Of all the different aspects of our sport, I love witnessing the evolution of exciting new fishing techniques.
Over the past month I've been using a lot of soft plastic lures (Squidgies) and the results have been staggering. Jewfish to 18kg, flathead to 5.5kg, stacks of bream, kingfish, amberjack and even cobia. Amazing stuff.
The aim of this report is not just to give these lures a plug, but credit where credit is due. Not that soft plastics are that ‘new’ – I remember using the original Mr Twister in the late 1970s, when they made a huge impact on how we fished for flathead. Around the same era it was common practice around my way to slide a large red Mr Twister single tail over the 9/0 hook behind the 80g red-and-white feather jig we used for jewfish from the rocks.
What I find brilliant today is the diversity of the soft lures available to anglers and how simply they can be fished. Of the fish caught on my boat over the past month on Squidgies, at least half have bitten while the rod was sitting in the rod holder with the boat at anchor. Sure, it is better to work the lure constantly but they can be fished by merely hanging them in the current and letting the natural motion of the boat do all the work, at anchor or drifting.
So now on my boat, a common set-up at anchor is it have two or three Squidgies on various weights of jig heads staggered various distances behind the boat and even directly below. These rods are left in gear in the holders. I'll then set a few live and dead baits as well.
Periodically while passing a Squidgie rod, I'll give it a jerk –it’s quite surprising how fish can eyeball a bait without making a decision. Then a short, sharp movement of the lure can change the fish from being a looker to a feeder.
Some mates who drift for flathead along the 50-metre mark have also reported success with these lures – and also on snapper with this technique.
Fishing on the Central Coast this month is often excellent with good fish coming in right along our coastline. In our lagoons and estuaries there is a stack of flathead around. Best methods of capture are long strip baits, live baits (don't be afraid to use large ones) and soft plastics. Find an area where the sand meets the weed beds. Drifting allows you to cover more area.
Bream (with some beauties among them) can be found around most oyster leases and rocky shores. Fresh flesh baits and lures are the best way to separate these blokes from the water .
It's been quite a good year on the Central Coast for jewfish even though the average size has been down a little on previous years. Good fish have come from the beaches and the headlands on strips and live bait. Try a dark night around a rising tide with prime time just before dark up until two hours after dark. All-night vigils are unnecessary.
The offshore bottom fishing has been a bit quiet with snapper catches down on previous years but that could well change. The kingfish are well and truly on course with the majority of fish over 60cm and often a fair bit over. Quite a few black and striped marlin have come in with a surprising number of fish coming from only 50 metres of water. To view some of the fish I've been catching lately, check out www.calmwaterfishingcharters.com
Mike Leyhan with a nice 18kg Squidgie-eating jewfish.
Dave and Jodie Butfield with three of a catch of five Broken Bay jewfish while fishing with Greg from Calmwater Fishing Charters.
Simon with a pair of nice Calmwater jewfish.Reads: 2379