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Gary Brown

How did you get into fishing?
Since around five years old I started to fish with my dad when the family travelled throughout NSW and interstate. I will never forget the thrill of catching my first ever bream on a pudding bait made by my dad. From those early years, I started to target fish species like whiting, flathead, leatherjacket, luderick, john dory, flounder, crabs, silver trevally and mulloway in the estuaries and bays.

When I was 14, I bought my first boat and started fishing out to sea on the south coast of NSW, where we could chase snapper, tuna, morwong, pinkies, leatherjacket, mulloway, bonito and many other fish species.

Not being content with that style of fishing I took up rock and beach fishing and targeted drummer, snapper, bonito, tuna, bream, luderick, tailor, Australian salmon, whiting, dart and kingfish off many a deep water ledge and washes around Australia.

What inspires you about fishing?
I have always loved being in the outdoors, whether it was playing sport, fishing or boating. Each day or session that I go fishing is a new challenge of me against the fish and the thrill of being able to outwit (not always) the wily fish stays with me forever.

As a young kid I was taught how to fish by my dad and uncles and it was this learning of new skills that has inspired me to continue this teaching by educating other anglers on the ways that work for me.

As an example, I ventured down to the Shoalhaven River to fish with my son Chris and Lachie and Riley (grandkids) in Christopher Brown's boat and as he started the motor all we had was forward in neutral, forward and reverse. Chris pulled the boat out and a quick trip back to where he got it serviced and then back to the ramp to take us back out.

Forty-five minutes later we pumped 25 yabbies and then after an hour and three quarters Lachie and Riley had boated 5 dusky flathead, 4 tarwhine, 1 whiting, 1 trevally and 1 bream. It's the smiles on their faces that inspires me to continue what I do and it's these smiles that will stay with me forever.

Where in Australia do you fish and what are your main target species?
To me this is a really hard question as I get a chance to fish all over Australia, so whether it's chasing bream, whiting and flathead in the estuary, tailor, Australian salmon and bonito off the rocks, whiting to mulloway off the beach, bass and perch in the impoundments or mullet and garfish in a local creek. I just love to go fishing!

What are 3 of your favourite species and why?
1. Bream: Over the years I have found that you may have thought that you have them worked out, only to find that you have to figure them out again. There are never two days the same as they can be a very smart fish.

2. Dusky Flathead: They will attack just about every lure or bait that is thrown at them. They fight extremely hard on light tackle, right to the end and they eat well.

3. Yellowtail Kingfish: Pound for pound kingfish would have to be one of the hardest fighting fish, whether you are chasing them with lures or soaking a bait. They are the type of fish that you think you have beaten, only to find them going up a notch and testing your terminal tackle to the limit.

What are a few of your most memorable captures?
Hooking and landing a 1.31 kilo yellowfin bream on a 1/4oz TT Lures Switchblade in Gold Noggin colours that gave us the winning bag in the Western Sydney Bream Scramble.

While fishing out of my first ever boat off the south coast of NSW at Gerroa I caught an 18.1 kilo mulloway on 6kg line while targeting snapper.

Catching a 96cm dusky flathead in 50cm of water in the Port Hacking River on a soft plastic.

While bait fishing with pink nippers with my son Chris, I caught a 41cm whiting and at the same time Chris caught a 42cm whiting.

What are your go-to Tackle Tactics products and some tips for fishing them?
I just love using the 1/8oz and 1/4oz TT Lures Switchblades! In the estuaries I have caught just about everything that swims. Whether it is in deep or shallow water, the colours that I have had a lot of success on are Golden Boy, Gold Noggin, Green Back and Sunset Gold.

There are three main techniques that I use when blading, they are the cast out and bunny hop method, where you cast out the blade in front of you as far as you can. Once it has landed on the bottom, it's just a matter of lifting the rod tip to create small bunny hops of the blade. Don't forget to allow a couple of seconds between the lift and just remember to wind in the slack as you drift towards the position of the blade.

The drop and drag technique can be used while fishing from a boat while you are drifting. Fold over the bail arm and allow the blade to sink to the bottom. Then give it a couple of small hops. You will find as you are drifting along the blade may not go back down to the bottom. All you need to do is fold over the bail arm and let out enough line to allow the blade to hit the bottom. Then give it a couple smaller hops. This is then repeated until the line is at about a 45-degree angle. The blade is then wound in and the process is repeated over and over again. If you are drifting too fast, then deploy your sea anchor or drogue to slow the drift down.

Tea bagging is a great way to prospect the deeper water for feeding fish. As the name suggest all you need to do is tea bag the blade or vibe and the fish do the rest. You don't have to cast out, just drop it over the side. Once it has reached the bottom, it's just a matter of raising and lowering the rod tip. Most of the takes will happen as the blade or vibe is falling.

This is where you will use a slightly heavier blade and the use of an electric motor is not always necessary. You could slow your drift down by using a sea anchor or even a bucket tied to a rope. The slower the better.

Now as for soft plastics I can't seem to go past the ZMan 2.5" GrubZ in the Motor Oil and Bloodworm colours and the ZMan 2.5" Slim SwimZ in the Pearl and Motor Oil colours. Both of these lures can be rigged on the lightest Tournament Series HWS jig head. They can be used when casting near the sides of boat, pontoons and shallow shorelines through to deep water in the estuaries for bream, flathead, whiting and many other estuary fish species.

This same combination can also be skipped across the surface fairly quickly for kingfish, salmon, tailor, bonito and mackerel.

What are your go-to Okuma products and why?
Outfit #1 - LRF-S-6102L rod matched with a Ceymar CBF-40 baitfeeder reel, spooled with 6kg mono.

The combination of the UFR technology in the rod tip and the bait feeder control on the Ceymar is great when bait fishing for bream, whiting, trevally and flathead, while fishing at anchor.

Outfit #2 - LRF-S-742L rod matched with a Ceymar C-30 threadline reel, spooled with 3kg braided line.
Whether you are bait or lure fishing, the extra length of 7 feet and 4 inches of this LRF rod will allow you to get that extra casting distance that you have been after. A great outfit for casting plastics, blades and hard bodied lures over the flats. This is an outfit that you can use for hours on end and not get tired of using it.

Outfit #3 - Competition CM-S-702ML rod matched with an Epixor XT 30 and 40 threadline reel, spooled with 6kg braided line.
If you are after an outfit to tackle those larger fish species like snapper, kingfish, tailor and salmon in the estuaries while either bait fishing or chucking around a few slightly heavier soft plastics and blades, this outfit is ideal for that. I mainly fish with 3 to 5" plastics or 1/4oz to1/2oz blades, or when bait fishing it will be half or whole pilchards and strip baits.

Outfit #4 - AZORES Z-S-702M rod matched with a Blue Azores 5500 threadline, spooled with 20kg braid.
This is my go-to outfit, when it comes to either lure fishing or bait fishing for kingfish. The rod has so much pulling power, while still having plenty of sensitivity in the tip. The drag on the Blue Azores is as smooth as.

What species are on your bucket list and why?
Mangrove Jack: From what I am told and what I have seen on You Tube they fight extremely hard, pull like a draught horse, can attack a lure with lightning speed and they are not bad on the plate.

Giant Trevally: I have travelled all over Australia and to a number of places overseas and have caught a variety of fish. The Giant trevally is one species that has alluded me and from what I have seen and heard they are an exciting fish to catch.

What is a piece of fishing advice that you've been given that still sticks with you?
Whether you are bait or lure fishing, and with all the high tech equipment and lures around, it is sometimes better to just keep it simple. As an example, when bait fishing just use a small running sinker down onto a peeled prawn or when using a soft plastic and you are getting short strikes use a stinger hook.

Three tips for somebody new to fishing?

  1. First and foremost, you need to make sure that you have fun when you go fishing.
  2. If you think that you are going to get a great bag every time you go out. Think again. I love fishing in bream and flathead tournaments and have had a number of times when I have come back with no bream or flathead but have caught just about every other fish species that was out there.
  3. Do the research before you go. Make a plan of what you are going to do. Use the best gear that you can afford. Don't get stressed and make sure that you always have fun.

Anything you would like to add?
I love my fishing and I love teaching other would be anglers how to do it. Not that I always get it correct. Over the years I have taught many anglers how to improve their fishing ability in my "How, Where, When and Why to Fish" classes/talks throughout tackle shops and fishing clubs in Sydney.