Land Based Game – The Basics

Land based game or LBG is a highly specialised form of sportfishing where large pelagic fish are commonly captured from the rocks using a variety of popular techniques such as high-speed spinning, live baiting and gas ballooning, as new Kaydo Fishing World writer ‘Goshie’ details here.

Kyle Lack with a 114kg black marlin off the rocks, the pinnacle of LBG.

Australia is regarded as one of the best destinations in the world for land based gamefishing as warm oceanic currents bring large predatory fish close enough to the shore where they are consistently captured by a dedicated breed of anglers. The calibre of sportfish found in Australia’s inshore is absolutely spectacular and features some of the toughest and fastest fish swimming in the ocean. Popular gamefish such as kingfish, longtail tuna, yellowfin tuna, Spanish mackerel, cobia, sailfish and black marlin can all be captured from the Australian coastline and are regarded as the main targets for LBG enthusiasts.
Nathaniel Boldizs has landed 13 marlin off the rocks making him one of the greatest LBG anglers in the modern game.

Nathaniel Boldizs has landed 13 marlin off the rocks making him one of the greatest LBG anglers in the modern game.

The most productive areas to find these inshore pelagics are prominent headlands that intercept warm currents. Man made structures such as breakwalls and long jetties which hold large aggregations of baitfish will also attract plenty predatory fish looking to score an easy meal. In this following piece I’m going to look at LBG’s most sought after species and detail some of the best methods to target these fish. KINGFISH Kingies are famous for their formidable fighting qualities and at any size these powerful fish will fight till the very end. Kingfish can range anywhere between 2-40kgs. Smaller rat kings are great for beginners and can be found in large numbers around wharfs, harbours and rocky headlands. Big hoodlum kings are usually found in deepwater ledges and live baiting with large active baits is the best way to hook a monster fish. Once a big fish is hooked they will often head straight for the bottom looking to severe your line in the process. When you’re trying to put the brakes on a rampaging fish sometimes all you can do is keep your line away from the rocks and pray for the best outcome. Some of the most productive areas for targeting kingfish include Jervis Bay, Green Cape and the world heritage listed Lord Howe Island.


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Kody Granger with a longtail tuna from Northern NSW.

Longtail tuna are an awesome light tackle sportfish and are capable of stripping plenty of line from your spool. These tuna are also known for their stamina and a solid 25kg fish can have you stitched up for hours. When these fish fight they normally use a distinctive arch like fighting pattern. To wear these stubborn tuna down you will often need to free spool these fish and turn them on a number of occasions. Longtails are also known as northern bluefin tuna and can be captured along the top half of the country. Some of the hot spots for chasing longtails are 1770 in Qld and Iluka, Camden Haven, Forster and Port Stephens in NSW. YELLOWFIN TUNA Yellowfin tuna are another desired species which are on the wish list for any keen LBG fanatic. Over the years some absolute “barrels” around the magical 100kg mark have been landed from the rocks. However in recent years the numbers of inshore yellowfin along the Australian coastline is nowhere near as prolific as they were in the nineties. Smaller rat fin between 2-10kg can be spun up with lures. Larger yellowfin are normally taken on livebaits and skipbaits. There are still some quality fish available to those anglers that are willing to put in the hours. The deepwater ledges around Green Cape in southern NSW have produced some of the best yellowfin in the past. SPANISH MACKEREL
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A sensational Spanish Mackerel caught off the stones.

Goshie with a 19kg cobia taken on a metal slice.

Goshie with a 19kg cobia taken on a metal slice.

To a land-based angler Spanish mackerel are considered as the speed demons of the sea. These tropical speedsters can reach 40kgs and are one of the most aggressive fish in the ocean. Spaniards are not fussy feeders and can be captured on live baits, lures and skip baits. To catch these fish a wire trace is essential as they have razor sharp teeth. When these fish are hooked they will usually take scream off at warped speeds. Iconic locations like Steep Point and Quobba in WA can produce extraordinary runs of mackerel. On the east coast some the best spots are 1770 in Qld and Hat Head in northern NSW. COBIA

Jack Davanzo with a 15kg cobia from Whistling Rock WA.

Cobia are a mysterious and unpredictable gamefish. They can often be found cruising the oceanic currents with large sea creatures like sharks and rays. Cobia have a “shark” like appearance and can grow to over 50kgs. Cobes are usually found in warm sub-tropical waters and consistent numbers of fish are found north of Kalbarri on the west coast and north of Port Stephens on the east coast. Garth’s rock on the Quobba coastline is often regarded as the number one cobia hot spot. These fish are absolute garbage guts and can be captured on a wide variety of lures and live baits. When spinning for cobia a medium paced retrieve works best. The bigger fish are usually taken on live baits such as slimy mackerel, yellowtail, mullet and trevally. When hooked cobia can be very unpredictable. Some fish will simply stay on the surface and dog it out, while others will instantly swim straight for the bottom looking to bury your line in the reef. Cobia are also known to be tricky customers at the gaff and will often roll around like mad making it extremely difficult to secure your catch. SAILFISH
An awesome looking sailfish prior to release.

An awesome looking sailfish prior to release.

Sailfish are a majestic billfish which are often captured from the high cliff ledges in Western Australia’s Gascoyne region. These beautiful looking fish are usually taken while gas ballooning with big skip baits such as garfish and mullet. When sailfish are hooked they will often take to the air on numerous occasions providing an amazing aerial display for the angler. Most sailfish encountered by land based anglers usually range between 20-40kgs BLACK MARLIN Landing a black marlin off the rocks is considered as the pinnacle of land-based gamefishing. The best place to target a black marlin from the stones is at Jervis Bay on the NSW south coast. These massive billfish can be captured from the front ledges of Jervis Bay and inside the bay at the famous Torpedo Tubes platform. Marlin are normally taken by livebaiting slimy mackerel, bonito, frigate mackerel and even rat kingfish. Most marlin taken from the rocks range between 20-100kgs, however some massive fish over the 150kg mark have been captured from the shore. In December 2013 Nathaniel Boldizs landed one of biggest marlin off the rocks – a huge fish with an estimated weight of 180kgs. Any beakie over the magical 100kg mark can easily strip over 1000m of 24kg tackle and plenty of anglers have been spooled by these big angry fish. To have a serious shot at landing a marlin from the rocks it’s important to have a heavy tackle outfit and a good quality harness will definitely save your back during a long drawn out battle with a stubborn fish. With such a great variety of gamefish on offer, LBG anglers from Australia should count themselves extremely lucky. If you haven’t experienced the thrill of hooking and landing a big gamefish fish from the rocks get out and give it a go.


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