Take steps to increase your catch
  |  First Published: February 2005

There are not as many anglers out there as there were over the holiday season, but the fishing should be even better.

You don’t have to be on holidays to fish, nor wait just for the weekend. It doesn’t take much to get yourself organised a few days beforehand so you can squeeze in a few hours’ fishing before or after work, or even on the way to or from work. Is your fishing gear ready, do you have bait in the freezer; is there a bait shop nearby?

I have found that if you want to become successful at catching a particular species you will need to fish for them specifically and have everything prepared. Here are the eight steps that I follow to try to make my outings successful.

• Know your target. If you have never caught a particular species before, it is advisable to put hours researching and studying your quarry. Know where it lives, physical features, how and what it is likely to eat and what type of conditions turn it on or off.

For example, if you are going to target dusky flathead you must realise that they live and feed on the bottom and you will need to get your baits or lures as close to the bottom as possible to get their interest.

• Choose the terrain. Are you going to fish off the beach or the rocks, out of a boat or off the shore? Each has its own characteristics and each location is special. Some beaches in the southern Sydney area have deep gutters and shallow sand flats adjacent to the rocks, while some are very steep and drop off into deep water. Some beaches may have a section that consistently has great gutters.

• Keep records. They say that 90% of the fish are caught by 10% of the anglers and it is likely those anglers keep some kind of record of their catches. Whether it is just an album full of photos with a few notes written on when and where the fish were caught, or a detailed diary of the dates and times spent chasing preferred fish species, it is usually the angler who collects and studies this valuable information that will keep on catching fish.

• Devise a plan. You must have a strategy, somewhere to start from rather than just going out for a fish and hoping something may jump onto your line. I realise that sometimes the best of plans fails but don’t despair.

Your plan needs to detail what species you are going to target, where you are going to fish, at what part of the time of the day or night, the tide and moon phase.

If all this doesn’t work you will need to have a ‘plan B’ in as well. Just recently I went out to chase yellowtail kingfish around the marker poles in Botany Bay and after I spent an hour skipping soft plastics, I decided to jig up a couple of squid in Yarra Bay. These two live squid that made the difference and I pulled kingfish of 65 and 71cm from a pole that I had peppered for about 20 minutes with soft plastics.

• Choose the correct bait or lure. Some anglers insist the only way to catch big fish is to use live baits. Over the years I have used many different types of baits and artificials to catch many different species.

What I use at one part of the year I may not use during another. For example, I have had very successful trips chasing luderick off the rocks during the Winter using green weed or cabbage but during the Summer I tend to bait up with pink nippers or squirt worms for the luderick.

• Timing. If you don’t get your timing right when fishing, especially for mulloway, you have usually missed the boat. Fishing the right part of the tide is critical to your success.

For example, if you have a beach gutter that can be fished only on a high tide early in the morning, it is pointless arriving there at low tide. It’s the same as if the timing is out in your car: you will get poor performance and bad results.

• Select and maintain correct tackle. The rods, reels, line and accessories you use for all sorts of fish can, and will be, vastly different from each other. Keep it all separate and in prime condition, and maintained regularly, to give you the high performance you need.

• Be Patient. You need to be patient when chasing any fish. For example, if you strike too soon when you see your float bob down when fishing for luderick, you most probably will miss the fish. If you are fishing for bream and they are biting very shyly, you may not have to strike at all and simply let the fish take the bait and swim off.

On the other hand, sometimes if you don’t strike soon enough when chasing mulloway you could also miss that fish of a lifetime.

If you’d like to learn more about fishing Sydney waterways, call me on 0422 994 207 or email me.


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