Mattymattmatt

Need some help. Sick of catching small fish

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Hi guys, I’ve been fishing for a while now but I seem to only catch smallies like bream, yakka, tailor. I’ve never caught a fish past 25cm. I’ve tried to target bigger fish by using lures and fresh bait with the appropriate hook and sinker but sadly with no luck. I’ve fished many places around the harbour and parra river both day and night in between tidal changes and I’m left empty handed. I’m sure some of you know how frustrating it is to dream of catching that one big fish for years and years pouring all your money on bait,tackle,lures excited to go fishing for a big one then coming home with nothing but frustration. I keep telling myself to be patient because I may catch a big one next time, and the next, then the next.... it’s been about 3-4 years since I’ve been on this quest. If someone with experience can take me on a fishing trip and teach me the right things to do it’d be greatly appreciated. Don’t need to catch fish, the knowledge and techniques will be plenty.

Edited by Mattymattmatt
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Don't worry your not alone.

Ive been trying to catch a legal King& Jew in Botany bay for 10 years & it still hasn't happened, but I am going to succeed with persistence by gaining more knowledge.

The biggest thing I have found is to pick what you want to target, research what you need to target the species with as far as rod/reel/rigs etc & also locations.

Its all about the R&D really.

 

Hate to say it but keep at it, refine your rigs & keep trying different locations.

 

Edited by kingie chaser

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9 minutes ago, kingie chaser said:

Don't worry your not alone.

Ive been trying to catch a legal King& Jew in Botany bay for 10 years & it still hasn't happened, but I am going to succeed with persistence by gaining more knowledge.

The biggest thing I have found is to pick what you want to target, research what you need to target the species with as far as rod/reel/rigs etc & also locations.

Its all about the R&D really.

 

Hate to say it but keep at it, refine your rigs & keep trying different locations.

 

The worst feeling is when you see someone next to you land a big one. Happened twice in the same week. One bloke caught a 6kg Jewie and another day this guy caught a kingfish about 10 metres away from him on plain old prawns!

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Sure, there is an element of luck as well thrown in with all that.theory.

Equaly you could.spend.hours catching live bait for zero result & the guy next to you catches the prized fish with a Hawkesbury prawn BUT 9 tomes out of 10 the person that puts in the time to catch the fresh bait will generally do better.

In saying that I am a big plastics & lure fan, then you need to work out what shape/colour will work for a particular species.

Some are universal some are not.

It takes time & effort so all I can say is keep at it, invest your time into reading as many articles as you can & look up as many forum topics to get tips.

I have spent 1000's of.hours looking up articles, reading books & magazines & used google to help research what it is I want to learn.

As an example use this forums search tab & look up some old threads that will give you some info on locatios etc!!

Mind you my father was a fisho so that helped a bit as well.

Edited by kingie chaser

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Hey matty

Kingie chaser has toucher on an important note......R&D. 

Most people who fish for jew will tell u they exclusively fish for jew in the trip they target them (often get other by catch). 

I suggest you pick a target species, research the best rig for that species and then do research on land based spots for those species.....every little change you make such as rig/ location/time of day etc will increase your chances.

For instance if your targeting kingfish your best off fishing a live bait or whole fresh squid under a float, not on a sinker that will take the bait to the bottom. Meanwhile, you would do the complete opposite for jewfish

Edited by GoingFishing
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Antonio Banderas said it well: “the source of frustration is expectation”. We do live in a highly urbanised location with a raft of commercial, recreational and environmental pressures on stocks. Throw into the mix forums like this and magazines/tv shows that highlight trophy species being caught seemingly at will and I can understand your expectation to land a monster, especially after trying for so long.

Greater Sydney still offers anglers the chance to land big fish, but it’s becoming increasingly expensive and difficult. So you have to ask yourself how badly you want to catch a large fish and how much you’re willing to invest? Is it worth reassessing your goal?

I’ve given up targeting Jew, kings and large tuna. Put simply the cost of equipment, fuel, time etc doesn’t match up with the reward in my opinion. If it were the 80’s when you could catch Jew, legal kings and big bluefin tuna more easily it would be a different story but those days are long gone.

I’m happy to just catch the odd bream, flathead or crab with my kids and spend more time gardening and growing food. But that’s me and each to their own.

good luck with reaching your fishing goals, I think you’re on the right track seeking out a mentor, I hope you find one that can help.

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I was contacted by a couple of fellas who were in the same predicament as you having fished for several years and not landing a fish over 1kg. I offered to take them for a shore fish in my local area with the knowledge of there being no guarantees when it comes to fishing. 

Firstly they were stoked simply catching the salmon we use as bait but two hours after dark when the gummies were patrolling the shoreline their excitement took on a new level. Eight gummies to 20kg + soon made their 1000km drive up from Melbourne worth while. Since then they've been giving it a go on their own but not had to much luck but they don't seem to have that pressure or frustration anymore.

I used to fish Sydneys beaches with a good success rate on jews, sharks and other species. Having this success didn't come from waiting for a calm sunny day to head off for a fish, if I had, I'm sure I would still be in that rarely catching big category.

Moon and tide changes soon became my fish catching clock. A couple of days before both the full and dark of the moon meant I could fish a high water tide change after dark every two weeks.  All that was needed was the first two hours of dark to almost guarantee double figure fish on each trip.

learning to read the beach and what gutters look productive can be a quick learning curve by simply walking the shoreline flicking lures for salmon and tailor in the daylight. Once you learne where these fish live you know you are in with a good chance of finding bigger predators in that area after dark.

Personaly I like deep gutters right at my feet so I can cast big baits with very little effort or need to get the baits along way out, jews and sharks will literally often only be a gentle lob of a cast out.

I don't like using wire at all, I also check and mostly change my baits every ten to fifteen mins.

This was one of the gummies I introduced the Vic fellas to.

 

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Edited by JonD
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All comments above about research, focusing on a target species, persistence and luck are all true - they all factor in to your success rate. I would even go as far to say that it's 50% luck and 50% all other factors mentioned above. 

To keep things simple, I would:

* Find nearest beach for you to pump yabbies from.

* Use light bream gear with light line , size 2 long shank hooks.

* Fish the same area where you pump yabbies, at low tide, just off the edge off the flats (i.e. drop offs). 

You will catch lots of small fish but also have a chance at decent flatties, bream and whiting.

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Hi MMM,

On one hand I get your frustration but on the other hand if you are only 22 you have a lifetime of fishing ahead of you and have gear available to you that wasn't really around when many of us started. First thing is get a mentor or preferably more than one. Don't take everything they say as set in stone but look at the logic behind what they show you and see if the why makes sense.

You will have a bit of work (play) ahead of you to kick it up to the next level. I am working with a few people at the moment and when I take someone on it is usually a 6 to 8 hour session to start with to teach soft plastic basics on light gear (7 foot graphite rod 2500 reel and 4lb or really fine 6lb braid). We then branch out into slices, blades, squid jigs, spinners, retrieval techniques, fighting techniques, locations, etc. Once they have the hang of that then a lot of what we work through scales up (graphite snapper rod, 4000 reel and 15lb braid). One of the guys I worked with (and still fish with) since mid last year smugly sent me a text today to tell me he is on his 20th king for 2019. None legal but he his having fun and catching an increasing amount of species. The best part he and his mate (who I have also been working with) have been doing it on bream gear which is a real buzz.

I was introduced to soft plastics over a decade ago and it opened up my fishing world again. I had what I would now consider the wrong gear and an extremely basic introduction to them but was stoked to hook and land a silver trevally on a white 2" grub. Since then I have put a lot of thought into what works and why and teaching others has helped refine what I do further.

As a starting point do you have a suitable light graphite rod (2-4kg) and braid outfit? Do you know how to catch squid? In your case start concentrating on flathead. Plenty of Youtube clips out there. I am not into ultra-light jigheads when chasing flathead. I won't use anything less than 1/8oz and will go up to 1/4oz or even 9gm as it allows me to cover distance. I'm a big fan of the Berkley minnows as it is a similar profile to many baitfish out there. On a side note spend some time learning to catch squid. I put these out on a twin hook rig on 20lb gear to chase jewfish. I strip them and send them unweighted through the water column from various ferry wharves when chasing kings.

There are some really good pinned articles on catching squid and look through my past posts for the advice I have given on squidding. I have also done a write up for a Michael on catching kings in the moorings. Read that if you can find it. If you are still having problems then I can probably work with you once my current pupils get along a bit further.

Regards,

Derek

PS. What @anthman said is another good approach to improving your catch rate.

Edited by DerekD
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Welcome to come with me sometime. Shot me a message and ill get you on to something bigger than 25cm!

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Go target carp, the old mud marlin will tickle your boots. Fight harder than a murray cod in my opinion.

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A few things that work for me: 1, Use the lightest possible leader and hooks although the strength of the fish your fighting along with the sharpness of their teeth must be taken into account. 2, find out the feeding habits of the species you want to target this can be used like this: say you want to target flathead with soft plastics, the flatties are going to be around reefs or structures facing the direction of the flow, the water colour might also dictate your choice on lure colour. 3, Are you fishing in the right spot are the fish your targeting known to be caught where your fishing and are they normally bigger than 25cms? 4, target a specific species using the above techniques and then count bi catch as a bonus. 5, tie good knots and use good quality tackle because when you do hook the big one you have to be able to land it. 

Fishing is 50% skill, knowledge and determination and 50% Chance / blessings. You could be doing all the right things and make no mistakes and never catch a fish in your life or you might do all the wrong things and catch a record fish. Another tip is to not treat fishing in general like a competition the better fisher is the one who can preform well under individual circumstances and not the one who caught the biggest fish.

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All of the time, effort, money spent is finally beginning to pay off. I would like to thank all the informative responses from everyone especially Derek! Finally catching fish well over 25cm, the only thing that’s 25cm is the smile on my face :) 

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Edited by mrsswordfisherman
Site rule breach - no obliteration of face, location etc
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That's the beauty of this site MMM. If you ask the right questions, in the right manner, there are plenty of well informed people who can offer sound advice. Derek is a wealth of knowledge and willing to pass on his capabilities to others. I know that first hand. There are numerous people on this site who are able to help others who are struggling with things. At 22 you will have tons of time to practice your new techniques. Cheers, bn

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I’d like to help anyone who comes across this thread. Not all fisherman are selfish secretive agents :) a few things which I found to be important are:

-the lighter the gear the more bites you will get 

-fresh bait is crucial if your planning on catching good sized fish

-persistence is key don’t give up

-fish inbetween the tidal changes 

-learn how to catch your own bait, it’s way more fun and cheaper. You can get a squid jig, halcro twisty, soft plastic total for around 30$ and catch yourself FRESH squid, yakka, tailor, slimy which will set you at a higher catch rate then those people next to you using frozen pillies and servo prawns.

-if something’s not working never hesitate to switch things up. If you can’t catch at a certain spot, move someplace elsewhere. Change lure/bait variety’s, cast different positions and depths. 

 

- if you’re fishing at night keep the noise to a minimum and after the session, don’t forget to clean up after yourselves please. The more I fish, the more I get to see how much us fisherman show no manners for keeping our wharves and waterways clean.

 

theres a lot of very highly skilled fisherman on this forum who share many decades worth of knowledge. Dont be shy to create a thread (I know I was) and give back the tips and tricks just as I am :)

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Edited by mrsswordfisherman
Site rule breach - no obliteration of face, location etc
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6 hours ago, Mattymattmatt said:

-the lighter the gear the more bites you will get 

Very true, some times you will get dusted but you will get more fish if they are there 

-fresh bait is crucial if your planning on catching good sized fish

But not nessacarily a must, otherwise why do we use lures at all, its part of an approach for sure, knowing your species is part of this, how they feed, what they will take etc! 

-persistence is key don’t give up

Very true, you wont catch anything sitting on the lounge.

-fish inbetween the tidal changes 

Depends on what you are trying to catch but I am more of a fishing a couple of hours each side of a tidal change, its the change itself that brings the fish into feeding mode, everyone has their own theory!

-learn how to catch your own bait, it’s way more fun and cheaper. You can get a squid jig, halcro twisty, soft plastic total for around 30$ and catch yourself FRESH squid, yakka, tailor, slimy which will set you at a higher catch rate then those people next to you using frozen pillies and servo prawns.

Don't forget about Sabaki's, there is always a couple of packets in my tackle box, also a nipper pump is something else that comes in handy.

-if something’s not working never hesitate to switch things up. If you can’t catch at a certain spot, move someplace elsewhere. Change lure/bait variety’s, cast different positions and depths. 

As you have said, sometimes the guy next to you catching the big fish on servo prawns so don't discount anything in fishing, as you also say if something is not working try another method/bait/lure. Fish will only take the bait they are in the mood for not what you want to present to them!

Dont be shy to create a thread (I know I was) and give back the tips and tricks just as I am :)

I would say rather than creating a thread look for content that already exists & re open/add to them if you have a question, imo its easier to continue on with a thread that is already on the path.  

 

Well Matty congratulation is in order, not just for getting to the point that you are now but the fact you did persist, you leant new things to get you to this point.

You will never stop learning, whether its about the fish themselves, the tackle, the tides, the conditions, even tying different knots.

 

As to answer your second sentence statement, what annoys the hell out of me is when people putting in their 1st post & want to know all your spots, what bait you used, what time you were there, what rig you used etc etc without making any real effort themselves,

It takes half a lifetime to acquire knowledge & with minimal to no effort people expect, that right EXPECT that we are all going to drop at our knees & hand out the fish on a silver platter.  

 Anyway enjoy what you have leant & I look forward to seeing more great captures :biggrinthumb:

Edited by kingie chaser
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@Mattymattmatt I have taken some of your pics and altered them.

Your story and post is great and you mention the "smile on your face" several times. It is a pity we can't see that smile :) . It is your choice to keep your identity a secret. It may be preferable to take a brag mat with you and place the capture on it for a pic if you do not want to share your identity or location etc

Unfortunately you have breached Site Rules

 14. Posting of pictures/photos - no erasure, or alteration of any kind is permitted. If you do not wish to disclose location, person holding a fish or other elements in a photo then do NOT post the picture at all. No advertising links on photos. Pictures of this kind will be removed.

 

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Hi all, I’ve decided to post an update for anyone interested. It’s been about 6months since my last post and boy have I caught more fish! Some important notes:

- avoid frozen store bought baits (again), invest the time into catching your own fresh/live ones such as squid and yakkas trust me they pay off. Sabikis are great when there’s large schools of fish. yamashitas are awesome as well, they look a lot natural on the drop compared to some other ones I’ve tried.
 

- YouTube can be your teacher, there are thousands of videos on fishing teaching you about all the varieties of lures and retrieves along with anything else. Watch all of them and absorb the information. Snap swivels are a must! It saves you from retying hence keeps your leader the same length.
 

- google maps is a gold mine, do your research to find spots that work for you. Don’t expect to be spoon fed hidden locations on a silver platter, hop on google maps and ZOOM IN.

 

- don’t be lazy to burley up. if you can’t catch anything at spot x, unless it’s before a tidal change it’s better to move locations  even if it’s just 5mins away. 


-familiarize yourself with your drag system. Learn how much your line will take and how much to tighten from feel. Once you are hooked and the drag is running like crazy you can’t just stop to play around with your drag. Set the hook, adjust your drag, and pull the fish in make sure you have constant tension at all times.  
 

will attach some more photos of some of my catches. I’ve caught another 90cm jew yesterday which I forgot to take a photo of. Don’t underestimate your line, my bream rod is 4lb braid and my snapper rod is 15lb braid. It’s no skull dragger but it’s plenty enough and I have caught all my fish on this setup. You just need to work with the fish like when you’re on a seesaw.

good luck! 

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Posted (edited)

Hi Matty,

It has been an absolute pleasure to watch the growth in your knowledge with each success over the last year.

We've had some long conversations on gear, techniques and thinking like a fish but you have been the biggest factor in your dramatic improvement. I've really enjoyed the discussions where you have mentioned your latest aha moment and say you are really enjoying a variety of fishing styles.

When you mentioned you were getting more and more bream on soft plastics is when I think you'd graduated that course. You will start to crack the kingfish code sooner or later too.

If you get the chance it is worth taking a bit of time to mentor someone else. The questions they ask will help refine your knowledge because if they ask something you don't have a good answer to then it will need further examination. I make sure they are worth putting the time in to before I start and I have remained in contact with about half of them. The network helps us all catch more fish as you can't be all over Sydney at once and we keep each other up to date on what is working and where.

I also mentor because in my learning curve people have helped me here and there and it is a good way of passing the favour forward.

Well done and thank you for sharing.

Derek

Edited by DerekD
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