Rippin’ reds
  |  First Published: August 2004

IT’S THE TIME of year when most local anglers hang up the gear until the Spring weather rolls around.

It may be a little cold but it’s not that grim as far as catching a feed of fish goes. While the cod are going about their business of propagation, it’s time to target different species and head for new destinations.

They may be introduced fish but it’s hard to deny that the humble redfin is one of the best freshwater table fish around. Not only do they taste great, they put up a fair scrap on light gear.

While we don’t have many lakes or large dams locally, those we do have really fire at this time of year.

Angling techniques for this species are a dime a dozen but if you want cost-effective simplicity that is a sure-fire method, just grab a light spin stick and a handful of soft plastics.

It’s that simple: Redfin seem to have a death wish when it comes to these things. They just love ’em and will continue to strike them until they are hooked.

I’m not going to mention any brands of plastics because they all seem to work but the reddies do seem to have a liking for the smaller ones, from 2cm to 5cm.

While we are on the subject of reds and soft plastics, a recent trip to Whyalla in South Australia was a real revelation of the effectiveness of soft plastic things on all manner of fish, including 10kg-plus snapper.

If big reds are your passion, Whyalla is definitely the Mecca for these fish and while the locals may seem a little blasé about 10kg snapper, my first one had me jumping out of my skin.

It was taken on a 15cm paddle tail Tsunami. You may have noticed the brand has been mentioned this time – that’s because they’re nothing short of brilliant.

Before we go any further I have to get this off my chest. If there is one thing about soft plastics that I find hard to stomach, it’s the wanky terminology used to describe different retrieval methods. So as not to break ranks or offend those who enjoy these strange names, I will share with you the method we used to score a number of reds up to 12kg. Its called the drop, flip, shit! technique.

It went a little like this: Dropped over the side, the 15cm Tsunami paddle tail made its lifelike descent out of view, the steady rhythm of line leaving the spool taking my undivided attention. Not half-way to the bottom, the line coming of the spool takes on a new tempo that can only be described as a blur.

With a flip of the bail arm, the rod instantly loads under the weight of a snapper hell-bent on removing my arms from their sockets. That split second between nothing to full-on ballistic is enough to pull obscenities from even the Pope himself.

To cut a long story short, a few minutes later I was holding a dream fish taken on a soft plastic. Over the next six days this scenario was repeated many times for our crew– Whyalla is nothing short of a snapper fisho’s heaven.

While in Whyalla we stayed at the Westland Hotel Motel and fished with K&R Fishing Charters, operated by Rob North. Their hospitality, service and local knowledge were invaluable. It was one of the best sessions of fishing I have ever had and one that every angler deserves at least once in their life.

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