TOADS. In Queensland they have the cane toads, in New South Wales it's the green toad.
One lives on the land, the other in the water. Both appear to be equally useless.
Deep-sea anglers hate green toads with a passion. With their chisel-like teeth, these toads are capable not only of biting off hooks, but biting right through them. In numbers they will attack sinkers, swivels and even the line itself.
The nastiest habit of all is biting through the line just below the surface, which means not only the loss of hooks and sinker but maybe 80 to 100 metres of line as well.
If you are lucky enough to pull an edible fish from under their schools, chances are it will have pieces missing, courtesy of the toads.
They seem to arrive in masses in early Winter and their numbers don't seem to be dwindling, in fact I've noticed a definite increase in their numbers in our river mouths and estuaries. Scary stuff.
The green toad commonly exceeds 3kg and, like their smaller counter parts, are extremely toxic.
On Calmwater Fishing Charters we've been catching a stack of good jewies lately. Only last week, four consecutive outings read: Six jewfish to 17kg, two jewies to 8kg, four fish to 20kg, two fish 20.5kg. This does not include numerous flathead to 3kg, bream, tailor and salmon.
The 20kg fish were an interesting pair, as one had a remora stuck to its side as well as a 600g leatherjacket in its stomach. The 20.5kg fish had a stomach contents that included a couple of 35cm Port Jackson sharks!
It just goes to show that any bait is fair game, really, as long as it's fresh and alive.
To me, variety is the name of the game when setting out baits. Even though I might have six or even 10 lines in the water on a charter, rarely would I have more than two of any given bait out at one time.
Fish are no different from humans, I believe. I know that one day nothing can beat a good steak, the next day it might be chicken or even mud cake!
I have found many times that the majority of bites seem to come on one bait that at other times has proven quite unsuccessful. I don't believe that fish have to work particularly hard to feed themselves and if I don't have what they fancy on that particular day, there is every chance they would ignore the other offerings that I have out at the time.
Lately, I have been spending time out in my garage lifting weights in preparation for the oncoming big kingfish action. By the time you read this they should have arrived and if the thought of working up a sweat on a cold Winter day battling a king that can wolf down a 1kg bait, book an outing with me.
These fish seem to range from 4kg upwards, with the biggest fish encountered last Winter being well over 20kg. One particular brute took a bait in plain view no more than five metres from the boat and then completely demolished us on 40kg braid. I think he's probably still on his first run. You could have chucked a saddle on him he was that damn big.
George and Ray Haber at it again. The jewies aren't safe when these two are around.