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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