Call it bad time management or whatever, but life today seems really busy.
Juggling between spending time with my wife and four children and running a charter business means that what little spare time I end up with is extremely precious. I know I'm not alone with this – people I fish with tell me how difficult it is to make time to go fishing. No wonder automatic car washes and lawn-mowing companies are flourishing.
Five years ago I would wash both family cars each weekend without fail – today my wife takes them to the carwash. I'd prefer to pay money just to free up more time for myself. I still resent the idea of paying someone to mow my lawn but because my wife refuses to do it, it is still something I take on.
So what the hell has this got to do with fishing? The message is to maximise your fishing time. Get the very most out of each fishing trip. If there is a fish in the area to be caught, make sure you have a suitable line in the water to tempt it. Depending on how many people are on board, I'll have anything up to a dozen lines in the water when anchored in the estuary or bay.
Sounds excessive? I don't think so. On the outriggers I'll have a couple of big baits for big jewies, staggered back in the current on heavy gear. I'll have a medium live bait under the boat and another fed downstream with minimal weight. A couple of butterflied or strip baits also find their way astern on medium tackle. Two or three bream lines (with different baits) are then cast clear of the boat, while a bait jig with heavy sinker helps keep the live bait tank full. A paternoster squid jig keeps the bait jig company under the boat.
It sounds a lot, but I just can't relax on my boat unless I feel I have every base covered. There is comfort knowing that whatever type or size fish swims past the boat, there is a bait of some sort to tempt it. Sure, if you’re fishing one-up in a tinnie, this many lines would not be feasible but by varying the sinker sizes and using outriggers, you will be surprised how many lines you can run without tangles. Remember that Fisheries regulations stipulates that no more than four rods or lines can be used by any one person at any one time.
Same applies offshore. On the Central Coast, the possible range of species that you could encounter is vast. I like to try for the lot. The first two cowanyoung, pike, slimeys or whatever that come aboard are sent straight out as live baits on the outriggers. Both are suspended under balloons or lumps of foam with one set at 10 metres under the surface and the other two metres off the bottom. Both are rigged with big hooks and heavy mono traces, with the surface line targeting marlin and yellowfin (back in the 1970s and 80s, big yellowfin were regular catches from 50 fathoms out).
In mid-water I'll hang a medium livie or squid for a kingfish and a similar rig on the bottom for jewfish and kings. Finally, a couple or more floaters for reds are fed astern. If the fishing is real slow, a whole mullet, bonito or striped tuna on a wire trace is fed two-thirds of the way to the bottom for a shark (or if it's mako time, left on the surface).
Maximising your fishing can be hard work sometimes but the effort invariably pays off over time.Reads: 298