A Guide’s Perspective
  |  First Published: May 2009

Kevin Gleed, aka Captain Kev, runs Wilderness Fishing Charters on the far south coast of NSW and has dedicated a lifetime to guiding novices and enthusiasts on to bigger and better fish and improving their techniques.

Capt. Kev takes a moment to share some of his secrets to success.

What are your rigging techniques?

There is a code that I live by when lure fishing and that is the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid). Unfortunately, it seems to of gone by the wayside for many other anglers who want to turn it into rocket science. But let me assure you that lure fishing is not rocket science, it is more important to be at the right spot at the right time than it is to have some fancy rig.

My introduction to lure fishing was over 20 years ago; this was when A.N.S.A (Australian National Sportsfishing Association) was going strong. Therefore, all my estuary lure fishing was done using 2lb test nylon line with 4lb and 6lb leaders. Needless to say, many lures went astray and many opportunities of catching that once-in-a-lifetime fish were missed. However, I am a now a little older and more experienced: I have learnt a thing or two when it comes to rigging.

Joining braid to leader

The breaking strain of braid tends to be four times their strength, for example 4lb braid will generally withstand up to 16lb force, so you can fish light main lines with some degree of confidence. When using a 6lb or less fluorocarbon leader I tie it straight to the braid as when tying a double. Using over 6lb fluorocarbon I usually tie a short double in the braid as this helps keep the lines to be joined at an even diameter.

The double knot I use is a three-turn spider hitch. The spider hitch is an easy knot to tie and will not let you down in an estuary fishing situation. The joining knot I then use to attach the leader is the Albright knot. I always suggest to clients to tie the knot they are most comfortable with ­ confidence is everything.

The rig I use is quite standard but where I differ from the rest is the length of leader – 8lb and no longer than 18 inches. This is because I hate the knot running through the guides; even the best-tied knot will clunk as it runs out.

Clunking leader knots can affect the accuracy of the cast, and when trying to fish successfully amongst structure it is all about accuracy. If it is windy you can anticipate the wind and cast accordingly but you cannot anticipate the kick as the knot runs through the rod tip to the left or to the right. When using a short leader all knots are past the rod tip when casting.

While many fishing successes have been attributed to the use of light leaders, many losses have also been due to too light a leader. A good angler is better off to start with a heavier leader and drop down in size when needed, rather than lose fish, miss chances and then eventually beef up the leader size. Work out when fish are on the go and fish accordingly, that way lures are not lost and those big fish are caught.

Joining leader to lure

The knot I use when tying jigheads, poppers and hardbody lures to the leader is the locked blood knot. Some authors recommend using a loop knot to gain more action with jigheads. I disagree, as I believe you can get more action with a jighead by fastening the knot on the jighead. For a gliding action have the knot tight at the eye, and for a see-saw action slide the knot away from the shank of the hook but after each fish caught you need to slide the knot back.

Another thing to remember is that the locked blood knot is one of the best knots to use to maintain strength of line; one of the worst is the loop knot. With hardbody lures I tie a lock blood to a split ring, if the lure swims well there is no problem. Just remember a $30 lure tied to a light trace and a loop knot is definitely something you’re not going to own it for too long.

When popper fishing I use a minimum trace of 12lb, that way we have a chance at catching those big flathead. With whiting they generally don’t swim ahead of the lure to see how strong the trace is, they move in from behind and attack the lure.

Bream can be a bit tricky when they are hitting the lure on the pause; this is where a light leader can help. Again the popper is attached straight to the lure not a split ring using a lock blood knot. When the water is really clear the use of long light leaders is definitely an advantage, but remember this style of fishing is for the more experienced angler and even then they can expect to lose a few lures.

How do you fish with a new lure and be confident with it?

I suppose my response is, why use a new lure? I have been fortunate enough to fish for species that have been happily feeding the same way for years. An example of this can be seen on the far south coast where bream feed along the edges of a vast section of rock wall. A 50mm shallow running hardbody cast nearby, would see these fish chasing the lure, often with a bow wave as they took it. They don’t take off into deeper water the second the lure lands; the presentation generated the reaction. This is why popper fishing is so successful.

In the early days we had two facets of lure fishing that were new to the fish: presentation and lure action. Three years ago a novice angler fishing with me could catch more fish on a popper in these estuaries than an experienced fisher could today. We can replace the lure with a lure that has a different bloop or walking action but the presentation has remained the same; the fish have started to show an air of caution. With lure fishing not many aspects are new – what was old will become new again.

However, in saying that we still need to vary things up for the fish, so the key to finding a new lure revolves around trying something different when you actually know how to catch fish. In other words, you don’t really care how many fish you catch, the satisfaction of finding out something new far out weighs catching a boatload of fish.

When looking for a new lure think of all aspects; presentation, action, colour, and so on. Look for that different lure then try and find a use for it. Remember if you are fishing heavily fished water you can fish behind people by using a different technique and get good results, it’s all-new to the fish.

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