Just because it’s Winter doesn’t mean you need to stop fishing and once I get some tedious home chores out of the way, I’ll be spending some time chasing reds and jew on soft plastics.
This is something I’ve been wanting to do for the past few Winters so this year I’m going to make an effort and have a serious go. The chosen venues will be reds in Jervis Bay and jew in the Shoalhaven River.
Winter is snapper time in Jervis Bay and over the past six months some great fish have been taken on plastics so I can only assume that the next few months will also be good. There are several locations in the Bay that produce reds on bait and plastics so find some rocks and baitfish and get cracking with soft plastics.
I’ll be fishing lures around 8cm to 12 cm with head weights to suit the depth. I’m fishing a Loomis GLX BSR852 at the moment and have this teamed up with a Shimano 4000 Sustain and 10lb Fireline and 10kg fluorocarbon leaders. Let the lure sink slowly almost to the bottom and work it back very slowly with gentle rod lifts. If there’s a reddie around he won’t be able to help himself.
Last Winter the guys from McCallum’s Sports had some great fun chasing early morning jew in the Shoalhaven and even made a DVD, which was quite a professional effort. Those early starts are not easy but when you’ve got the chance to tangle with jewies up to 20kg-plus on light gear you forget about the cold fast. Some of their DVD footage had me on the edge of my seat as they got a big fish next to the boat.
There was also quite a bit of light-hearted niggling as the odd fish was lost and some of Wes Murphy’s antics had me in stitches. Despite the jokes and stirring there was some excellent fishing with Gavin McCallum getting a 20-odd-kilo fish and even one session when two solid fish were caught.
If you’re keen to get out and have a go with plastics this Winter and you’re not quite sure what gear to use, drop in a have a chat with Gavin or John at McCallums Sports in Nowra. They do a lot of soft-plastics work and will be sure to point you in the right direction.
We spent quite a bit of time earlier this year chasing marlin with live baits and lures, giving us the opportunity to experiment with various types of doubles and leader systems. I’ve been fishing wind-on leaders for a few years now on everything from game outfits to jig sticks and even casting rods because they are very well-suited to my style of lure and game fishing.
On jig and heavy casting sticks I use braid or gelspun main lines and then tie a short double using a bimini twist which is looped onto a wind-on leader. For jigging and casting outfits I usually fish a two-metre wind-on of 30kg to 50kg mono with a snap on the end, allowing me to clip any jig or diving minnow on in a flash. I can quickly change the size and length of leader using this system, which offers exceptional versatility.
A similar advantage exists when we are game fishing. Wind-ons allow a convenient and uncomplicated method of fishing live bait leaders or changing to lures and they can all be stored in a large leader wallet. We carry various lengths and line sizes from 150lb to 300lb in IGFA-legal lengths.
I particularly like wind-ons for fishing live slimies because we can fish a six-metre leader of 200lb or 300lb Momoi leader directly to a hook, which means no obtrusive snaps or swivels, just a loop-to-loop join where the double joins the wind-on then a hook on the end of the wind-on leader.
This system works great in small boats with a limited crew because the fish can be wound right to the rod tip if you don’t have someone to trace it. If you do have enough crew to trace the fish then the leader can be wound onto the reel to keep it off the floor and prevent it tangling feet.
Until a few months ago I thought my wind-ons were of a reasonable standard and they did the job. That was until I checked out some Goodger Wind-Ons made in Wollongong by Mark and Carol Goodger. I understand Carol builds these leaders, which are of exceptional quality and design.
They make everything from barra and light lure-casting wind-ons right up to 400lb and even wire wind-ons for heavy game fishing. Most come complete with a sleeve or some terminals so they are a well thought-out product and a complete package.
Mark works in Ern Webb’s Sports Store in Wollongong and offered me some advice on making up my own wind-ons so now mine are starting to look a bit more professional. I’m still fiddling around with making my own because I use so many different types but the average fisho is often better off just buying a few ready made wind-ons. Check out Goodger Wind-Ons in your local tackle shop.Reads: 650