Off to warmer climes
  |  First Published: July 2004

IT’S THAT time of year again when I pack my bags and head north for a couple of months chasing game, fish and warmer weather.

This season I am going to be incommunicado for most of the time away so for the next couple of months I am going to hand over this column to my good chum Gordon Low. I’m sure he can give you some great scoops and tantalising fishing tidbits that will help you no end.

In the northern high country it is just getting too cold to do much fishing so this month I am mainly going to give you some tackle hints in preparation for next season that have helped me a lot in recent times. If you are a tackle junkie then it might be old news to you but hopefully some will get value out of it.

Around here the dry seems upon us yet again, as it is for much of the State now. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that on my return I’ll be greeted by rain clouds and clear, flowing rivers. I heard some scientist on radio the other day proclaim that the weather pattern we are presently facing is part of some 40-year ‘super drought’. I nearly fell off the couch!

I don’t think I can last that long and I hope the cod and bass will to be able to…


I guess the modern clear fly lines were originally designed for fly-fishing on saltwater sand flats and that is certainly where I started using them, and with great success.

Since that time I have been finding so many new and interesting ways to employ them in freshwater as well. At first I gave it a go on trout streams and I found the ‘clear intermediates’ perfect to sink streamer patterns down into deep holes. And they are not so heavy as to drag down too quickly into the debris on the bottom.

Lately I have also been using them for most sub-surface presentations in rivers and streams and all of my fly rods are matched with an equivalent clear line. They take a bit of getting used to casting as they are a bit hard to see in the air but this also means that they spook a lot fewer fish underwater.

These clear lines are produced by most of the leading fly line names.


You must have been living in a cave if you haven’t found out just how many more hook-ups you get bait-fishing with chemically-sharpened hooks. If I have offended any cave-dwellers, I apologise!

What about chemically-sharpened treble hooks, though? Jeez, how many more hook-ups do you want? You will see cod, bass and other predatory types come up to the surface with these hooks plastered across the top of their scones.

Now they probably wouldn’t have been captured if you were using normal hooks, even when you think they are really sharp. When I first started selling them in a tackle shop back in the Dreamtime, the only ones we could get where about $1.50 each and you should have seen some customers’ eyes pop when we suggested them.

Now they are a fair bit cheaper and great hooks are cheap investment, especially if you can catch that many more fish.

One thing about ‘super-sharp’ hooks, though, is that if you try to carry lots of lures in a bag they can become a real pain in the bum, so to speak.

Years ago Fishing Monthly Group Managing Editor Steve Morgan looked at one of my monumental lure ‘messes’ and suggested I take all of the hooks off them and just put nice new shiny trebles on when you want to use them and then take them off again when you quit or want to change lures.

It really is easy and takes just a an extra minute or two every lure change and this way you can get easy access to a whole bunch of lures in your pocket, backpack or tackle box without them getting in a mess.

You have to carry only a few hooks with you as spares and then you can chuck them out when they get dull so you will not use very many and your lures will never have dull, rusty hooks.


Since the introduction of the super-lines this debate has raged on and I suspect it will go on indefinitely. What I can’t believe is that so many anglers still use mono for casting lures and, for the life of me, I can’t work out why.

Basically, everything about quality braid is better, from casting performance to the hook-set to simply having bloody heaps more fun catching fish. With the correct accompanying tackle and technique there is no reason why you should pull hooks from fish using the low-stretch line or suffer from undue bust-offs due to abrasion. And these are the only two reasons why you would use mono for freshwater lure-casting.

Talking about true braids in particular, I heard the other day that the makers of Bionic Braid are bringing out a new product. The line is a honey-coloured braid available in smaller breaking strains. It sounds like it is going to be just the duck’s guts for bass, cod and even bream, especially for anglers looking for a less vivid colour. Or maybe you just didn’t like suiting up with pink armour?


Modern fluorocarbon leaders are great stuff around tough cover and tough teeth. Although fluorocarbon tends to be very stiff-feeling, I have found a multitude of fly- and lure-casting situations where it is perfect.

Fluorocarbon has a tough outer shell which makes it extremely abrasion-resistant and it is perfect for teaming up with quality braided lines for lure-casting success. At the moment I am using Siglon fluorocarbon with great results but there are certainly other similar products on the market.

Justin Lerner travelled all the way from New Jersey, in the US, to catch his first Murray cod. Justin captured this nice one and 10 of its kin in the last bit of warm weather in the New England high country.

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