Why you MUST catch small fish

Why you MUST catch small fish

You’ll attract more big fish

I always teach beginners to concentrate on learning to catch small fish.


….because you have the best chance of catching a small fish – there are more of them than big fish so you increase your odds of a hook-up!

Don’t get me wrong….I love catching big fish but when I fish “tough” areas where :

Fish are easily spooked,

There is heavy fishing pressure


There just aren’t that many fish about…

….I go small first!


Light tackle works

Let’s face it, the majority of fish are small, so sometimes that’s all you’re gunnna’ catch. Target these first and, with a bit of luck, you might get a bonus big fish in the session.

Some anglers target big fish and aren’t interested in anything else…that’s fair enough.

….but most anglers want catch something…it’s a lot more satisfying than going home without a bite!

I love catching fish so when I fish the tough areas   I usually start with lighter gear and smaller hooks and baits so I can find out what’s in the area. If I find bigger fish I scale up my gear to land them.

I remember fishing with my son Matty on Rosebud pier. We started with light gear and after about 30 minutes started to land small mullet, flathead…and a few toadfish.

The other anglers on the pier had heavy gear and weren’t catching anything.

The guys next to us had been fishless for more than an hour but that didn’t stop them making light hearted fun of the small fish we were catch and throwing back.

Attract big fish

After another half hour Matty hooked something much bigger and it took off like a V8 Monaro. The light weight trace we were using broke and he lost that fish but we knew there were bigger fish around.

We rigged up again with slightly heavier gear and a bigger hook. Matty didn’t get another bite for 45 minutes but I continued to get bites on my light gear.

A bit later I got a much bigger bite. I let it take line and after about five, very long, minutes I managed to bring an Australian salmon to the surface. It was 34cm long and a really nice fish on such light gear.

Unfortunately no one had a net long enough to reach the water. The salmon struggled like crazy and broke off as I tried to reel it up….disappointing, but I was going to release it anyway!

After seeing this the anglers next to us were a whole lot more interested in our bait, rigs and berley!!!!

The lesson here was to go small or not catch anything at all!

Give yourself more options

The fact is that if you continue to learn from catching small fish you can easily scale up to bigger fish.

A good way to expand your options for both small and big fish is to take 2 rods. Set up one with light line and the other with heavy line. I do this a lot.

I often use exactly the same set up on both rods but just set up one with terminal tackle  big enough to land a big fish….

Use berley cage, line stop, trace and bigger hook and bigger bait….and sometimes this will give you that trophy fish…


…you will often get most of your action on the lighter rod and less on the big rod!

Catch different kinds of fish

One of the real advantages of using the lighter gear is that it attracts all kinds of fish. If you have plenty of small fish around your bait you can also get big fish interested….and this can add a bit of excitement to the whole session.

Some years ago I fished Bostock reservoir, near Ballan, in Victoria and I was targeting trout.  The water had been stocked with hatchery trout a few months before so I knew these small fish would be around.

I started with a light 2kg spin rod, 2kg main line, a 1.5kg low diameter trace and size 14 hook. I used maggots as bait and berley cages to attract the fish. Over a 3 hour session I landed 4 roach (small carp like fish), 2 small stocked trout and a 20 cm redfin….

I was pretty happy with my catch.

Big fish on light gear

As I started packing up my rod bent round and almost got pulled into the water. This time I’d hooked something much bigger.

Lucky for me there were no snags around because this fish went for a fairly long run before I slowly wound it in. After a number of shorter runs I tired it out enough to net it.

The fish was a 6kg carp and while it was not my target species I was amazed I could land a fish this big on  such light gear….and a size 14 hook!!

I was happier about landing this carp than I was with all the other fish together!

….it really gets the heart pumping when you hook something big on light gear…and could lose it at any time!

If this sounds like fun to you then why not start small first?

If your gaol is to catch fish….and get a bit of action then use some lighter gear.

You can easily set up a light rod and a heavy rod to increase your chances a bit….

…then learn from the action on the smaller rod – change baits, hold the rods, leave some slack line….keep trying new things till you get a bite….

Your fishing could improve “out of sight”!

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