing?” is a question we get a lot! We recommend plenty of braided line, especially for bottom fishing. Why braided? It’s resilient against the reef and rocks’ sharp, jagged edges. It’s also quite fine, allowing you to fit a lot more on your reel, which is essential for this type of fishing.

Your rig ideally needs to include a large egg-shaped sinker which you’ll slide through the line. Just below this, you need to attach a premium quality swivel. Add a large hook to handle the big fish that will bite.

5. Set up multiple reef fishing rigs

This is action-packed fishing, so expect frays and even broken lines. As such, be prepared and have a few rigs set up and ready to swing into instant action.

We hope these top tips prove helpful to you. Remember, if you’re on the water with our crew and in one of our charters, you’ll learn this and much, much more. Tap into our expertise, knowledge and local awareness – we promise it will fast-track you into becoming a reef fishing fanatic who really knows what they’re doing.

Contact us about reef fishing charters in Sydney

The big fish are out there biting, and we want you to be pulling them in! Contact our team today, and let’s get you on one of our deep sea charters. Get ready for an amazing experience – we will help make the most of your time on Sydney Harbour and surrounding waters!

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To enjoy deep sea reef fishing charters in Merryland, Sydney call

Based on 21 reviews
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Sydney Blocked DrainsSydney Blocked Drains
10:19 17 Feb 23
We have been on Wahoo Charters 3 times now and have gone home with more fish than we could have ever dreamed of.George and the crew are friendly, knowledgeable and funny!This last time we bagged 4 kings over 1 meter.Always a good time on their boats.Thanks boys!
Alex HuntingtonAlex Huntington
08:34 10 Jan 22
Tight lines all day. All the boiz got to winch in a few 1m+ Kingies each.
Tanvir KhanTanvir Khan
04:53 29 Dec 20
We went out on a charter today and whilst the weather was against us, Sev and Josh did everything they could to get us on to the fish. I highly recommend George and his team for your next fishing charter. We will be back.
Merryzz V2 AccMerryzz V2 Acc
02:15 02 Apr 20
Had a awesome time with George out bottom bashing, he was very knowledgeable and experienced in his trade. Definitely planing on going out with wahoo charters again, had a great day and was for myself the first time deep sea fishing and i loved every bit of it. Really recommend to use this company!
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