WIND, weed and wild weather - overcoming Nature's elements is a real test of an angler's skill.
Forget the sunny days with a gentle breeze and calm surf. Anyone can fish in those conditions. But "roughing" it and accepting a challenge is what makes fishing most satisfying.
Catching fish when the wind blows across your line is tough enough. But it takes a hearty soul to keep fishing when fragments of weed are sticking to your line and it's raining as well. I love it.
On a recent trip to northern NSW, I had the beach to myself fishing in such tricky conditions. But I still caught an impressive feed of bream. The secret is to be patient.
The first step, though, is to make sure you are comfortable. Wear a waterproof raincoat with a hood that keeps your head dry. Wearing diving or similar boots to give your feet protection is also helpful.
Once you are cosy and ready to face the wind and rain, it's time to cast out and brave what nature throws at you.
Keep your line as tight as you can and try to angle your rod into the wind to reduce big loops forming.
This is where a big sinker and strong-smelling bait work wonders. A large ball sinker will help counter the wind twisting your line too much.
Baits such as mullet, mullet gut and prawns fit well on your hook and stay there even in the wind and rain.
Using softer bait like yabbies can be a waste of time if you can't feel your line properly in adverse conditions.
Even if weed is causing problems, a smelly bait will still attract a fish and give you time to hook it.
Try to clean your line and rod tip after every cast and persist if you are in a good gutter or close to a submerged sandspit holding fish.
The final tip is to move your bait a bit with a few turns of the reel. It's no good having your bait sit on the bottom if the fish aren't biting.
Use the wind and rain to advantage. Lift your bait regularly and keep tension on your line. Now all you have to do is hook your target and land it.
With no-one else vying for your spot, it's a fulfilling way to fish. The rewards can be surprising.