Clear water, big fish
  |  First Published: July 2013

Winter has arrived, and we have made it through the change of seasons. Transition from summer species to winter species can sometimes be quite tough in the bay. This year there were still some good fish caught throughout.

In the last month the water temperature has certainly begun to drop and with the cool temps has come the clear water. This tends to scare anglers off a little from fishing the shallows, but all you need to do is alter the times that you fish for them.

Fish will always go up in to the shallows if there is bait, the trick is knowing when they will be up there. In my experience when the water is really clear and the bait is up in the shallows, the fish will still be up there terrorising them in the low light hours. This means that it is important to be out there before sunrise or an hour or so before sunset.

When it comes to the gear used for fishing clear water, fish as light as possible; without being ridiculous as you still want to land the fish if you hook a monster in the shallows. I have three outfits that I carry when targeting the bay islands: a 12lb, 16lb and 20lb outfit. In my experience the breaking strain of the braid is not the issue, as all the braids are getting thinner and thinner, it comes down to the breaking strain/diameter as well as the length of your leader. I always try and keep the length of my leaders between 6-8ft.

When it comes to the breaking strain of my leaders 10lb is ideal for clear water. I don't like going any lighter than that around the structure that I am generally fishing. If you are just fishing rubble grounds then you are able to go lighter if you wish.

May was a little quite in my usual haunts and I put that down to a lack of bait in the area. I had heard from a mate that there was plenty of bait down his way so I decided to put in a bit of time targeting some new areas that I don't fish a lot.

When fishing new areas it can be beneficial to spend some time trolling some lures. This not only allows you to fish but it also allows you to sound around the area looking for fish and structure. The trick to trolling is knowing what depth you are fishing and what depth your lures will dive to. When targeting reef fish on the troll you want your lures to be either bumping the bottom or as close to the bottom as possible. If you are fishing mussel beds and rubble bottom then having your lure bumping the bottom is the way to go. This stirs up the bottom every time the lure hits and can make the fish curious and come over and have a look.

There are a few things that you can do to get a little more depth out of your lures.

The first thing you can do is run your lures on lighter braid. This creates less drag on your line as it is thinner and allows your lures to get a little deeper.

The second thing, is to run single hooks on your lures as this will also help with solid hook-ups.

Thirdly, set your rods parallel to the water either by holding them or get some rod holders that allow you to set the angle you want them at.

As mentioned earlier the most important thing about using hardbodied lures, whether casting or trolling, is what depth your lure dives to and what depth you are fishing. Keep in mind that lures will generally dive a little deeper when trolled.

I hope the weather and the fish treat you well over the next month.

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