Good fishermen catch more fish, that’s a fact. How can you become one of these elusive types that always seem to catch quality fish? They even catch more fish than you on regular basis fishing on the same boat. I see this a lot, especially on charter boats, there are always one or two punters that seem to catch most of the fish.
We all want to be one of the chosen few; following is a few suggestions how to become one.
Firstly, you really need to have the right mind set, it needs to be open to new ideas and willing to try new techniques and methods, and this is paramount. If you think of fishing as a learning journey and let your fishing mind become a sponge always wanting to suck in information you will be on the right track. To me every fishing trip I go on is different than the last one, no two are the same, and I am always learning and will pick up something new for just about every fishing trip I go on. Continued learning is the key to being a good fisherperson.
Start thinking about your fishing trip the night before, you need to decide when and where you should go, so now is the time to start gathering information. There are four variables you should be interested in, before you go, they are Weather, Tide, Bite times and fish location, thanks to modern technology, these are now all at your fingertips.
For weather and tide you can use the internet, look at swell map and MetVUW to get an idea of what the weather is doing. Look for wind strength and wave height; less is best with these two variables so look for periods of light winds to increase your chances of being able to fish where you want. Tides are important they create current, fish tend to feed when the current is flowing and go off the bite when it’s not. At high and low tide the current flow stops so trying and avoid these periods if you can. Say High tide is at 8:00 am in the morning, the current will be nil or slow about one hour either side of the tide, therefore the chances of the fishing being poor between 7:00 am and 9:00 am is high. It takes about 6 hours for one full tide, so the current will be peaking around mid tide which in this case will be three hours after high tide so 11:00 am, you can expect the current to be flowing well and the fish biting between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm, so a good plan would be to be at your fishing spot by 8:30 in the morning. If you can get the wind and tide going the same way, this will in 90% of cases increases your chances of catching fish whether it be bait fishing or lure fishing. For example, in Auckland try and fish the outgoing tide in a SW wind and the incoming tide in a NE wind. Lastly is bite times, which can be very accurate and it pays to check when they might be. Bite times are also available online at www.fishing.net.nz. By considering the variables above; you can now make an educated plan on the best time to go fishing.
Now you need to decide where you should go fishing and once again you can research this at home the night before using the internet and your phone. Fishing mates are good to have especially the passionate ones who go fishing all the time, give them a call and see if they know where the fish are biting, remember to pay the favor back and give them a call if you find a good patch of fish. You can build up a good network this way; this is the best way to find fish.
You can also use the internet to find the fish. I now have a Facebook page which is www.facebook/oceanangler oh, here is a wealth of information about where the fish are being caught, we share GPS marks so you can accurately go to where the fish are being caught it’s well worth becoming a fan of this page. Once again www.fishing.net.nz is also good for finding out where the fish are being caught, trawl through the forums and you will come across locations of where the fish are biting. So now you know when to go and where to go, put as many variables in your favor by going to the right place at the right time and you will greatly increase your chances of catching a feed.
Now on to fishing gear and tackle. Part of this equation is having good quality gear, however, this is not as important as selecting the right equipment for the job. I will often hear from fishermen, will this rod be alright for soft baiting, or can I use my softball rod for bait fishing, sure it will work, but if you want to be one of the elite you need to have specific rods for each task. Good quality rods and reels designed for fishing have just the correct action in the rod to give the lures the best action. If your Inchiku jigging the rods are quite different than softbait rods. They are softer in the tip to slow the action of the lure right down and look after the smaller hooks that are used on quality Inchiku jigs. If you like catching fish on lures have the right rod for the job, and you will catch more fish. Fishing is all about putting the odds in your favor, stacking the odds 55% here and 5% there is what you should be thinking about. For reels to me they’re not as important as having the right rod so spend your money on the rod and get what you can afford for the reels.
Next is line and leader, and this is hugely important to get right. Consider the thicker the line the more drag it has in the water, which means you will need more weight to get your lure or bait down and it will not act as naturally, compared to fishing with thicker line and leader. This can be the difference between catching fish after fish and not even getting a bite, I have seen this on several occasions and it’s a real eye opener. For mainline if your lure fishing for snapper go then, remember to look at the diameter of the braid rather than the breaking strain, manufacturers use all kinds of marketing tricks to make the line seem thinner and stronger than others so I only look at the diameter. For soft biting inshore and around channels you want to use a braid that is no more than 0.15mm and our deeper targeting bigger fish you want to be no more than 0.2mm in diameter for your braid. If your fishing monofilament and bait fishing, 6kg is plenty inshore and offshore snapper fishing 10kg is the thickest line you should use to keep the odds on your side. Next is a leader and once again it’s important to use a thin diameter of leader. This stuff does vary in strength and it does pay to use a quality brand and in particular fluorocarbon will catch you more fish in most situations using bait or lure fishing. With fluorocarbon try and use the thinnest diameter you can find far a particular breaking strain. It’s also nice to use a fluorocarbon that has a bit of stretch and is soft, this gives you joined braid and leader a bit of give and the soft flora make it much easier to tie knots. For lure fishing inshore look for 15lb fluorocarbon with a diameter no more than.30mm and offshore look for a fluorocarbon around the 25lb mark with a diameter no more than 0.45mm. If your bait fishing for snapper, it’s a bit different as the leader can end up inside the snapper’s mouth, so you need larger leader material inshore 20lb leader is the way to go and offshore 60-80lb is the way to go if your targeting snapper. Getting your line and leader weights are very important, it really will stack the odds in your favor, what you trying to do is deploy the strongest thinnest line you can find without have any breakages when fighting fish, it’s a bit of a balancing act, it pays to get it right.
Now we come to the business end of your rig, hooks and lures and this is also important to get right. If your bait, fishing uses the best quality hooks you can afford, the better usually means sharper and sharper means you will hook more fish that’s easy. When it comes to lure fishing it’s a bit more involved, let talk about softbait fishing first. When you’re selecting a guide you need to think of two things weight and hook size, including shank length. I use two types of soft baiting techniques the first is dragging behind the boat, using this technique you will need to use a heavy jig head to get your lure dredging along the bottom, so usually I will use a 1oz jihad in most dragging situations. The other technique is the cast ahead technique and what is requires here is using the lightest jig head to get you to the bottom, generally we do this in water less than 25 M on light wind days and the norm is to use either ½ Oz jig heads or ¾ Oz jig heads. Selecting the right type of hook to thread your softball on to be really important , there is no point in having a nice wiggly softbait then jamming a hunk of metal through its length, it takes away from the wiggly action of the softball that fish find irresistible. The hook should come out no more than ½ ways or at most 2/3 way down the soft bait. I could only find jig heads that did this by reducing the overall size of the hook which often meant using 1a 1/0 hook which loses a lot of the Gape of the hook. I made my own jig heads and removed 5mm out of a 3/0 size hook to get the desired hook for fishing 4 and 5” soft baits and these are called Ocean Angler light bulb jig heads.
Now soft baits this is a big one, but trends are now showing fisher persons are mostly turning to smaller 4” soft baits which have built in swimming action like paddle tails and grubs or curly tails in more natural colors than before. Go small and match baitfish colors seem to be the way to go.
Josh from Ocean Angler explains the Zman softbait Range
For Inchiku jigging, hooks are really important. I remember when I first started playing around with these several years ago and wondered why the hooks were so small. After a few trips I cut the small 1/0 size hooks off and replaced them with 3/0 hooks in true Kiwiana number 8 wire fashion and thought this would do the trick. I hook up rate plummeted drastically, and I ended up going back to 1/0 hooks which increased my hook up instantly right. For Inchiku jigging, it’s important to use small hooks, with 1/0 size being ideal, in my experience using hooks larger than this will take odds away from you, and we don’t want to do that. Use good quality small hooks to increase the odds.
Next is the UV reflection which is something I believe in. Its proven fish uses UV light to hunt their prey. We are seeing marlin lures being produced with UV reflective compounds on them. It’s an added expense of manufacturing lures and seem its invisible to humans, it may not always turn into increased sales, however if you want to be in the group of fisherman looking for any trick to increase the odds, to me this is a no brainer. There are Inchiku jigs and now also jighead available that do have a UV reflective compound included in their paint job. I have seen the results of these products many times and it’s usually on overcast days when the visible light is low and the UV light is still penetrating through the clouds. If you want to put the odds in your favor use lures and jig heads that reflect UV light.
That’s about it for now; I could go on and on about this topic, above are some prime examples of how to increase your catch rate by using your mind and technology to do so.