Continuing on from my last article (QFMJanuary 2009), there are more areas of structure to explore. If you missed my last story, I’m showing how to catch fish at different structures using hardbody and soft plastic lures.
A picture can paint a thousand words; therefore in the following I have picked out three photos of areas with structure that are so familiar that something similar will be near your regular fishing hole. Of course they won’t be exactly the same as your area, but if it’s similar to a spot near you then the principals of fishing the snag or bank will be the same.
Catamarans, either in canals, marinas or on a single mooring in a river are the cream of the crop when it comes to fishing boat hulls. Big wide twin hulls with shade underneath are always my first choice to target bream.
Plastics are perfect in these tight areas, but hardbodies don’t work as well. This is because the hardbody can’t get down deep enough before it’s back at the rod tip.
I approach the cat facing into the tide. Position the boat and cast your offering as far up under the cat and into the tide as possible. Let the lure sink down to the bottom, then work it back slowly through the shadows. I use a slow lift of about 30-50cm, and two very small twitches of the rod tip, and then I let the lure sink back to the bottom again.
Most of the cats are owned by people with lots of money, so the hulls are normally kept very clean and without growth. Therefore, the bream won’t be high in the water collum, but down in the deep.
Trevally and jacks lurk in these depths as well and make for some memorable tussles on light bream gear. My best jack from a cat hull was 50cm on 4lb braid and 6lb leader. I was looking for bream with a 2g jighead and 70mm Squidgy Flick Bait, flash prawn colour.
If I’m fishing a cat that’s out in the main river system, then I prefer to have some run in the water. Up in the canals, current isn’t important as there’s hardly any water movement, just a slow flooding and ebbing.
Once your lure is worked through the shadows and comes out into the sunlight without a hit, retrieve and re-cast a couple more times under the same boat. Often on the second or third cast will get the hit.
Many times you will have to cast your lures under mooring lines, so the ability to cast accurately and to perfect skip casts is all important. If you hook your lure up on a mooring line or on someone’s boat, please retrieve it! There are already too many boat and pontoon owners out there that don’t like lure anglers around their property.
If I was told that I could only fish one spot for the rest of my days, then this would have to be it. If you can find an area like this then you have fishing gold. A couple of hectares of what appears to be uninteresting water at high tide, is in reality hiding rock bars, oyster rubble interspersed with sand and weed patches, boulders, decayed pylons and small islands. All flushed by a good daily tidal flow.
At low water, the rock bars and islands are exposed but the surrounding area is submerged by up to 1.5m of water in certain places. Fish of all makes, models and sizes cruise and live in this magic arena.
As it is such an open and exposed patch of water, the wind can have a big influence on how you fish it. For instance, when the breeze starts to blow up mid morning or on the tide change, it allows me to work with small hardbody lures that don’t cast long distances without being wind assisted.
An area like this lends itself to both hard and soft lures. With so much bottom structure the fish can be spread over a wide area and the more water you cover with your lures the better your chances of a hit.
Early morning on a rising tide with the rock bar still exposed is a hot bite time. Bait from the surrounding area congregate around these rock barriers to shelter from the current and predators. On the lee (opposite) side to where the tide hits the rocks, you will find an eddy causing slack or a slowing of the flow. This is where the bait hold up, so it’s a prime location to begin fishing.
I hang back a good distance and cast a lightly weighted 1-2g plastic into the eddy. In the still and quiet water I’m also alert to any bait movement on the surface. I carry a rod rigged with a surface popper in my boat at all times, as scurrying bait is your invitation to cast a popper into the skittish bait schools and work it back from the rock bar.
While the wind is light I like to drift with the tide and work my soft plastics, fanning my casts out to cover the largest amount of water I can. The opportunities for catching multiple species in areas like this are endless.
I have a side imaging sounder that allows me to see structure, boulders, rocks, rubble, anything really, off to the sides of my boat. Upon spying such a piece of bottom in a seemingly empty expanse of water, I can target underwater structure with accuracy.
As the wind and tide picks up I throw a small wire pick over the bow and let it hook up on whatever it can. Once stationary, or when the boat is drifting very slowly, I’ll work a plastic for a few minutes then switch to hardbody crankbait lures. Small lightweight lures such as the Ecogear SX40, Tweeny Wee Crawdads either in shallow or deep diving, Strike Pro Pygmies and Manns 5+.
Using the wind, I lob cast the lure with the breeze to get major distance. The longer the cast the more water you cover. Any fish out for a stroll and seeing your slowly swimming lure cruising by will get hit for sure.
If you don’t get a hit after five or six casts in different directions, lift the pick and drift 10-20m and drop the pick again and begin fanning out more casts over the fresh ground. I can do this type of fishing all day long and the beauty is you never know for sure what your next fish will be.
Using the pick also saves on battery power for the electric.
Always be on the lookout for an area like this, they’re fish magnets and a small piece of fishing heaven on earth
As the tide covers the island, cast your lures to the base of the tree and out under the overhanging branches. This type of country is what you are looking for if you are into surface fishing. Poppers and walk-the-dog style lures cast right up into the shallowest of water can result in some spectacular surface hits.
This particular island is surrounded by weed beds on one side, a yabby bank on another side, with oyster rubble and shellfish littered all about – it really is a fish magnet.
The deepwater bordering the island at low tide is where and when to work the plastics, as the fish are holding in this area waiting for the tide to rise.
I have taken flathead, whiting and bream on this island in barely 100mm of water at times. Long casts and no noise is the best policy.Reads: 900