Sitting, on a plane on my way to Melbourne (second time in three days) I thought I would cover off gear selection.
While I prefer big game trolling this style of fishing may not make the most sense as the fish may be down deep, not present, not hitting trolling lures etc all of which necessitate other types of fishing styles (and gear)
So what types of fishing do I do on the Gold coast?
1. Bottom bashing
2. Mid water
Probably one of the most productive and simplest types of fishing. Tie a Big piece of lead to the end of your line tie, a couple loops above it, and put hooks on these loops. To fish, put on chunks of bait, lower to bottom and wench in fish. Unfortunately the quality of fish typically won’t be as good as the other styles of fishing. This also means you don’t need great gear
Gear: Rods, pretty much anything stiff with guides that can take braid. For reels anything with enough braid to make it to the bottom. All my fishing companions use gear in the same price range (about $200) I use a Shimano Tekota 500 or Calcutta 400(a little light), one fishing buddy uses a Shimano TLD 15, and the other a Shimano Baitrunner 6500 (a monster spinning reel). I am guessing the spinning reel does the best job here – it’s “free spool” lets line sink faster and that monster spool just gobbles up line on the retrieve. The only downside of a spinning reel is the line capacity-not really an issue with the Bait-runner 6500 and the relatively shallow fishing depths around here (less than 300 feet)
This style of fishing is definitely one of the most exciting as you typically target large snapper but catch everything from marlin to “yakers” (little yellow tail mackerel we typically use as live bait). The way you fish “Mid water” is to drift your bait in a trail of “burley” trail (also called Chum in the US) of pellets, little bits of bait, stale cookies, crust from your Sandwich or anything else fish will eat and will sink/drift down the current. Despite the fact I have called this fishing “midwater” you may actually be using this method with no weight on the surface or using a couple sinkers taking it to the bottom- the strategy is to get your Burley to the fish to get them feeding and your bait to these fish.
The way you setup is to have your main line connected to a mono leader with a sliding weight above two hooks tied in a “mooching” fashion. A mooching rig is used much like gang hooks with the top hook used to hold the bait with the bottom (or stinger) hook for the fish. For bait we typically use a live yellow tail mackerel or three quarters of a pilchard(depending on how large the hooks you are using) -giving you a quarter left over for burley and removing the tail helps decrease the spinning. The amount of weight you use will depend a couple of things like the current, the depth of the water and the depth where the fish are holding – in general you want your bait to drift down with your burley. The downside of this fishing is it doesn’t really work for fishing holding in really deepwater or strong currents.
Gear: Since all my companions use good gear for bottom bashing they use same gear for midwater fishing. While the spinning reel seems to be the champion bottom basher I would argue my Tekota or Calcutta is the way to go for midwater fishing. With the back lash adjustments you can fine tune how fast the line comes off spool and the level winds enables you to focus on the fishing and not laying the line back onto the spool. I mentioned earlier that braid was a nice to have while bottom bashing….For midwater I would change this to near mandatory particularly if the fish are at any depth so you can use less weight.
Believe it or not there are times when fish won’t hit a midwater bait and you won’t be able to get live bait. At this time lure fishing reigns supreme. I will never forget the time I was on one of the outer reefs on the Gold Coast with half a dozen other boats targeting snapper and you could see schools of large blue and yellow fish that was totally ignoring our bait. Luckily for me I had brought my Barramundi rod and some ½ ounce feathered jigs. Tossing these jigs out and twitching them just under the surface netted me about 20 nice Yellowtail kingfish and some spectacular break offs of some monsters – the whole time the snapper fisherman around me not able to catch a fish and watching me catch fish after fish…. Or the time I was in townsville fishing for Spanish Mackerel and not getting a bite despite seeing some big fish and finally tying on some poppers and catching some really nice Queenfish. Despite the fact lure fishing can be productive none of my regular fishing buddies target this type of fishing due to the gear needed and amount of work involved.
Gear: This is one area that lure fishing gets tricky as the rods and reels that throw lures well are often too light for most large fish offshore ( I have broken four rods to prove this –but more on that later!) My current setup is a Shimano Calcutta and a really fast auctioned ABU Garcia Predator fiberglass rod that has enough back bone to turn a 55lb Cobia but a light enough tip to toss ½ jigs. In general unless you have grown up tossing baitcasting reels I would suggest a largish spinning real and something like a Ugly Stick Gold spinning rod
Pretty much self explanatory as you just drag a bunch lures around on the surface until something eats them –okay maybe not quite that easy but I have covered some of the basics in other posts .
Gear: Big conventional reels and high quality mono and quality game rods….Most of the fisherman around here use Shimano TLD 25’s, Tyrnos, or Tiagras reels and a medley of lines and rods. I find it interesting that most of the reels we use around here are Shimano but very few folks use their rods….
I know I will never buy another Shimano rod. In the past year I have broken 4 Shimano rods (2 Squidgy rods(one twice!) and a Shimano Raider). –The last one practically exploded breaking in three places with a sound like a firecracker! Taking it back to the shop where I bought it they told me “These Graphite Rods are pretty fragile and you should expect this once in a while and you need to buy something like a Lamiglass if you want it guaranteed”