With the explosion of other Raiders' interest in the dark art of blackfishing, I thought a dedicated post on some of the best tips available may assist newcomers getting into it with some success, sooner than later!
Where to start ......
There are 2 main reasons for blackfish to be frequenting a specific area day after day, year in, year out.
Feeding & Breeding - That particular area is good for a feed & so they get big & strong & are then 'top dog' for breeding. For this reason, they defend their patch. They are very territorial. Get to know that area well. You can do this by:
1) Try & go out with someone who knows what they are doing (whether boat or land based) for your first few trips. Nothing beats watching a 'pro' or else you may get frustrated & not bother trying again! Anyone can catch blackfish & it doesn't take years to master the art! The main trick is observation, patience, concentration and good weed or cabbage! Sure as eggs, if you look away, the float will dip & you'll miss the fish! Fortune favours the brave - the fish often hang in close to the rocks (where they feel safe & can hide from the marauding dolphins!) so the closer you can place your weed to the wall, the better your chances of getting a good strike ...... and lots of snags! When the water is clear (ie nearing high tide), this is a good time to look for a good spot to blackfish - you will be able to identify all the snags in advance! Look out for any rocky outcrops along the breakwall, cliff or river edge (the underwater bits sticking out from the edge - especially if it is covered with weed growth, as against a wall or edge that is fairly straight & clean of growth.) The water slows as it flows past this spot & creates an eddy just behind or in front of it (either tide) & this is where the food that is floating out in the tide gets dropped or at least, goes a bit slower. So this is where the fish hang out. It is also where you are likely to get the odd snag or two!! However, that goes with the territory! Personally, I prefer to fish the last of the runout tide & the turn of the in tide. The water is usually a bit murkier & the fish tend to feed more freely than in the clear water of high tide. After large evening high tides, you may find the fish more active the next morning. They seem to move into systems after the big high tides.
2) Use the freshest weed or cabbage available. If fishing from the breakwall or rocks, chances are you may also catch drummer on the cabbage! You will know if it is a drummer - they pull twice as hard as blackies & usually pull you immediately into the rocks to bust you off in 5 seconds flat if using lighter traces! You only need to use a small bit of cabbage - sometimes as small as your thumb nail! You want them to suck the whole lot in, not nibble the edges. Most rock ledges or headlands have cabbage growing. When using the 'streamer' cabbage, (long slender pieces of cabbage) don't leave long bits hanging off the hook - pinch them off at about 2-3cm in length from the hook. The hook should be towards the bottom of the bait. Small is best.
Collect it at low tide & only take enough for a couple of sessions, as it does not keep as well as the weed does. Use 'cabbage' (leafy weed that grows on rocks & headlands) as well as the normal stringy weed (some shops sell weed - but don't be afraid to walk around the shallows & shores looking for it!) If you don't get 'downs' after a few drifts, (where the float dips & rises immediately indicating a bite) adjust the depth of your float by moving the stopper knot up or down by a hand length or runner length. Check out your bait each time you bring it in .... has it been chewed or just dragged thru some kelp or snag?? If it is getting straggly, replace it.
During Winter, it can be difficult to find - check any waterway or stormwater drain leading to a beach to see if weed is growing - you will soon recognise what it looks like!! Stringy green weed often grows around the rocks or in the 'salt water pools' that frequent the northern Sydney beaches & when the weather warms up from August on, it can be found on the rock ledges, or growing in the sand on beach headlands. There are many types of green weed - some if soft, some is wirey. All types work at any given time. It is a good idea to collect a little of a few different types, so you can see which one 'works' on the day. As the weather warms up, the weed grows prolifically - sometimes up to 1m in length over a day or two.
Bubble green weed can often be found during winter, when stringy green weed is not available! The blackies love it. It is almost 'crunchy' to the feel. You only need a few strands on the hook.
I am trying a new storage method - a pizza box! Lay down a sheet of paper, gently squeeze out excess water & tease the weed apart so there are no big soggy lumps, then spread it out thinly on the paper, then add another bit of paper & do another layer etc! I got 4 layers in the box. Store it in the fridge. I reckon one layer (or even half) would last a session. If you run out & you have no fish, they are getting it off & you are not catching!! If you have it all still, the fish aren't there!
Go Fish Pete also has weed flies availale in his Tackle Shop. Here is a photo of both sides of the fly
Here is the fish it caught! That is the wet weed fly on it.
Blackfish also take 'real' baits, such as prawns, nippers, cunjevoi, blood worms, bread or even small soft plastics. Some expert older fishos reckon that blackies actually prefer these baits towards the end of the year in preference to weed & cabbage.
3) Wear top rock-hugging shoes (like the neoprene ones with spikes) when on the rocks. I have put a long shoulder strap onto my bucket handle so that I use it like a backpack when clambering down the rocks. I also use 2 rubber ties to tie my rod to the long handled net. This allows me to use the rod/net as a steadying aid, whilst having the other hand free to steady myself on the rocks on the way down. Always beware of unstable rocks. Put Safety first! This is essential. If you fish rock ledges that become submerged at high tide & high swells, & you are washed into the sea, SWIM AWAY FROM THE ROCKS. This one action may well save your life. From there, consider your options. It could be safer to swim towards the beach. If you swim towards the rocks, you could be knocked out & drown. If fishing in these conditions, it would pay to wear a self inflating pfd. These cost from $100 up & are not physically uncomfortable. Off the rocks, bobby corks can be used - the brighter the better, for easy viewing especially in windy or washy conditions.
4) Any rod with a soft tip & strong butt will suffice until you are sure you want to continue that style of fishing. (eg 10ft collapsible rod) Take a long handled net with you when fishing breakwalls - watch out for big swells! With the correctly weighted rod & reel, you can fish for hours & not get tired. Blackfishing can consist of a thousand casts for 5 fish! But don't despair!! It is worth it. Keep a rod that is already set up, ready to go at a moments notice. Eventually, you may decide to get dedicated blackfish rod. Any reputable tackle shop (especially our sponsors) will point you in the right direction. They are usually noted with 'bf4144' meaning blackfish 4 wrap( fairly common), 144 inches long (12ft). They have a fairly bendy top to act as a shock absorber when fighting the fish & a fairly strong butt section, to lift the fish if a net is not available. The handle normally fits comfortably under one arm. This helps to keep the line away from the effects of wind and allows the float to peel line from the reel without impedence. The float should stay upright.
5) Make your own floats - you get a real buzz catching with your own gear. The calmer the water, the smaller the float. I found a set of 8 bright red chopsticks the other week & now have 8 great very calm water floats. Even a pelican feather with the feather removed, only leaving the quill could be used as a float. The calmer the water, the less float tip needs to be showing (almost total neutral bouyancy.)
I have made some great floats using metal knitting needles! The bonus is, they don't break easily!! Ask first, before you raid your Nana's knitting needle set tho! I drill a small hole in a champagne cork & jam it onto the needle (after removing the plastic bit from the end.) If it isn't a snug fit (ie the hole was made too big), you may need to wrap some thread around the needle to make it snug. I used a bench grinder to carefully shape the float or you could cut off the bulk with a stanley knife, then use sandpap until you get the required shape. At the bottom of the knitting needle, I pound it with a hammer to make it flat, drill a tiny hole in the centre for the line to go thru (sand it well to prevent burrs) & then bend it at right angles to the knitting needle. Use some stiff copper or brass wire to form the top loop for the line to go thru. You can paint the top of the needle bright red, or glue a red straw or (in this case) some red electrical wire conduit onto it. I also glue a fluorescent bead on top, for night fishing. As it has some 'in built weight' it sits beautifully in the water.
Some even fish with a bright float tip just under water! If the fish are being very shy & getting the weed off without the float tip moving, add a 'drinking straw' extension & another couple of bits of split shot, to totally submerge the float, leaving only some drinking straw showing. You may need to have some 'Blue Tack' or something similar to get it to stay on. In washy areas, a black/blue straw would help you see your float ... in normal situations, a red one. Put a stopper knot below the float - if the line breaks at the swivel, the float should stay on the line!
When fishing shallower water, fixed floats can be used. Once you are fishing more than 1-2 rod lengths in depth, a running float is the way to go.
Try not to have more that 3 bits of lead on the line - the more weights on the line, the better the chance of the line wrapping around the weights when casting.
TDH suggests to use a small lead/removeable shot on the trace about 20cm above the hook as it keeps the bait more directly under the float. A fisho here has had his splitshot as close as 5cm above the hook when the fish weren't biting & suddenly he was catching! Works for him, too! Don't be afraid to try different setups!
In areas of little or no flow (eg the sheltered jetties of Balmoral or other harbour areas) blackfish can be taken without the use of a float at all - just rigged with a tiny splitshot sinker (or even a swivel - just sufficient weight to take the bait down), above the hook, with weed or cabbage on the hook. The trace can be quite long.
6) When fishing from the rocks, have the weights/sinkers on their own 15-25cm trace, between 2 swivels. Put a bead between the weight & the bottom swivel as a shock absorber. The constant movement of sinkers onto the knot will cause it to chafe, & break. Have a 20-30cm Fluorocarbon Trace with hook below the bottom swivel & have the float on the main line above the top swivel (put rubber stopper on first!) 6lb fluoro is a good choice - light enough not to spook the fish & strong enough for all but the strongest fish. If snagged, it should break first, so you don't lose your float. Personally, I use 2 hooks - one on the top swivel (under the float) and one on the bottom swivel (under the weights.) The top trace should be shorter than the full length of the weighted line. This way, you can fish 2 different baits & cover 2 depths. If you are only getting bites on the one weed, take the other off & replace it with the popular one.
7) Centrepin reels can be a bit tricky to use - but the new sidecast Alvey Blackfish reels make it a lot easier. Some people have difficulty casting longer distances with centrepins - I find eggbeaters more efficient for casting distances accurately. However, if fishing from a boat, Centrepins come into their own! The tidal flow virtually peels the line from the reel & you just use the palm of your hand to stop the line, set the hook & then reel it in. Eggbeaters with 20-30lb braid as the main line are excellent when fishing the rocks & hoping to catch big fish in tough territory! Using braid also enables you to actually feel the fish nibbling your bait, such is the sensitivity of it, even before seeing the float go down!! For calmer water fishing, you can use mono line to about 10lb.
8) Many Raiders now use Braid as the main line - it is very strong & floats - if using mono line, you will have to grease it with vaseline to make it float. If you don't grease mono line, it sinks & your float does not travel as well. Also, when striking a 'down' you are usually just retrieving the sunken line, rather than setting the hook on the fish. There are major snags all along any wall - the rocks, cunje, kelp and indeed other broken off fishing line all conspires to give you a hard time. However, if you rig up correctly, you don't have to lose a lot of tackle, apart from the odd hook & line (the leader). Never have your trace a similar strength to your main line (especially when fishing the rocks or breakwalls.) The trace should be less than half the strength of the main line. Otherwise it is just a matter of time before your main line will break when retrieving from a snag & you'll lose your float as well as a fish! Fishing calm water or from boats, you can use much lighter main line & traces.
9) Have your float weighted so that about 2cm (or less) of the tip shows above the water (about 4cm for rougher water). Use removeable split shot to 'fine tune' it as the conditions change. You may need to add or remove splitshot as the swell or current changes. This becomes evident when the float tip begins sinking totally or sitting higher in the water. If fish are getting the bait off without the float 'bobbing' you can add a bit of red drinking straw to it (use bluetac to make it stick) and then add extra splitshot, so it is virtually totally negatively weighted. Any nibble from there on, should see the float dip.
10) Always take a spare float or two (already weighted), spare hooks, swivels, beads - I put all mine in a 'CD Pouch' that goes around my waist. It stops you having to turn around & lose your footing when on the rocks.
11) Learn the action of your float! This entails watching how it reacts to dead calm, slightly lumpy or extremely bumpy conditions. The calmer the conditions, the less float needs to be showing. Observation is essential - once you observe something 'different' about your float when you are actually fishing it with weed/cabbage, it could well be that a fish has been having a go at it. This could be indicated by the float 'bobbing up & down' quickly, but not going under. It could go left or right, or even against the flow. It could stop or go faster! Each change in float behaviour is worth assuming it is a fish & test it by a short, sharp jerk or controlled strike. If you think you noticed the float 'bobbing', let it continue for a while, to see if the fish may follow it & strike again. If not, retrieve the float, check your bait, rebait if necessary & throw it out to cover the same track that you thought you had the hit on! Sometimes, it may need to go past his nose 6 times before he takes it down! Sometimes the float will 'bob up' instead of sinking, actually showng the top part of the float - this is usually a fish taking the hook in it's mouth & swimming upwards, taking the float with it! Strike!! Always be aware of how deep your float is fishing - where the actual stopper knot is, say, in relation to your reel! If you have retrieved a fish, sometimes the stopper knot will catch in the top runner & actually change position without you knowing it! The last thing you want to do is bait up & toss out again without checking that you are fishing the same depth that the last fish was caught at! When reeling in after a bite to check your bait, bring the float right up to the tip of your rod & make a mental note of where the stopper knot is. Is it right down by the reel (ie about 9ft depth if using a 10ft rod)? Is it between the first & 2nd runner? After every fish landed, recheck that the knot is in the same spot! Fishing the same area over a few days or months also gives you the knowledge of where the snags are (the snags are often in different places from one tide to the next even tho you are fishing the same spot!) The incoming tide may have the kelp snagging hooks, but the out going tide may miss the snag altogether. You can usually fish the top & bottom of both tides. If protected by a headland, eddies may form & allow you to fish the entire tide!
12) Berley (a couple of handfuls of chopped up weed, even add a bit of bread, mixed with damp sand to 1/2 fill a bucket) is often useful in bringing fish onto the bite, or keeping them in your area! Use a little at a time & not too often .... usually only at the top & bottom of the tide, otherwise you will be helping the bloke next to you instead of yourself ... the fish will follow the burley trail! When you arrive, if a bloke is burleying, choose a spot next to him, down tide, to take advantage of his burley! Tossing burley in actually shows you just how fast the tide is running, too. I use a small scoop to throw out my berley - saves getting your hands sandy & it tosses better! Luderick-anglers tip - On burley - an old trick in a heavy run for blackies is the paper bag trick, using 2 bags, one inside each other. Fill with damp (not wet) burley, tie to a string and over the side she goes. When it gets to the bottom, yank and away she goes. This is most effective from a boat. It will keep the fish very close to the boat. Roosterman's tip - I found the easiest way to mix burley is to tip all the chopped mix in a pile on dry sand beach. Dig up a nice pile of dry sand, then get a handful of the weed mix, put it on top of the small pile of sand and keep picking it all up and rubbing between hands until mixed. Put that pile into your bucket and continue until all done. When you arrive at your fishing spot, put enough water in to wet the sand sufficiently so you can make it into little burly bombs.
13) 6lb fluoro is my choice for the leader (some use 10lb or more on the wall or down to 2lb in calm water) - and I tie the hook on with a big loop. (Line Systems Bass Hard is one of the toughest lines out there, but can be expensive.) I take a 'matchstick' thickness of weed about 10-15cm long & thread it thru the loop, then twist one end of it around the hook twice one way, then take the other end & twist it twice around the hook the other way. There should be a bit hanging below the bend of the hook (about 2cm.) Don't have this bit too long. The fish will nibble it & miss the hook! Most learners put on way too much weed (like an olive shape.) The fish just nibble it, instead of eating it in one hit! The weed on the hook (when wet) should look like a wet trout fly (similar shape to a small bait fish and very streamlined.)
14) Hooks - size 8 to 10 are good - suicide hooks are good too & very strong - whilst others prefer the 'sneck' type (available at most tackle shops.) These are both short shank. Blackies mouths, whilst quite small, will take a bigger hook - one of our locals prefers a size 7, which I personally think is a bit big - but he reckons you get the bigger fish! I make up heaps of traces when fishing from the rocks (less so from a boat) so I can change them quickly when busted off by a monster fish or a 'rock fish'. I wrap them around a bit of flat foam, or have a bit of insulating tube pushed up to my reel, with some on.
15) Casting - you don't do your standard overhead cast when blackfishing - more of a controlled underarm flick, using the float & sinkers as the weight (all the more reason for a heavier one!) From a boat, you just drop the float into the water & allow the current to take it away from you, towards the fish. Fishing the breakwall or rocks, you cast up, against the flow, so that by the time the float has 'settled' (you will see it 'sit' suddenly when the stopper knot is reached so only the tip is showing) it is in the 'strike zone'. Sometimes that strike zone may only be a stretch of water from say, the 2 o'clock position to 10 o'clock position (if casting to the right and drifting left or visa versa.) Other times, you may let it drift for 50m or more past you (if no-one else is fishing down there!) The strike zone is anywhere where the water is flowing not too fast - usually in an eddy. If you have bites in one area, stick to it for a while - there is some reason that the fish are holding there - usually a rock to hide behind to keep them out of the current & not 'working so hard' for a food source.
16) After casting, keep your rod pointed towards the float & when the float is coming towards you, take up any slack line, so that only a fairly 'flat u' in the line is separating your rod tip from your float. Your line to the float should never be tight or taut, unless you have a fish on, are snagged or are retrieving line. Likewise, as the float goes past you, you will have to let line out so that 'flat u' remains in the line, but still ready to strike if the float dips! In some conditions, I even hold all the line off the water, as we often fish so close to the wall there is no need to have heaps of line out - especially if you are right in front of 'the strike zone'. If there is too much line out and you get a hit & lift the rod, you will only take up the slack, not strike the hook, possibly losing the fish. if your line gets a belly in it, just lift up the rod tip & 'mend' it, just like trout fishing! This should not affect the float at all.
17) Striking - some guys strike so hard that the float goes flying thru the air & almost knocks out the pedestrians on the path on the breakwall! No need for that. If the float dips slowly or on an angle (always wear your Polaroids so you can see thru the water ), it could be a snag or a fish, so I just give it a quick upwards flick. If it is a small snag or kelp, it will usually come free. If it is a big snag, walk back past the snag, in the direction that the float was coming from, and try to dislodge it from that angle. It usually works. If it is a fish, you will know instantly, with the float disappearing & you are met with big resistance and head shakes! Keep the rod tip held high & keep pressure on the fish at all times - don't allow any loose line to give it the chance to toss the hook. You may need to give line, tho, under pressure, to prevent the hook pulling out! If you have never caught a blackie before, you will be surprised at the strength of their fight! It is better to use a net to land the fish, as they never give up fighting. The danger period of losing fish is when they are on the surface & flopping about. The action of the tail & body flicking from side to side will often disengage the hook thru the constant reversal of pull direction on the line. When using traces less than 10lb, it would be a shame to lose a fish by lifting it from the water & have the trace break, when a net would have secured it. If the float dips in an instant & disappears totally, chances are it is a good fish & you should strike immediately - lift your rod up fairly sharply to a 45 degree angle but don't rip the hook out of it's mouth - if a fish is on, you will know it. They do have small mouths & when well hooked, shouldn't get off, but if only lip hooked, they can easily throw the hook. If no fish is hooked, you will feel the line slip thru the float till it connects with the swivel & you feel the weight of the float .... or otherwise it is on a snag. Don't try & skull drag the fish in immediately - they fight hard & you may even have to give a bit of line during the fight - some have soft mouths & the hooks come out too easily! I have lost count of the number I have lost when almost to the net! Blackfish are very strong & when on the surface, can flop from side to side, disengaging the hook through the constant change of direction on the line. Don't let the fish come in too close to the rocks - they will head under the nearest oyster covered rock & bust you off. It has happened to me often! Play them till they are subdued, whilst maintain pressure on the fish at all times. Keep the rod tip high so the rod acts as a shock absorber. Use the full length of the rod to keep the fish away from the oyster covered rocks near the wall & when the fish is ready & on the surface, slide it into your landing net.
18) Check that any fish you catch is legal size 27cm - personally I usually only keep them if they are over 30cm, unless really desperate for a feed & then slit their neck immediately, slicing thru their neck to the stomach cavity & put them in my bucket with clean sea water. Your bucket should have a good length of strong rope on it (with a loop around the end to go round your hand) so you can lower it into the water, rather than clambering down to fill up - too dangerous in big swells. 1/3 or 1/2 full is more than enough! Some people prefer keeping them alive in keeper nets & only despatch them when they leave, but I have had moray eels chew a hole in my net & relieve me of my fish! So I don't use keeper nets any more! Fillet & skin them as soon as you get home. If left unattended, the gut content & black lining in their stomach can cause an unusual taste to taint the flesh. This is not pleasant. Luderick-angler's tip on keeper nets - your keeper net - when you buy it check the knots & tighten them, then using an electric soldering iron or ciggie lighter, seal the ends. You'll find the net does not develop holes. For a rope, use the blue/yellow stuff the telecom guys have - thread that through your keeper then get a of a tennis ball and put a tiny hole in the centre (so the cut edge is facing the net.) Push the rope through the hole, then tie a double figure 8 knot or splice it. Burn the ends to seal the rope - this negates the half hitch and the fish will find it near impossible to nose their way out (i've seen them get a half hitch undone!)
19) Keeping weed fresh - there are hundreds of ways of keeping weed fresh for the next outing. The best thing is to gather it on the day & use it then & there! Any left over, you can chop up as burley for the next outing & gather a new lot for the actual bait. Most store their weed in 'single use' batches (a big handful), wrapped in newpaper & stored in the fridge. It does tend to stink the fridge out a bit, tho! This way, you can grab one or two packets & head off for a fish. I usually gently squeeze as much water out of it as I can, then tease it out so there are no big clumps, before wrapping it in a sheet of paper. I believe that excess water & big clumps makes the weed go slimey. If I have more weed, I store it on a bit of damp towells or hessian sacking, in layers. Or put it in egg cartons, along with some cabbage. The cardboard of the egg carton dries the weed out a little bit, but not totally. Store in a cool place. Spread the weed out on the sacking evenly & cover with another damp towell. I also vacuum pack some that has also been wrapped in paper. However, nothing beats fresh weed or cabbage. With cabbage, I usually layer it between bits of 'paper towelling' in a plastic container & keep it in the fridge. When I take it with me, I fill it with fresh salt water to revive it then pour out the excess water when I leave & put it back in the fridge with the lid on. It usually doesn't keep as well as weed does. Some folk store it in tubs in fresh salt water that has to be changed daily, or wash the whole lot in fresh salt water every 3 days or so. Once again, use it or lose it.
20) Fishing at night for blackies does work if using weed, but it is more efficient if using live nippers or blood/squirt worms. Seems they take a liking to these during the day as well, later in the year when they are in need of a flesh diet. At worst, you'll catch some nice bream! At best, a whopper blackie.
21) Different types of weed - there are about 10 different types of soft stringy weed, bubbly stringy weed, slimey stringy weed - all depending on where it grows. We even have some up here we call 'Berry Weed' as it has little bumps on it! It really stinks too, but at times, it is the only one the fish will take! The fish will take some or all of it at any given time. Sometimes, they will only want cabbage, so make sure you take a selection of weed and cabbage with you & try a different one if you are not getting bites on the first one. Some is pale green but most is a darker green. There is soft weed & wire weed. Wire weed looks a bit like pot cleaning material & is usually attached to the hook by placing the hook into it, getting about 10 strands into the bend of the hook. Twist the hook 180 degrees & place the point thru the weed again. Whilst gently holding the base of the weed & the weed already on the hook, pull the hook away. A small amount of straggly weed should remain on the hook. This is sufficient to use. You can also put it on thru the loop, same as the soft weed. This wire weed quickly goes very limp if left in the sun or mishandled. An insulated box (eg 6 can esky) is good for maintaining all types of weed to keep it at its best. LA's Tip - When you are getting the most viscious downs and your weed bait is still as (pristine as when you offered it to the fish and you should be hooking fish,) try cabbage Always take both cabbage and weed with you!
22) Where do you find blackfish? Have you ever walked along a breakwall or estuary & seen big fish patrolling back & forth along the edge of the rocks & weed beds? Usually they are blackfish/luderick. If you have been looking at a weedy area & seen flashes of silver - those are usually blackfish, feeding in the shallows. They roll on their sides to grab the weed growing on the rocks & structure. Once you see that silver flash, you know they are in feeding mode, so go grab your gear & get into it! You can fish for them from as shallow as 30cm or as deep as 5 - 8m! That is what you have to find out! What depth are they feeding?? If you have keen eyesight, check out the line of the guy next to you if he is catching. When he brings in a fish, you should be able to see how far up his line the 'rubber stopper' or "woollen knot'' is. Move yours to the similar depth & try again! Check out likely spots & ask the locals if they can recommend where to fish. Before heading down to the bottom of the rocks, scan the area to see if there are any nice flat rock ledges to stand on & put your gear on. You will find that there are quite a few up & down most breakwalls. If you see bits of weed lying around, you can be assured it is a good spot for blackies! If you are getting bites, but not hooking up, firstly, try adjusting the depth you are fishing and the size of the baits. The smaller the baits, the better chance of them being sucked in quickly, rather than just being nibbled. When fishing faster flowing water out from the rocks, try moving the split shot weights further down the trace, so only 15-20cm trace is below the weights.
23) There is a bit of Blackfishing Etiquette that needs to be observed - it is not wise to crowd in on someone already in a spot (even if it is your favourite spot) unless you ask them if it is 'ok' to join in. If they say 'no', just move up or down from them about 5-10m. As you become more skilled in casting & controlling your float you will be able to fish with total strangers, shoulder to shoulder, without fear of fouling their lines. Nothing worse than casting over someone else's float & losing their fish for them!
24) Koalaboi and Luderick59 have perfected the art of fishing the flat rock ledges at high tide (called 'Pussyfooting') - a real art in itself & an exciting way to fish the big tides at full moon. The more wash/white water, the better, as the fish are more active then. As the waves wash over the flat rock platform, toss the cabbage into the wash & HANG ON!! Koalaboi uses a 7ft spinning rod (it doubles as my SP flattie stick)...small threadline, 6lb line and 00 split shot if needed plus hook. Your terminal tackle fits in a flim container! Luderick59 uses a blackie rod with a tiny bit of weight (small bit of sheet lead with a hole in it, to the swivel.) It planes well when retrieved & also allows the cabbage to float around very realistically.
You're looking for a large rock platform that is mostly dry at low tide (when you find your cabbage supplies) but well covered at high tide. Work out where the wash will take your bait as each wave comes over the front then drains back to the sea. Often you'll find a rockpool or gully in the rocks along the drainage path. At high tide, blackfish love these spots. Stand upstream of the hole and drop your unweighted cabbage bait in. If you have a tail wind, you can chuck it out. It's surprising how far you can flick an unweighted weed or cabbage bait with the wind behind you...just dunk it in some water first. Sometimes a split shot crimped onto your line about 2 feet above the hook can help with casting or keeping your bait down in foamy, fast flowing water. Allow the current to take it out by keeping the bail arm of your reel open and feeding line out.
Sometimes the take is a sudden rush. Sometimes, watching your line on the surface you see it doing something strange. Mostly though, you get to the end of your drift, carefully take up the slack and strike. More often than not, there's a fish on!
25)Koaloaboi's Float Recipe:
1/4 inch dowel
fluoro paint in your fav colour (a white undercoat really helps)
coarse and fine sand paper
1. Place cork in vice and drill neatly through the centre with a drill bit that almost matches your dowel.
2. Ram the cork onto a short (about twice as long as the cork) sharpened length of dowel and place dowel into the business end of your drill which has been mounted in your vice.
3. Using the coarse sandpaper first, turn on the drill and shape your cork.
4. Fine sandpaper lightly next to give a clean finish to your cork.
5. Cut your dowel to the required length and sharpen both ends...you don't want or need a needle point.
6. Keeping an old foam fruit/broccoli box as a stand, spray the top of your float in your fluoro colour then jam it into the foam to dry. A couple of coats is good. Have some floats black at the top too...they are much easier to see on glary days
7. Jam the cork onto the stem and spray black (flat is best) and then stick the float upside down in the foam holes to dry. You can slide the cork up and down the stem to get a nice coverage. It's hard to explain but obvious when you do it.
8. Give the cork a couple of coats of varnish to seal.
9. I use short sections of plastic tubing to fix the line to the float..to stop it slipping from your preset depth, twist the line arond the float a few times.
Go fishing ... you can get plenty of corks from your next trip to the wineries or any restaurant!
Roosterman's recipe for floats:
i got the cedar from my neighbour who was a chippy years ago and i think it was western cedar as it is dark colored.. he cut it into 1" x 1" and i chamfered edges with a planer then used a orbital sander in a vice upside down to shape it with a slight taper and different lengths and widths for different weight floats...i also used a drill at times and put end in the chuck but be careful and only use slow speeds with slight pressure not to break the float... always use apropriate safety , eg masks/glasse..
once shaping is done you can make some runners by cutting the ends of small safety pins and bending the 2 legs at right angles with enough length for eyelet to stop line laying on float but not too long as can cause issues,maybe 5mm or so.... bind them on with cotton/dental floss or proper binding string.. paint some good bright fluro/yellow/reds/oranges on tips and some black also as this helps on those real bright days.. seal it all with some thin coats of laquer and your done...
They will last a lifetime unless unlucky enough to lose them to a fish... i have some floats that are 15yrs old and just needed a touch up to brighten up the paint... check these weapons out....
top 2 are cedar,next 2 are made with cork on wood skewers and bottom one skewer/styrofoam i think...
i lost a heap of gear years ago so need to make some more but between these i can fish all different conditions ... making your own gear is enjoyable and very rewarding..
26) Beware of the Black Trevally (also known as a Happy Moment.) They are very similar to blackfish, but have a blotchy body & bright green eyes, instead of the pin stripe suit that blackies have. They inhabit the same waterways & eat the same weed, so it is just a matter of time before you pull one in. They give a very painful spike if mishandled - the best remedy if spiked is to put the affected part into water that is as hot as you can stand. Cold water stings are unstable in hot water.
Black Trevally/Happy Moment - beware of its spines.
You will have days of elation when the blackies are 'on' & days of despair, when nothing works! That is blackie fishing! That is why we keep going back! Get out & give it a go - you might just enjoy it - I should know ..... after years of resistance, it happened to me!
Cheers & tight lines