BEACH fishing is one of the few variations of our sport that has escaped the modern push to use new products and techniques that change the way that we fish.
While rigging up for beach fishing hasn’t changed much over the years, as in all fishing rigs, it pays to have everything in place in case that fish of a lifetime comes along. Rigging up is a lot more involved than just tying a few knots. Beach rigs are simple enough but it pays to ensure that you have not compromised on any part of the tackle.
Hooks need to be as sharp as possible, and you must always match the hook’s shape to the bait and not to the fish that you’re targeting. Long-shank hooks are ideal for threading a pipi but a short-shank with a nice wide hook sits in a crab bait a lot neater than a long-shank does.
Hook sizes are defiantly species specific. One of the biggest errors that jewfish anglers make is to use a ganged set of 4/0 hooks. Jewies are hard enough to hook and bites are too few and far between to miss any, so it’s better to use a 9/0 single hook in a big bait and watch the hookup rate rocket.
The correct swivel size is one that is made of a brass that is just a little thicker than the fishing line that you are using. As a general rule, the smaller the swivel, the more efficient it is but if the line is thicker than the swivel, the line will wear at the knot.
Beach fishing is not about casting into the horizon with as much lead as possible and anchoring the bait to the seabed. You won’t feel the bites and will be fish are easily spooked when you have a pilchard that’s sitting stationary in around four knots of sweep. While the bait lies stationary and the water rushes by, the pilly spins like some sort of piscatorial poltergeist.
If the sweep is running and you still want to fish the beach, you’ll just have to resign yourself to making a lot of casts, as the bait is constantly ripped up the sand. I have had plenty of beach fishing sessions where I have had to cast every couple of minutes but managed some great fish.
The amount of lead that you put into the rig should be determined by how far out the fish are and how far you have to cast. Keep in mind that, depending on the breaking strain of the line and the class of the rod, you’ll get to a stage when there’s no point in adding any more lead. The tackle will not be able to cast it, and going beyond that point will actually decrease the casting distance.
Leader material is another factor that needs to be considered. If you’re fishing with a light, low-visibility main line for whiting or bream there is no need for a specialized leader material. I actually prefer to use this type of line on my outfits so I can keep the leader and mainline the same. If you’re fishing with a fluoro or brightly coloured line that’s highly visible, a light, clear leader or a fluorocarbon leader will result in more fish.
Flathead and big fish like mulloway will need a leader that’s highly abrasion resistant, such as a Penn 10X in the clear leader pack. Wire is a must if you’re chasing sharks, but when fishing for tailor I use ganged hooks attached to a snap swivel that gives me a little extra protection from the fishes’ teeth. No wire will mean more fish but it could also see you lose some big ones. The choice is yours.
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