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Sydney Articles: Lure Fishing, by Craig McGill

Lure Fishing, by Craig McGill

With the season upon us and the water starting to warm up it's probably a good time to kick your lure collection into action.
The warmer months are prime time to lure up some surface fish. It's also your best shot at taking bream and flatties on artificials.
Before I get into what lures to use on what fish I'll go over a few tips on making sure that your lure kit is up to scratch.

The most important part of your lure is the hooks. Inspect your hooks for rust. Rust can make your hooks weak and blunt. A rusty hook will not penetrate as smoothly as a shinny one and will snap under pressure. Replace rusty hooks and split rings.
You might decide to replace your hooks with chemically sharpened ones which WILL improve your hook up rate. If you decide to go with standard hooks then take to them with a sharpening stone and get those points razor sharp.

Check that your lures are performing correctly. The style of lures that are most likely to get out of tune are the minnows. A bump on the bib last season can put them out of tune which will usually result in making them swim off to one side. In really bad cases they might even spin. Adjustment can be made by bending the tow eyelet a fraction in the opposite direction to which the lure is swimming. With some lures, like the Rapala CD series for example, it's near impossible to bend the eyelet due to its solid construction. In this case you can make the same adjustments by bending the bib itself. Naturally this is only practical with the metal bibbed lures and should not be attempted with the plastic bibs.
Other maintenance might include cleaning dirty painted finishes, polishing tarnished metal reflective surfaces and patching up torn soft plastics with a hot wire.

Organisation of your lure collection in your tackle box is equally as important. There's nothing more frustrating than reaching for a suitable lure and finding that it comes out in a tangled mess with twenty others, while tuna are busting out all around your boat. The time taken sorting out the mess can often exceed a feeding spree.
Plastic hook guards are a great remedy for this but remember to keep the WD40 up to them as they have a tendency to hold moisture.
Sort your lures into types and sizes and familiarise yourself their positions in the box.

And finally, don't forget your squid jigs. Squid make up the mainstay of big predatory fishes diet so obviously fresh squid make a logical choice of bait, particularly if kings and jewfish are your target. They are also top tucker on the dinner plate. Check over your jigs and make sure that the jags are needle sharp. With some degree of difficulty the jags can be touched up with a sharpening stone. Make sure that the jags, weights and eyes are securely in place and loose ones can be secured with a dab of araldite. Ditto with any loose cloth coverings. If you notice the cloth starting to lift, smear a bit of araldite through the material. With the price of jigs these days a bit of preventative maintenance can add up to substantial savings.

Here is a rundown of some of the lure munching species that you might encounter in the harbour this season

Tailor are very reliable lure chompers but they are either there or their not. If they are about they will usually bite and they aren't very fussy about lure size or type. Just because tailor are feeding on tiny baitfish doesn't mean they will only take tiny lures.
Trolled minnows is a good way to find them if you can't see them on the surface. If they are chomping on top then you can throw almost anything at them, with a preference to metal slugs or spoons.
The Tailor rules apply to Bonito.

Kingies are one of the tougher lure opponents found in Sydney harbour. Tough, both in the sense that they don't respond very well to most of what we throw at them , and that when one is finally hooked they fight hard and dirty. Not that they are not taken on minnows, but in general, they are largely ignored. When they are schooling and feeding on the surface they will begrudgingly take metal slugs. They show quite a bit more interest in surface poppers. The best lures, by a long stretch, are the soft plastic stick baits.

Mac Tuna and Frigate mackerel are very similar in the way that they hunt and in their food preference. Very small metal slugs are the order of the day. Occasionally Mac's will take a trolled minnow but in the Sydney region it's a rare occurrence. Striped tuna will also venture inside the harbour on occasions and are suckers for a fast retrieved metals or soft plastic stickbait on a leadhead. The trick with stripies is anticipating their direction and keeping up with them. They move fast and you need to make your first cast count.

Aussie Salmon can be the most or least fussy of lure takers. There are plenty of times when they will eat any reasonably offering thrown at them. Trolled minnows are a good way of finding Salmon when they are not feeding on the surface. When they are on top, casting small poppers or metal slices is the way to go. When they get fussy only the tiniest lures will tempt them.

Bream like very small lures. Small soft plastics and minnows work well in casting situations. They love structure which can be anything from oyster covered rocky shores to moored boats and jetties. They generally like shallow water and I have had bream hit tiny surface lures in one foot of water. They are most abundant in the upper reaches of the harbour where the cloudy water makes them more susceptible to lures. They can be taken in the clear waters of the lower reaches if you target them in low light.

Flathead will eat any style of lure and it seems that the bigger lures attract the bigger fish. For casting, spoons, soft plastics and stick baits are all effective. Spoons and plastics on jig heads are ideal for working in deeper water and down drop-offs while soft stick baits are awesome over the shallow weedy areas. Minnows are the most effective when trolled.

All of the above mentioned species respond very well to fly fishing. Flys are one of the most deceptive lures we can present. It must be remembered though, that because of the means of delivery, fly fishing is relatively inefficient. On the other side of the coin it is a great test of an angler's skill and a lot of fun.


Stuart Reid's 50lb Pending World Record PNG Black Bass

Pending World Record Black Bass

Papuan Black Bass are renowned the world over as the toughest pound for pound freshwater fish in the world, and the place to find the biggest Black Bass is PNG's Gulf province. The current all tackle world record Black Bass of 46lbs, and the fish pictured (caught on 19/6/14, by Stuart Reid, Fishabout) which is the pending world record at 50lbs, were both caught from these rivers.

Once you feel the strike you know that no freshwater fish can come close to the power. Watching 100kg guys get knocked over on the strike, reels give way, rods break in half and 130LB pound braid snap from the pound for pound strongest fighting fresh water fish is a sight to behold. If would like to experience the thrill of targeting PNG Black Bass and Barramundi in remote areas with very low fishing pressure contact us now

Kadavu Island - Great Astrolabe Reef

Fiji Macky

The pristine Fiji Islands are home to the South Pacific's finest sport and game fish, including massive GT's, monster dogtooth tuna, yellowfin tuna, dolphin fish, wahoo, spanish mackerel, black marlin, blue marlin and plenty of reef fish. Many of these species are endemic to the Great Astrolabe Reef (one of the largest barrier reefs in the world), which is the reef that encompasses Kadavu Island, Fiji.Fishabout now offer 6 and 8 day fishing packages to explore this marine wonder of the world, which include 3 and 5 days fishing respectively. For more information click here

Endyalgout Remote Fishing Camp

Sunset at Endyalgout

Fishabout is pleased to now offer remote fishing trips to Endyalgout Island, one of the best fishing locations in Australia. (Nestled on the south east of the Coburg Penninsula).

Situated on a shell grit beach under shady trees, are several permanent tropical friendly safari style tents, raised on wooden platforms.

Looking out past the resident Crocodile you can see miles and miles of enticing mangroves, barely touched creeks, rivers, rock bars and channels, all calling your name.

From monster Baramundi up to 130cm, to big Black Jewfish, Threadfin Salmon, various Trevallies, and some of the biggest Golden Snaper to be found anywhere, Endyalgout Island is truly a dream to fish.

Pricing ranges from $4350 (4 days, 3 anglers per boat) to $6910 (7 days, 2 anglers per boat)

For more information please click here