I am always looking to improve fishing techniques and over the last few months I have once again been taught a good lesson which I thought I had already learnt, but apparently not. Since taking delivery of my new 5.7metre side console Trailcraft, with a 115 hp Yamaha, I was keen to do some serious sea trials as well as get the first twenty hours up on the motor. What better way to do it than a few serious fishing trips. In days gone by my son Jay was more of a surf fanatic, but now he has become quite keen to do the early morning fishing trips as long as he can have a drive of the boat ( pictured ) and the surf is not too good.
During the holiday season, I never hit my close in good fishing ground, mainly because there are just too many boats around and like it or not, some skippers will just drive straight up to you and ping your spots. Better to head out wide, but that means the weather has to be reasonable and you could count these days on one hand during December and January. Because I had family coming over from the east as well, I was in Perth one day and stocked up on extra tackle, predominantly 7/0 to 9/0 octopus hooks, 3 way swivels and 80lb to 100lb leader line. During the first two fishing trip, the dhuies we big and strong, some having three or four runs before being landed and not floating up to the surface like normal until the last 5-10 metres. However, at least four good fish were lost about half way up, which is extremely disappointing. I don’t mind if the hooks pull through because of a lip hook, or possibly because the fisherman goes too hard when it is not necessary. I mean what can be a problem when the fish is well off the bottom? Never seen half a dhuie come up, due to a shark, like up north, so really, just go easy once the hard work is done and if they want to run again, let ‘em. If you bring up the line and see the end twirling, then you better brush up on your knots, but if it is a clean break then maybe the leader rubbed along the dhuies gills or mouth during the fight and that is just plain bad luck, although I now use 100lb leader for deep fishing. But when, on three separate occasions, the 7/0 and 9/0 hooks came up straightened, then something was really wrong. I couldn’t quite believe it, so when I got home I tried bending one on the vice and although it took some effort, it could be done. The pressure of a big fish coming up from depth should never be underestimated and yes, against all my better judgement, I had fallen into the trap of buying a bulk box of cheap second rate 7/0 and 9/0 hooks. So on the next visit to the tackle shop I went and purchased top of the range Owner hooks, which are expensive, but I have yet to see one straightened. In fact, at a tackle show years ago I remember seeing a charter fisherman boasting his pair of cutting pliers could cut through anything but when my mate gave him an owner hook to try them on, the cutting blade snapped with the hook still intact. The hooks were put to the test on the next fishing trip and pleased to say, no fish were lost, no hooks were straightened and my son Jay and his mate Bucko both landed beauties, obvious from the smiles on the faces!