Like most Mad Keen anglers I love my boat fishing as much as the next guy. In fact within 3 weeks of getting bitten by the fishing bug in 1997, I was towing a brand new boat home from from Sydney to Canberra (which is where I lived at the time).

Owning a boat does open so many more options for you and gives you access to a wealth of technology from GPS and sidescan sounders, to water temperature readings, radars, devices to stimulate fish feeding and more. In fact sometimes we get so addicted and reliant on this technology that we can forget about the basics, whether it is reading a map or reading the water with your eyes.

If you can’t break your technology addiction, there are a plethora of mobile technology devices you can use from the shore including portable fish finders bluetoothed to your phone and GPS units. But for mine, I enjoy going back to basics. Angler against fish. The only difference is the primal instinct to catch food to survive is replaced by the sheer pleasure of having your feet planted on the sand or in the water, and admiring the beautiful sights and sounds of so many fishing locations up close.

My message is for those of you who rarely get out of the boat, or think you need a boat to catch fish, think again. Not only can it be productive, sometimes more productive spot than a boat, but is also a lot of fun, is great exercise and saves you the hassle of launching, retrieving and cleaning your boat!

Yet another great option, which gives you the best of both worlds, is to do a combination of boat and land based fishing during your day on the water. This gives you the option to fish different areas at the times and tides that suit them.


Obviously if your main form of fishing is reef fishing then you have no choice but to fish from a boat. The focus of this blog is on those areas such as estuaries or fresh water rivers or lakes where you have a choice of fishing from the boat and shore.

As you are more restricted in how far and quickly you can move on foot it is all the more important to target land based locations wisely. However being on foot does give you a few advantages over being in a boat, such as:
• You can fish much shallower areas like drains that the fish like whiting, flathead and trout might frequent around the low light periods.
• You have a lot more room to cast and can get right into tight spots you can’t with a boat
• It is much easier to be stealthy and spot fish then sight cast to them.
• You can move between nearby locations without disturbing the fish by walking over land, or quietly wading the shallows, rather than spooking them with the motor or shadow of the boat.
• If bait fishing, you can pump yabbies at the edge of the water and create a burley trail while you fish with set rods.



• Shallow sand flats covered in yabbie holes – fish the high tide for whiting and bream.
• Entrances to shallow drains and creek mouths on the falling tide for flathead
• Edges of weed beds and drop offs for flathead on the falling tide.
• Rock walls at the entrance to the estuaries – change your technique according to the tide for fish such as tailor, salmon, mulloway and luderick on weed baits in winter.
• Boat ramps with fish cleaning facilities – target these spots with fish flesh baits, particularly late in the day or at night when most boats are gone.
• Sandy estuary entrances for whiting and bream on live worms, flathead on yabbies or soft plastics.
• Bridge pylons at night and also the boundary line of the bridge lights on the water and the dark area beyond. Baitfish will be attracted to the lights and the predators will lurk at the boundary line. This is a good spot for tailor, flathead and Jew.

Freshwater dams and lakes
• Recently drowned green grassy banks (which hold worms and grubs) after rainfall or snowfall down south. Particularly at night.
• Drowned timber with lures, baits under floats or unweighted baits such as shrimps.
• The steeper bank side of river bends which are carved out and form a deeper backwater.
• If legal to do so, the deep water near dam walls and also down stream from the overflow after water is released.
• Off the bank in amongst rocky structure such as granite boulders.
• Creek offshoots from dams.
• Pull up on lake islands in a boat and fish the steep side during the day or shallow side at dawn and dusk.

So there are a few spots to try your luck as you get out of the boat more, or simply want to get into land based fishing. Be sure to use plenty of burley too, especially around the slower change of tide periods in saltwater estuaries.


A final word of warning though. Wading the flats or shore you are fully exposed to the suns damaging rays. In my mid-late 40s my Doctor is finding more and more skin cancers. I now take much more care in what I wear when wading the flats, including sun shirt, buff, hat and lots of sunscreen. Mad Keen Fishing is continuing releasing new sun smart gear including new ranges of long sleeve fishing shirts for men, women and kids as well as a fashionable broad brim hat. Check them out for you or a loved one at and enjoy getting back to basics fishing from the shore!

For more tips from Skip, check out his Facebook

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HOP OUT OF THE BOAT: Land based fishing tips.