fragmeister

Bottom Bouncing Strategies

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Hi Raiders,

Last Friday I used a few different bottom bouncing strategies and tried to monitor the results. I know that there a few Raiders out there who have a lot of success with this style of fishing so I was interested in their comments and suggestions.

I was mainly targeting flathead off Rosa Gully on South Head.

I use a pretty standard two hook paternoster rig so I guess the variables are.

  • Distance from sinker to the first hook   -    Mine is about 600 mm
  • Distance to the second hook -  Mine is about 450 mm
  • Size of the snapper lead  -  Varies on the current/ drift
  • Distance behind the boat - obviously you want to be on the bottom but you can be a long way back if you choose.
  • Bait used -  I like tough baits like quid strips or some tough fish strips.

Here are some observations...

I noticed that when the baits were on the bottom but in close it was always the bottom bait that was taken while the top bait was virtually untouched.  Does this mean that the top baits  (about 1 meter from the bottom ) were out of range of the fish and went unnoticed?

I noticed that if I had a lot more line out then bites were more detectable and both baits were taken - This appears to mean that with the line out further the angle was shallower and put the top bait closer to the bottom.

I had two lines out and certainly, nearly all the larger specimens were caught on the rig with the heaviest sinker.

So.. what do you bottom bouncing experts make of that and do you have any comments, tips or suggestions.

 

Cheers

 

Jim

 

 

 

 

 

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I find for Flathead that a running sinker to a swivel, and a single hook off the swivel outfishes a paternoster rig consistently, and I never use the lazy paternoster rig with a loop to put the hooks on, it's easy, but not as effective as a single line, not a huge fan of Squid, fish bait is consistently better. Now drifting for other fish is another story, but you mentioned Flathead.

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41 minutes ago, noelm said:

I find for Flathead that a running sinker to a swivel, and a single hook off the swivel outfishes a paternoster rig consistently, and I never use the lazy paternoster rig with a loop to put the hooks on, it's easy, but not as effective as a single line, not a huge fan of Squid, fish bait is consistently better. Now drifting for other fish is another story, but you mentioned Flathead.

Thanks Noel,

Are you fishing offshore?  I am in between 30 and 40 meters depth.

Running sinkers are more of an estuary approach.

Edited by fragmeister

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You can try putting the sinker on the bottom dropper and having a hook on the bottom of the rig. This gets the baits closer to the bottom.

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Yep, offshore Flathead fishing, some "old timers" use two swivels with the sinker between them, but I prefer a running sinker myself.

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Like Noel I tend to use a single hook and a sinker stopped about 2-3 feet above the hook sometimes 4-5 feet depending on my mood, I also use paternoster and I drop down with reasonable heavy sinker depending on drift etc and this rod usually sits in a rod holder, I keep hold of the running sinker rig, I also use a floating bait but conditions have to be right for this. No set rules with me and vary my rigs according on the conditions and what I feel may work on the day.

Also I don't fish the very bottom, I hit bottom then wind a couple of turns on the spool, too close to bottom produces all the unwanted species, fewer bites off the bottom but better quality fish. Of coarse with Flathead I try and bounce the sinker along the sandy bottom, sometimes not easy in 60-100 metres of water.

Frank

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6 minutes ago, frankS said:

Like Noel I tend to use a single hook and a sinker stopped about 2-3 feet above the hook sometimes 4-5 feet depending on my mood, I also use paternoster and I drop down with reasonable heavy sinker depending on drift etc and this rod usually sits in a rod holder, I keep hold of the running sinker rig, I also use a floating bait but conditions have to be right for this. No set rules with me and vary my rigs according on the conditions and what I feel may work on the day.

Also I don't fish the very bottom, I hit bottom then wind a couple of turns on the spool, too close to bottom produces all the unwanted species, fewer bites off the bottom but better quality fish. Of coarse with Flathead I try and bounce the sinker along the sandy bottom, sometimes not easy in 60-100 metres of water.

Frank

So Frank, with the single hook rig , what style of sinker are you using? ... its hard to imagine anything else but a snapper lead having enough weight to keep it all down on or near the bottom.

 

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A Snapper lead is OK as a "running" sinker, sometimes if the drift is fast, I just put a short length of line off the swivel to attach the sinker, kind of like a paternoster, but much stronger (no loops) but the bait is on the bottom, this is for Flathead, drifting over patchy bottom for Snapper and Mowies I use a completely different rig.

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Usually a round ball ( make them ) but sometimes snapper lead or channel sinker, sometimes in really rough reef where snags are likely I will use and old bolt or even a slab of concrete if I knew the night before I was going to rough reef spots. Sometimes an old coffin style jig minus the hooks (Zinc) .

Frank

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1 minute ago, noelm said:

A Snapper lead is OK as a "running" sinker, sometimes if the drift is fast, I just put a short length of line off the swivel to attach the sinker, kind of like a paternoster, but much stronger (no loops) but the bait is on the bottom, this is for Flathead, drifting over patchy bottom for Snapper and Mowies I use a completely different rig.

Thanks Noel... that all makes good sense.  I think I achieve getting the baits down closer to the bottom by letting more line out but that just gives me more to reel in and that's not a lot of fun.

Cheers

Jim

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2 minutes ago, frankS said:

Usually a round ball ( make them ) but sometimes snapper lead or channel sinker, sometimes in really rough reef where snags are likely I will use and old bolt or even a slab of concrete if I knew the night before I was going to rough reef spots. Sometimes an old coffin style jig minus the hooks (Zinc) .

Frank

Thanks Frank,

 

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Hi Jim

Interesting topic. I do alot of bottom bashing for various species such as flathead, snapper, pearl perch, pigfish etc.

Ill start by saying that yes, the type of rig used will have some impact on success, but it is quite low on the priority list in my opinion. This probably goes without saying but by far the biggest influencers in my opinion on whether you are catching on the day is location, drift speed/direction and bait. Sometimes its like finding a needle in a haystack and most people who fish with me for the first time think i am crazy, but i spend no more than 15-20m in one spot before packing up and keep moving. I usually start in the deep water around 60-70m then work my way inshore until i drop the bait on their nose. Its not uncommon for me to fish from 630am and make 8-10 moves up to 11am before i finally find the fish, and usually get a good mixed bag within an hour or two. I have also had days where i bagged out on flathead in a single drift and left thinking, ok well what do i do for the rest of the morning.

Beyond that, i find most species respond to a paternoster rig reasonably well and are not overly obsessed about hook location.

All of my bottom bashing is done on the drift and my comments are in that reference. So others may have different methods for when anchored up and deploying a burley trail.

I only ever use the "lazy paternoster" rig as @noelm calls it and have caught snapper up to 70cm using this rig. I fish 20-25lb line on all my bottom bashing gear. The first time i went bottom bashing, i did so with a running ball sinker. I stopped doing that within a couple of trips as i found the paternoster outfished the ball sinker almost 4 to 1. An observation i do have that may interest some, is that i have had good success catching XL flounder off manly using the ball sinker rig, and found the flounder rarely went for the paternoster.

As to the question of whether ball sinker or paternoster rig is better, based on my experience the paternoster is far more effective, if i had to take a guess as to why it would be bait visibility. For flathead that have eyes ontop of their head looking up, a bait positioned and being dragged along the bottom would not be very visible to them, especially from a distance. This becomes even more important in deep water where there is little light, and fish sitting on or around the bottom see the bait silhouetted against the sunlight above. 

If your specifically targeting flathead, i set the first hook about 60-70cm off the dropper. i then set another hook relatively closer to the first hook, only another 40cm after the first. I always let some line out so that the angle from the boat to the line is between 30 and 45 degrees. In shallow water, or on days where there is bugger all current, if my line is straight down i find the fish will always take the bottom hook first. The explanation in my mind at least is quite simple, why swim to the higher bait and expose myself more (in what would be good conditions with clear water) potentially to another predatory fish around? This is why i like to fish with an angle on my line and with both hooks in close proximity, this means that both baits are relatively within the same striking distance. Double hook ups are very common for me.

If i am targeting reef species or fishing along the edge of a reef, i put my first hook at 60cm and then the next hook another 70-80cm after that, the logic being there is a hook down low for anything sitting on the bottom and a bait suspended higher for anything cruising the bottom of the water column. This makes the top bait even more visible from a distance.

This is in no way an exact science, as i have caught all species on both setups. 

Another consideration is bait, and presentation. Flathead really do not give a s$%t and will eat almost anything. Snapper and other reef species can be pickier, and will need a well presented bait to tempt a strike. I rarely ever fish with one type of bait, i will usually fish with prawns, pilchards and fish strips (frozen bonito, or slimeys caught on the day etc). occasionally i will have a soft plastic too.

The takeaway from all of the above should be this....dont stress too much over the type of rig you are using, youl never catch anything if you dont find the fish first. Bottom bashing is all about mixing it up, hook size, hook distance, bait etc.

Another thing to be mindful of is drift speed. Too slow and you dont cover enough ground, and your baits end up on the bottom and not visible, too fast and the fish become reluctant to follow or dont get a chance to zero in. For that i recommend you always have a sea anchor on board. 

Success factors (in order of precedence) for bottom bashing based on my experience (others will have different experiences i am sure) are:

1. Location

2. Drift Speed

3. Drift Direction ( in relation to seabed structure)

4. Bait Type/Bait Presentation

5. Hook Size

6. Rig Type or Setup

Thats all from me !

Edited by GoingFishing
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Fish similar to you Jim.

Snapper sinker on the bottom, size dependant of drift rate. 2 droppers above with 2/0 red long shank hooks. About 50cm between hooks and 50cm to the sinker. Amount of line out depends on the drift. Some days I don't jig the bait as the flatties will grab the moving bait as it drifts past their noses.

Quite often I will catch a fish on the top bait, nothing on the bottom bait. The flatties will swim up to a bait, and on 2 occasions I have had a flattie swim up the 30 to 40 metres chasing a hooked fish, then grab the other bait and hook up. Not all flatties sit on the bottom and wait for food, some are more active than others (includes the duskies up river)

Mostly catch flatties outside - Blue Spots, occasional Tigers and very occasional Marbled. Also many small Spiky or Long Spined flatties. Other fish include Flounder, occasional Kingfish, Tailor, Slimy Mackerel, Bonito from the bottom and various reef species.

I use a fish strip for bait, and when I catch a Spiky, I use fillets from those, 2 baits from a larger Spiky fillet and the fillets are fairly tough. Free bait that I don't have to buy.

Dave.

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I tend to use the 'lazy' patternoster rig with two droppers. When the leatherjacket aren't in plague proportions I will forgo the bait on the top hook and instead use a 5-6" gulp curl tail and unweighted hook to suit, if the leatherjacket are around this is an expensive exercise and i avoid it. I find that with flathead my better fish come on that top hook.

I prefer fish baits to squid when it comes to flathead but do like squid for over the reef.

I rarely net flathead these days instead preferring to lift them over the side from the rod. As a result the full length of my rig is probably only the length of my rod with the droppers approximately 30cm long and far enough apart that they dont tangle one another.

When fishing deeper water using a running sinker rig will only cause you tangles unless you intend on dropping the rig ridiculously slowly. 

Where possible i prefer to use half pound snapper leads but because my hard top acts as a kite even with my giant sea anchor out i find myself predominantly using 3/4 pound leads.

For all my bottom fishing gear i tend to use braid and have a glow bead above a snap swivel for a couple of reasons. The glow bead protects the rod tip eyelet from the snap swivel being wound into it and by using a snap swivel you remove the line twist and when i comes time to head for home it is just a simple matter of unclipping the rig and throwing it in the rubbish bucket for disposal back at the ramp. I tend to use 8kg (roughly 20lb) leader. What this does mean is that i tend to lose any sharks hooked on the bottom that in years gone by we may have caught but it does provide a noticeable increase in bites using the lighter leader.

What yowie said about flathead being great bait for flathead is 100% correct but is technically illegal for those playing at home

Edited by New Signing
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2 hours ago, New Signing said:

 

What yowie said about flathead being great bait for flathead is 100% correct but is technically illegal for those playing at home

No size limit on Spiky or Long Spined Flathead. They grow to about 35cm, most caught are under 30cm.

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Just now, Yowie said:

Fish similar to you Jim.

Snapper sinker on the bottom, size dependant of drift rate. 2 droppers above with 2/0 red long shank hooks. About 50cm between hooks and 50cm to the sinker. Amount of line out depends on the drift. Some days I don't jig the bait as the flatties will grab the moving bait as it drifts past their noses.

Quite often I will catch a fish on the top bait, nothing on the bottom bait. The flatties will swim up to a bait, and on 2 occasions I have had a flattie swim up the 30 to 40 metres chasing a hooked fish, then grab the other bait and hook up. Not all flatties sit on the bottom and wait for food, some are more active than others (includes the duskies up river)

Mostly catch flatties outside - Blue Spots, occasional Tigers and very occasional Marbled. Also many small Spiky or Long Spined flatties. Other fish include Flounder, occasional Kingfish, Tailor, Slimy Mackerel, Bonito from the bottom and various reef species.

I use a fish strip for bait, and when I catch a Spiky, I use fillets from those, 2 baits from a larger Spiky fillet and the fillets are fairly tough. Free bait that I don't have to buy.

Dave.

Thanks Dave... Yes, I agree that flathead for flathead is a great bait.

Cheers Jim

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Just now, GoingFishing said:

Success factors (in order of precedence) for bottom bashing based on my experience (others will have different experiences i am sure) are:

1. Location

2. Drift Speed

3. Drift Direction ( in relation to seabed structure)

4. Bait Type/Bait Presentation

5. Hook Size

6. Rig Type or Setup

Thats all from me !

Edited 2 hours ago by GoingFishing

Thank for the well-considered and detailed post.

I note that you certainly come up with the goods in the bottom bashing department and I know I m not the only Raider you have shared excellent resources within this forum.

Cheers and thanks again.

 

Jim

 

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2 hours ago, fragmeister said:

Thank for the well-considered and detailed post.

I note that you certainly come up with the goods in the bottom bashing department and I know I m not the only Raider you have shared excellent resources within this forum.

Cheers and thanks again.

 

Jim

 

Cheers mate ! Happy to share.

Touching on #1 on the list. It pays to trial and error spots to locate reef and structure. Once you have this information you can decide how to fish it based on the prevailing conditions.

For example in the image below:

Dark blue....drift in a true north or south wind blowing.

Red. Drift in a east or west wind blowing

Light blue.....fish in north east or south west wind blowing.

I find the patches between different reefs the best as they function as a "fish highway".

Screenshot_20190219-181253_Photo Editor.jpg

Edited by GoingFishing
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i fish for Flathead using a micro jig with some bait on the hook, works a absolute treat and is simple with no tangles or anything, of course would only do this on sand bottom where i know i'm not going to get snagged, otherwise i just run a patternosta, i tie mine so i have no double up line to connect hooks to, have a look at how long liners set theres up to understand what i mean 

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On 3/1/2019 at 12:25 PM, rozza_b said:

i fish for Flathead using a micro jig with some bait on the hook, works a absolute treat and is simple with no tangles or anything, of course would only do this on sand bottom where i know i'm not going to get snagged, otherwise i just run a patternosta, i tie mine so i have no double up line to connect hooks to, have a look at how long liners set theres up to understand what i mean 

Interestingly, flathead are my most common bycatch when I am doing a bit of prospecting with micro jigs for kings around the artificial reef.

My only question would be, have you tried this in say 30-50 meters of water? I am wondering whether you could get a micro jig close to the bottom in any sort of drift.

 

Cheers

 

Jim

 

 

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On 2/19/2019 at 1:55 PM, New Signing said:

I tend to use the 'lazy' patternoster rig with two droppers. When the leatherjacket aren't in plague proportions I will forgo the bait on the top hook and instead use a 5-6" gulp curl tail and unweighted hook to suit, if the leatherjacket are around this is an expensive exercise and i avoid it. I find that with flathead my better fish come on that top hook.

I prefer fish baits to squid when it comes to flathead but do like squid for over the reef.

I rarely net flathead these days instead preferring to lift them over the side from the rod. As a result the full length of my rig is probably only the length of my rod with the droppers approximately 30cm long and far enough apart that they dont tangle one another.

When fishing deeper water using a running sinker rig will only cause you tangles unless you intend on dropping the rig ridiculously slowly. 

Where possible i prefer to use half pound snapper leads but because my hard top acts as a kite even with my giant sea anchor out i find myself predominantly using 3/4 pound leads.

For all my bottom fishing gear i tend to use braid and have a glow bead above a snap swivel for a couple of reasons. The glow bead protects the rod tip eyelet from the snap swivel being wound into it and by using a snap swivel you remove the line twist and when i comes time to head for home it is just a simple matter of unclipping the rig and throwing it in the rubbish bucket for disposal back at the ramp. I tend to use 8kg (roughly 20lb) leader. What this does mean is that i tend to lose any sharks hooked on the bottom that in years gone by we may have caught but it does provide a noticeable increase in bites using the lighter leader.

What yowie said about flathead being great bait for flathead is 100% correct but is technically illegal for those playing at home

It doesn't make sense that you say you get a noticeable increase in bites using the lighter leader, yet you use the "lazy" loop system that doubles the line thickness for little increase in line strength, but, fishing is a confidence thing, fish however you feel comfortable, we all vary in techniques and most get results, especially on Flathead.

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1 hour ago, fragmeister said:

Interestingly, flathead are my most common bycatch when I am doing a bit of prospecting with micro jigs for kings around the artificial reef.

My only question would be, have you tried this in say 30-50 meters of water? I am wondering whether you could get a micro jig close to the bottom in any sort of drift.

 

Cheers

 

Jim

 

 

Yeah that doesn't surprise me at all on getting them as bycatch when prospecting. You must be running your jig along the bottom to be picking them up though. 

I only really fish for flatties in 1 spot and it's in 30m of water 

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1 hour ago, noelm said:

It doesn't make sense that you say you get a noticeable increase in bites using the lighter leader, yet you use the "lazy" loop system that doubles the line thickness for little increase in line strength, but, fishing is a confidence thing, fish however you feel comfortable, we all vary in techniques and most get results, especially on Flathead.

I cant comment on others behalf but for me the lazy loop has nothing to do with line strength....its really only to allow fast on and off for hooks but especially the snapper sinkers as i change depths.

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Instead of a snapper lead on the bottom, I use a Shimano Bottom Ship Jig (or similar) in weights from about 40g up to 120g, depending on the depth and the drift speed. I general drift for blue spot flathead in 35-45m or so. About 45cm above that, I run my first dropper and 30-45 above that, I run my second dropper. My droppers are usually 30-40cm long. I tie single strand droppers at home (I still have to go to YouTube to remember how to do it!) but if I have to rerig at sea, I usually just tie a standard dropper loop. However, sometimes I cut the loop so it’s single strand. I use 30lb or 40lb Vanish fluorocarbon leader and droppers and 20 or 30lb J Braid mainline. I frequently get triple hookups or if I feel I’ve been baited, I often get a hit on the jig on the way up. I generally use strips of slimy mackerel on both hooks but sometimes I mix up the baits and sometimes I use a plastic squid on the top hook.

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It's fine for sinkers, but doubling line flies in the face of light leader producing more bites, especially in hard fish areas, but as I said, it's a personal thing, what works for you is what you use.

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