Luderick on the Weed Fly
I am going to start by stating that we are not experts in targeting Luderick on the fly. Whilst we both have had some success in varying situations and locations , the information below is provided to help you form the foundations to working out your own locations and styles. I know that we have had to ask the questions along the way to put the puzzle together, and to those who have taken the time to answer and share their knowledge, I am eternally grateful. There has been many fishless outings along the way, so take what you can from our experiences and apply/modify and tweak them to suit your own locations. Learn from each trip to the water, learn from other anglers, learn from local anglers and piece it together until the formula for success is consistent.
Luderick are a very accessible species for most of the estuary anglers along the East Coast of Australia, ranging in distribution from Southern Qld through to Tasmania. During the cooler months, large schools of Luderick form up and occupy most estuary systems, with a strong following of anglers who are dedicated to targeting the species.
To begin your search for Luderick , start looking around rock walls, jetty pylons , ocean platforms and weed beds. Concentrations of available food in the area will help you out , so look for the bright green weed and cabbage often found attached to rocks. Fish need to eat and their primary source of food will not be far away.
A fly outfit in the 4 weight to 6 weight class will be more than sufficient, and the fish will put up a nice account for themselves on those outfits matched with a floating weight foreward fly line. The one that we are currently using is the Vision Merisoula 6 weight, a line purposely built for Saltwater use with a moderate aggressive head for turning over flies with ease.
Floating lines are my preference as the line can be managed / mended easily from the surface film. It results in a cleaner fly presentation during the drift, reduced amount of belly in the line and allows for a quick hook set.
The leader length is often determined by the water depth , thou we are around 9 foot as a starting point and will either chop or add depending on what is needed.
Remember, the above is the type of set up that we are using and have confidence using it in our locations. There is a whole range of options available in the area of lines and leaders that may suit you better ; full intermediate lines, sink tip lines, sinking lines are to name a few options.
Weed flies, with a few variations in your kit to be prepared to present the fly in varying water depths.
Starting with the colours – Bright Green , Olive , Blended and Brown flies, in the hook sizes – 6 through 10 , with sizes 8 and 10 delivering most of the success in our experience and moving into Weight options , which are an important consideration so you can drift the fly through the water column and therefore range from zero weight, brass bead, lead wrap and tungsten bead. The choice of weight will have a significant impact on your fly presentation , essentially, the choice needs to be based on the sink rate required and depth your want to present the fly to the fish.
The set up;
When we are targeting fish in shallow water, the set up has a minimalist approach; straight through fluorocarbon, 9 foot in length, with a two fly rig set up. Depending on the tidal strength , a brass bead fly or a tungsten bead fly will be used with an unweighted weed fly trailing 30cm behind.
In the deeper water , an indicator set up is employed , much like setting up an indicator rig for Trout nymphing. Whilst still maintaining the 9 foot leader, a Thingamabobber indicator is attached and set to the depth that you want to fish the flies. The Thingamabobbers’ create little resistance and are easily adjusted so you can make a depth change whenever necessary. They are also available in a few sizes depending on the buoyancy requirements of your location. In the calm water estuaries and along the protected edges of rock walls , the small size seems fine. In the stronger currents, heavy washes or wind blown rock walls, the next size is required. It would be a wise decision to have a few indicator options in your kit.
In both set ups, we are running an 11 pound Space Fluorocarbon leader as the main line, On the trailing flies, on rock walls, 11 pound is maintained, however in shallow water situations , we will drop down to 7 pound.
Two Fly rigs.
In almost all situations , we will set up the two fly rig. This is done by attaching the weighted weed fly at the end of your main leader and then an unweighted weed fly tied directly from the head fly hook bend with a 30cm length of fluorocarbon.
See in the image on the left, the tungsten bead is the lead fly , with the unweighted weed fly trailing behind. In most, but not all , the eat comes from the trailing fly. The 30cm separation from leading fly to the trailing fly seems to work for us. We have tried shorter distances and don’t seem to see as many eats.
The presentation of the fly is up and across the current, allow the rig to drift with the tidal flow and swing until the drift on your fly becomes unnatural. Other areas to search are through the tidal current eddies and pockets of slack water just off the main flow.
I hope this helps you out with your pursuit of Luderick on the fly.
Brett and Cherie