This article was written by Black Magic Brand Ambassador Brendon Hogg, an experienced kayak angler from Victoria, Australia. Brendon has been chasing gummy sharks and many other saltwater species along the Victorian coast for many years, and in this article, he shares his experiences and advice on how to catch one of his favourite species. You can follow Brendon on Instagram and Facebook.
Gummy sharks can grow to over 2m long and weigh over 35kg, so the bigger models can become a real challenge to land when kayak fishing.
You can target gummy sharks in around 1 meter of water over mud flats, or between 8-35m of water around reefy areas. You can target them all year round, but you’ll most likely encounter larger sized fish in February and March.
Gummy sharks love to eat crabs, which is why they’re so commonly found over the mud flats.
When targeting gummy sharks, I use a light jigging rod with an 8000 reel. I find this works well for the smaller fish but has enough strength to handle good sized gummys and bycatch like seven gill sharks and eagle rays. Jigging rods are shorter, so there is less chance of snapping your rod on your kayak with a bigger fish.
I spool my reel with 50lb Rainbow Elite 8x braid. I use a heavy weight braid because gummy sharks like to roll up your leader. If they reach your braid (mainline), you want something with a bit of abrasion resistance or strength, so it won’t snap instantly. It also gives me more confidence when fishing around structures like reefs and weeds.
Fishing with Rainbow Braid is also a good way to remember how far to cast or wind back in to ensure your bait or lure is in the right spot.
I run 60lb – 80lb Tough Trace tied as a double paternoster rig. If I’m fishing over a reef or structure, I’ll run a long leader of 1.8m of 80lb Tough Trace, connected to my braid with a 101kg rolling swivel, with a loop knot at the bottom so I can easily change my sinker as the tide changes.
I always use 8/0 KLT® hooks on the bottom of my double paternoster rig, so I can get a big fleshy piece of bait on there without hiding the hook point and barb. I then add a 7/0 KLT® hook with a slightly smaller bait. I add lumo sleeves to my hooks with a lumo bead on top.
For bait, I can highly recommend pilchards, silver trevally, yakkas or squid.
Because of the high possibility of bycatch, of other types of sharks or rays, I always have some pre-tied Gummy Snatchers® with me. If you lose your rig to a bycatch, or simply snagged on structure, you can attach your Snatcher® rig, add some bait and you’re ready to go.
When I’m waiting for the bite, I always have my drag loose. When the gummy takes the bait and starts to swim away, I will tighten up my drag and start to wind them in. Sometimes you need to give a little yank just to ensure the hook is set, but by fishing with circle hooks they will generally hook themselves. Once you’ve started winding them in, this is where the battle starts as they can really take you for a ride in your kayak.
When you get them up next to the kayak, the wrestling begins as you’re trying to hold onto the fish (who are usually still battling to get away) and trying to iki it at the same time. Once it’s done, I ensure I bleed it straight away (by cutting along the underside of its throat from gill to gill).
Chasing gummys is great fun, especially in the kayak. You need to spend time on the water perfecting your technique with this species, but the reward is worth it.