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Get on your bike
  |  First Published: May 2008



It’s been a while since I put pen to paper. The last time I wrote articles it was in the heyday of hardbody bream hunting and I thought that was as good as you could get – and it was for me. Now the soft plastic revolution and the finesse approach have made the Mr. Twister of thirty years ago seem like the days without mobile phones and computers.

Plastics are just so versatile: the hardbodies are smaller, lighter and can be used in many more situations than previously, and soft plastics have opened whole new realms of techniques and opportunities. Both of these lure types have re-awakened my enthusiasm, driving me back to old haunts that were at best hard to fish, sometimes even impossible.

Years ago you’d toss a hardbody from the bank at a pylon, tree or likely snag and if you didn’t get way past the thing you’d never get the lure down anywhere near the strike zone before it was retrieved or washed away with the tide. Now we can use a small plastic, and with the correct gear, get to those strike zones that we couldn’t before. Right down into tiger country. I love it.

Some time back my son bought me a bike so I could get around when I didn’t have access to the car and boat. Since then I’ve gone back to many of my old shore-based fishing haunts and found many more new ones. The hunt for new areas to fish is almost as good as the hunt for the fish.

Having a bike is about getting to areas without the need of a car. With the miles of bike ways around nowadays, there’s some great fishing to be had, once of course you work out how to carry your fishing gear.

I can carry three rods, a waist mounted tackle shop, thermos, camera and a host of other small items. For me, a tape measure, pencil and paper are essential as I record and measure every fish I catch before releasing. When boating I weigh the fish as well. I like to look back months later and see what I caught where, when and how. Also it’s great to be able to come back to a spot a week or month later and know that I have released a fish here and there’s a good chance of catching it again.

For those of you able to hop on a bike and be at your spot just coming on daylight, especially if it is dead calm, then a small popper can yield some spectacular surface action. Poppers in the 3-5cm range work great for bream. I also like the surface (walk-the-dog) type lures in the same size.

Areas I frequent are dead-end canals, rock walls, bridges, oyster leases or rock/oyster rubble ground, mangrove edges or a good snag that I’ve found and kept secret. At daylight I find that with poppers you have to get the lure within centimetres of the structure as the bream are holding tight up against the rock wall, pylon, tree or whatever you are targeting. Then, as the day brightens, the fish go deeper and start to forage over a wider area. Later as the sun hit’s the water I change to a plastic.

This type of fishing is very rewarding for me as I’m always looking out for new areas to try. The bike gives you more opportunities to stop and check out a likely spot off the beaten track. It also allows you access to many places a car can‘t go; there’s no hassle parking, no ramp rage, fresh air and for those of you using pedal power, exercise.

Bream is my main target when I go fishing, but the areas I fish can yield many other species. It gets the heart pumping when a 30cm golden trevally climbs onto your one kilo braid and heads for the nearest pylon or snag. Mangrove jack, cod, flathead, Moses perch, and grunter are just some of the other species that might take a liking to your lure.

Don’t be afraid to try something different. If you’re not getting any hits and you believe there should be something in the spot, change lure/plastic, try a different weight head, work the lure at a different speed, try a different retrieve action, even come back later in the day and try at a different time of the tide.

I have a spot I fish regularly and I might go two or three days without a touch and then the next time I try it, fish will line up to take what I offer. This is all part of the fun. No day’s ever the same and no spot’s ever the same but that’s what the freedom of the bike gives you.

Safety

I urge everyone that climbs on a bike to please abide by all the road rules. Fishing’s supposed to be a fun and pleasurable experience. It’s no fun being laid up in hospital with broken bones or worse, laid out in a wooden box.

Wear a helmet while riding! If you’re biking for the first time or returning to a bike after a long absence like I did, don’t head straight out into heavy traffic. Start off in a park or in a quiet area in your suburb.

Keep your bike maintained in a good condition. You wouldn’t go fishing with a broken rod and a seized reel would you?

Also remember that motorbikes are not for bike ways – leave them for the pedal power variety. When out on the road I ride my bike knowing that every bugger out there in a car, truck or bus is trying to kill me. It helps me to focus on the road and the traffic around me and hopefully will keep me out of harms way.

All that said, riding a bicycle gives you great freedom and it’s cheap. So hop on your bike and give it a go. – Ivor A. King

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