Winning by Spinning
  |  First Published: December 2011

This month we will focus on specific target species for land-based anglers, where you might find them, what tackle to use and why. Remember there is more than one way to skin a cat!

With the barra season well and truly closed there are many anglers left scratching their heads on what to tackle next. Most barra anglers tend to sport the humble 6-10kg, 5’6” bait cast rod accompanied by their low profile of choice, which has been fine for many decades.

But there has been a slow and positive turn towards light to medium spin outfits with around 10-20lb braid.

There are a few advantages with this: spin reels generally sport a much smoother and consistent drag pressure, which means you rarely have to adjust the drag once you set it up correctly. This has a lot to do with the spin rod.

Spin rods are generally longer and have a softer feel when loaded up, which means they can absorb a lot more lunges and runs putting less strain on your drag. This also means you have less chance of pulling hooks.

Another big advantage is casting. Having an open spool on a spin reel basically means you can cast just about any size lure or bait, which makes this outfit very versatile and a good all rounder.

An area to really focus on with your new spin outfit this month is Pallarenda. Walking the beach on high tide will yield some monster fish at times with XOS queenfish at the top of the list. Keep an eye out for tailing tarpon as they won’t be too far away and can be quite a handful when they are of size.

Try poppers and stickbaits for a bit of variety but always have a small Koolabung blade at hand.

Another great land-based spot to wet a line is the Lakes near Castletown. Some monster jacks and barra have been caught here over the years.

The bridges in Ross Creek will be well worth a flick during December as schools of greenback herring make their way to both Lowths and Victoria bridges. Here you will encounter big tarpon, trevallies and jacks. Concentrate your efforts around the change of the tide and throw a few soft plastics around the pylons.

Surface lures rarely get a mention these days and with the overcast humid conditions of summer, there’s no better time to tie one on.

Some of my favourites would have to be the Cultiva Zip’N’Ziggy, Koolalung Cicada Fizzer and the ever reliable Rapala Skitter Pop. First light and sunset are by far the best times to experiment with these lures with shallow areas holding bait a great place to start. Work the edges near the bank and over sunken snags, and mix up your retrieve until you finally get some action. But generally slower is better!

If the weather allows take this same outfit out to try soft plastics and metals on your favourite shoals and reefs, or simply chase bait schools for tuna and trevally.

Maggie shoals has been at its best with reports of big nannygai and cobia coming from rubble patches and small wrecks.

The new Squid Vicious by Gulp has been an awesome addition to the family with some memorable fish caught on them. Use the lightest possible jighead when using plastics to maximise presentation and work lures close to the bottom.

Tuna schools have plagued the shoals area of late and should continue to provide hours of fun when casting small metals and plastics at them. They seem to love the afternoon sun and can be found really smashing bait aggressively late in the afternoon.

Spin gear out here works to your advantage as well, with spin reels having a much quicker retrieve than an overhead. Also the way a spin reel hangs naturally on a rod allows you to spend more time fighting the fish than trying to keep the reel upright.

With minimal heavy structure around, the shoals can be fished with just a 20lb outfit, with some crazy folk using 4lb outfits and getting some phenomenal results.

So next time you’re out and about, go spin and go light!

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