Asking people if they have caught anything or what they are trying to catch will certainly help establish the piscatorial species that are on offer at that particular spot. A quick peek into their bucket also provides additional evidence for you to determine what’s on offer. Don’t ever be afraid to ask a question. Most fishing folk don’t mind a chat when things are slow on the jetty and you will find that people are more than happy to pass on information and some tips to polite, interested onlookers.
If you have the jetty all to yourself then your eyes will need to do some reconnoitring duties. You will have to look for evidence that confirms fishing opportunities exist. Scan for ink stains on the jetty planks you’ve walked past the weed line in the water. The weed line is where the bare beach sand turns into areas of ribbon weed beyond the turbulent wave zone.
If you find ink stains then it’s fair to say ‘game on’ and calamari is definitely on the menu. The next step is to identify areas where the ink stains are concentrated, where there are multiple stains overlaying other stains. These areas of condensed ink stains represent the prime locations on the jetty to catch squid.
Once you’ve finished your investigative stroll along the jetty you should head to the local fishing tackle shop. Depending on the size of the town this could be a stand-alone tackle shop or just part of a service station. Buy bait in the area so you can gain some extra local knowledge while at the shop purchasing supplies. Remember that people talk and those running the tackle shops will certainly have an idea on what’s biting at that moment and what baits are best. A generic purchase from the local shop should be a bag of frozen whole baitfish such as tommy ruff (Australian herring) and maybe a squid jag or two from the discount bin to add to the collection.