Tassie fly fishers and regular "blow-ins" like myself will remember the 2006-7 Tasmanian trout season for the late season dry fly bonanza that took place on the lowland rivers in the northern midlands. The only thing preventing the fish from rising every day was inclement weather and even then a few fish could usually be picked up by visiting notorious insect hatching "hot spots'.
Some of the hatches were immense and the dry fly fishing was outstanding. Every single fish we caught during March and April was stalked, seen or ambushed. On certain days the fish were working themselves into a feeding frenzy likened to the spectacle of bronze whalers rounding up pilchards in the surf. We couldn't even reel in our fly lines without fish slashing and smashing dry flies as they skidded and waked across the surface. The late season fly fishing in northern Tasmania completely eclipsed the early and mid-season's sport.
All this talk about soft plastics. "I would like to try them, but they all say I need a 2-5 kg fast tapered rod, special and expensive 2500 size reels, braided line, fluorocarbon leader material and jig heads in 10 different weights. It sounds all to hard and expensive, and what happens if I don't like it".
Well, you don't need all that stuff just to try it. It can cost under ten bucks for a packet or two of pre-rigged plastics. If you are keen check out how you can give it a try. And hey! A packet of plastics costs about the same as bait and most don't smell at all. You've gotta love that.
In Tasmania surface fishing for trout has been a long standing tradition. "Top spinning" with wood and wattle grubs is still a favored past time for many, but in recent times anglers have been starting to become aware of hard bodied lures and soft plastics that can be used for the same purpose at less expense. Nearly all fresh and inshore salt water species available around Tasmania's coastline will take a surface lure fished with a variety of retrieves. Anglers have to remember that fish spend a fair amount of their time in the upper reaches of the water column either because of water temperature, or because that's where they are feeding. When they are high in the water column or near the surface, fish spend a fair amount of time looking up and are always opportunistic when looking for a feed. I guess the most appealing prospect when fishing with surface lures is that its visual fishing. Quite often you will see the fish before it strikes, which can lead to stressful precious seconds before it grabs the lure and of course the amazing strikes that leave a hole in the water where your lure once was. It can at times be a more productive method, often out fishing other techniques.
Owning and working in a tackle store I get the privilege of talking to fisherman all day long about all types of fishing. And regardless of how long they've been fishing for I am usually able to come up with something new for them to try; even more so when it comes to bait fishing. Like any form of fishing using the right bait, collecting and storing it properly can make the difference between catching fish and going home empty handed. I find a lot of anglers for one reason or another get stuck into a routine of using just one type of bait, and whilst this may be fine if you catch fish with it every time, what if you don't?
Trolling guru, Bill Presslor takes a close look one of his favourite trolling methods - leadline
Most freshwater trollers have at one time or another had at least some experience with lead core lines. Whether you love it or hate it, lead core catches fish!
Basically, lead core line, a lead wire covered by woven nylon, has been around for over fifty years and was developed as a means of trolling lures deeper than they could be trolled by traditional means. Used in conjunction with downriggers, planer boards and surface or flat lines, lead core lines can add versatility to any trolling spread. They are often the most productive option when you need to get your lures that little bit deeper. In lakes such as Arthurs Lake, Great Lake and Dee Lagoon lead core lines are bound to improve your catch rate.
How often have you been trolling around and have seen fish on your sounder showing up in depths of 20-40 ft or more? Even in today's modern world where an angler can buy a 5cm lure that will dive to 20ft or so it can still be frustrating trying to get your lures to the right depth to target these deep fish. But there is a fantastic exciting and easy way to target deepwater fish!
Starlo and Bushy
One of the great things about soft plastics is that you can fish them reasonably effectively using almost any sort of tackle. In fact, you can work a soft plastic on any gear you'd use to fish natural baits with, including a humble handline. Of course, you won't be able to cast very far with a handline, and it will present various other limitations, but in offshore bottom fishing, for example, it would still offer an acceptable method for bouncing a plastic or two up and down in front of a fish. Plastics can also be worked reasonably well off deck winches or short, stiff boat rods and non-casting centrepin reels (again, mostly only in up-and-down scenarios, where casting isn't necessary or important).
As the doom of gloom of winter makes it presence known thoughts turn to next season. To make "next year" a more pleasant experience, boaties should use the quiet period to conduct regular boat and trailer maintenance. Of course this should be a constant thing with boats, but winter is a time to take a closer look and fix thos little things that you might have put off.
The following is by no means a comprehensive list however it is suggested that these checks are conducted. Most of the following will only require a quick check while others can be time consuming and costly if left unattended. I have focused mainly on the trailer for this article which is often the part of your equipment which will can cause serious grief.
Last year I decided it was time to get rid of some junk. You know, the stuff that hangs around in the shed for years, kept on the premise that it might be useful some day. The type of stuff that only ever becomes required three days after you've thrown it out
Being somewhat of a hoarder I find these occasions (yes there have been many!) necessary but not enjoyable, and I tend to spend my time procrastinating by looking through my wares rather than getting to the point and deciding upon an items usefulness, as opposed to its uselessness.
On one of these particular occasions I came upon an old pale blue tackle box being housed in a box not yet unpacked from our most recent move - four and a half years ago-
As anglers we all face many of the same dilemmas, regardless of the style of fishing we choose. Bait fishing, trolling, coasting, spinning and fly fishing all rely on two main concerns; namely finding fish and getting them to bite. No matter what type of fishing you pursue, locating fish has got to be one of the most important facets of sport fishing. If you fish from a boat a depth sounder or sonar (short for Sound Navigation Ranging) is a vital piece of equipment. In addition to this equipment, the challenge of learning all one can about a fish species and catching their fish is an important factor in why many of us take up the sport. Rather than talk about choice of lure fly or bait I'd like to concentrate on locating fish including using sonar.
Most boat tests in TF&BN are from outside sources. Often they are not tests, but reviews from the manufacturer. I don't have a problem with that at all; in fact it is quite helpful as we (TF&BN) don't have the time or resources to cope with testing boats. However this month it is different as the test boat is one we bought.
If I can teach you just one thing about fishing with soft plastics, please make it this: You will catch a lot more fish on plastics if you learn the importance of giving a little slack. Let me explain by telling you a true story that provides a practical example-
The family of lines known as gelspun lines includes two types, braided and fused. Both of these varieties of gelspun have similar characteristics but are constructed differently. The main two advantages of gelspun are a fine line diameter and are very close to zero stretch.
If you asked most Australian trout anglers if they ever used spoons for their fishing most would likely reply that they seldom ever use this type of lure. In reality the Tasmanian "Cobra" style of lure is really a type of spoon, albeit a heavy, uniquely-shaped lure, it is still basically a spoon. Every size, shape and description of spoon has been manufactured over the years, but nothing else comes close to these little plastic and lead marvels. The Cobra style of lure has an amazing scope to accommodate a broad range of applications for almost any fishing condition. With the addition of a couple of new innovations to this style of lure Australia's most popular and successful fresh water fishing lure has just become even better!
Recently I had a conversation with a colleague of mine regarding his desire to take his stepson fishing. He explained that although his wife's twelve-year-old son loved to fish, my colleague was unable to justify the expense. I must admit I probably gave him a stupid puzzled look before enquiring exactly why he thought a fishing trip was going to leave him bankrupt. "It's all that special gear you need mate" he said in a deadly serious tone, "you know, those expensive surf rods and big reels, and all the floats and sinkers and stuff you need. I can't justify the price of it. Not for a fishing trip here and there."
As I have aged I've found it more enjoyable fishing with my children. I get huge satisfaction these days watching them catch a fish - even more than I do catching one myself.
I have three sons, Ben, Jack and Sam who I taken fishing from a very young age. My eldest Ben who is 7 years old, is now completely self sufficient. From tying knots, casting spinners, baiting hooks and fighting and landing his own fish he can do it all.
There are many lures on the market at the present. The soft plastics have taken the fishing world by storm. I must admit that I am no fan of them myself. I still enjoy using more traditional lures such as balsa minnows, deep divers, spinners and cobras. I find the smart hard body lure fisher can still keep up with or even out fish the plastics with the right formula.
Tournament fishing can sound intimidating to the average angler, especially those who wish to enter the competition arena. However, when you witness the line up of boats at the start of an event it does become inspiring. To see the latest fishing rigs, gleaming paint jobs and major horsepower being run by tournament fishos-with household names and any budding angler will want to join their ranks.
Being able to consistently locate your target species, select an appropriate lure and then present it in a way that the fish likes to see it can be a very daunting task for any angler. With so many variables at work against us such as different; fishing locations, target species, environmental factors, light levels, water depths, water clarities, water temperatures, water flow/tidal movements, activity/aggression levels of the fish, lure sizes/shapes/colors/actions/weights/smells/sink rates, etc, etc.
Hooks are one of those things we take for granted in fishing. The range of hooks is enormous and there is no hook for all conditions. Choice is usually a compromise. Even a beginner trying the most basic fishing should be aware of choosing the best hook for the job at hand.
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