Fishing: Tiny surface lures a lot of fun

I'VE BEEN having some great fun lately fishing the shallows with tiny surface lures for an assortment of estuary species.

It makes for an extremely pleasant morning when you can go home with half a dozen plump whiting for dinner along with the memories of also mixing it with trevally, flathead, bream and more, all on the spider-web gear.

Sub-50mm micro-poppers and walkers like the Ecogear PX45 and 55 and the K-9 Pup can be retrieved across the surface like a fleeing prawn being attacked from below.

Few estuary fish can resist a flicking prawn and it can be a real surprise just how much life there is in water hardly deep enough to float a small tinny.

It doesn't take a great deal of skill to hit on a retrieve that works, although it's best to mix things up a bit until you find the one that produces best at the time. Some days, it's a steady, straight crank while at other times you might need to add a periodic flicking action to best emulate a prawn.

If it's whiting you want, keep it brisk and don't stop winding; in fact, if you see a following fish, change up a gear. Once you stop, the whiting is likely to peel away and lose interest.

Bream, on the other hand, like to attack when the lure is paused.

In clear water you can sometimes see a few bream lurking under the stalled lure. One will often muster up the courage to strike when you just twitch the popper.

Even a small flathead can explode all over one of these tiny lures and swallow the entire thing. For this reason it's wise to use "bite leader" of buoyant nylon monofilament of around 6kg, which also helps prevent the line from sinking and drowning the lure's action.

You'll also need a set of locking artery forceps to get right down the mouths of these fish to remove lures without damaging fish intended for release.

The rod should be ultralight action to successfully cast these lures, which can be as light as a couple of grams. A light drag allows fish to run - no problem on the snag-free open flats.

I've been using the new Aussie-made Platypus P8 line in wispy 6lb and it's just made for this type of fine work.

Free park app

FREE marine park zoning maps are now available for smart phones and tablets, to allow fishos to figure where they are in a marine park and whether they can fish there.

The app, available from iTunes and Google Play stores, uses the GPS in the device to locate the angler without the need for expensive chart plotting.

The Avenza PDF Maps app and the Marine Park Zoning maps are free to download but the location services facility must be enabled on the mobile device.

Search for maps by marine park name or "NSW DPI Fisheries" for all available maps, which are then stored on the device.

The phone or tablet then should be able to tell the user exactly where they are in relation to no-fish sanctuary zones and other zonings in the state's six marine parks.

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