LUDERICK have made a solid showing at Jumpinpin. While this winter has been a cold one it has certainly suited these weed-eating fish.
The luderick come in through the ‘Pin bar in huge spawning schools and when they are on, they are on! Just about any bit of drop-off bank within sight of the bar will have fish schooled up along the edge. They are very partial to a bit of tasty weed or cabbage suspended under a float at just the correct depth to keep it off the bottom and then allowed to drift gently along in the current.
Few estuary fish require such carefully set up tackle as luderick do, but they’re not hard to catch if you go to the trouble of getting things right.
First, secure a good supply of green weed or cabbage (lactuca). This stuff grows around the mangroves at Wynnum north during the colder months. Often there is plenty around Clontarf and other peninsula areas as well.
The rod for taking these fish at Jumpinpin should be at least 3m long. And it should be whippy, maybe even softer than a bream rod, as luderick have very soft mouths which tear free of hooks if the rod is too stiff.
The reel should allow line to peel off freely. The old Avon-style centre-pin reel is the bees knees for luderick, but many anglers get by with a quality spin reel. This should be set up with just the right amount of drag to allow a fish to run a little, but not enough to allow it to head for the nearest snag when hooked. (Which they do, of course.)
Adequate line for luderick in deep water such as that at the ‘Pin is around 4kg breaking strain but most anglers, including myself, now use 6lb braid. This is simply because it floats well, is finer than mono and, when the time comes to strike, the braid tightens up far more quickly than mono. A short 3kg mono trace, around 1.5m, joined to the braid will take a selection of splitshot weights plus the size 8 needle sneck hook quite well.
The ideal float is one that will keep a rig suspended easily yet still be readily pulled under by a fish when it mouths the bait. Skinny pencil-style floats are out – they’re not buoyant enough to suspend a baited rig in the sort of current we have at Jumpinpin. It’s far better to buy specially made luderick floats from one of the better tackle stores. It’s good to have a selection on hand, so if you snag the first rig and lose the float you can set up another one fairly quickly.
A hint on floats – those with plastic runners become worn by braid. Look for a float with metal runners or change the runners yourself by using a bit of a brass safety pin.
To keep the float at just the right depth, simply put a small sliding stopper on the braid main line (a bit of heavier braid knotted onto it works fine) and thread a bead onto the braid above the float. When the bead contacts the stopper the float cannot go higher up the braid main line, so a bit of the main line plus the mono trace will hang below the float. The actual depth is determined by the positioning of the stopper. Around 3m depth is a good starting point for the ‘Pin fishery.
The ‘Pin luderick seem to bite best on the last couple of hours of ebb tide and the first couple of hours of flood. Once the water is clear they become very cagey, with plenty seen but none biting.
These fish respond well to a berley of chopped green weed or cabbage mixed with sand. With the boat against or adjacent to a good, steep drop-off bank, feed the berley over for a while before you start fishing.
The baited rig involves wrapping a few strands of weed around the eye of the size 8 hook and down over the shank, or folding a bit of cabbage up small and then slipping the hook through it. Feed the rig gently over the side and allow it to drift away in the current. If the rig is set up right, only the stem of the float will show above the water.
The rig must drift at current speed. If you slow it down the bait will rise up to a level where the fish won’t be interested. Ideally, the bait should be within a metre or less of the bottom and when a fish takes an interest the float will draw down and stay down. After around a second’s delay, lift the rod smartly to set the hook.
These fish fight determinedly but can be worn down if handled gently but firmly. A long-handled landing net is necessary to finish the job. If you try to lift the luderick there’s a good chance the hook will tear free.
The last job is to put the fish in a keeper net until end of fishing, when the entire catch is bled and iced down after removing the weedy gut. If you follow this procedure you’ll find them to be fine eating fish.
1) The ideal sized float is shown in this shot of a ‘Pin luderick.
2) A drop-off bank like this one is ideal for ‘Pin luderick fishing.
3) Fat luderick like this one are a feature of the Jumpinpin fishery for the next couple of months.Reads: 6531