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Blackfish- painfully hard


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Hey raiders,

I know I have been putting up a few more posts about blackfish lately so here we go, me and my good mate @SaltyGreek, this day was just utter pain with very few downs and no hook ups we fished in the georges river setting our floats around 6-8 deep with beautiful weed we gathered on Friday, I got one good down where the float shot under and I struck and met with the feeling of a lunging heavy blackfish on the end of my line for around 5 seconds I shouted to Salty Greek "I'm on!" he said "What?!?!" as we were really surprised to even hook up and as soon as that hope came it left us when it pulled the hook. It was a really really slow day with only a couple downs between us both but no landed fish. We were using a burley with weed from another spot not even a few minutes apart that was pretty soggy and mixed in with sand and sticks and other debris. Is the reason we weren't getting any fish because it was a slow day or was it because it we didn't find the depth that they were feeding at i just don't know. Please help or give me suggestions to what I should do I was so keen to go out today and it just flopped horribly.

Cheers all, JamoDamo

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Hi JamoDamo,

The shot is to keep varying your tackle, bait, working on your strike and the playing of the fish:

1. Tackle:

  • I often find that missed strikes are usually due to not enough lead below the float. Try adding tiny bits of split shot (oo or ooo sizes) one at a time till your float is so delicately balanced that just a little is above the water, it may even submerge briefly as a wave comes through where you are fishing.
  • is your line greased with vaseline above the float to your rod tip? I grease it every time I go fishing. It makes it easy to lift the line from the water when you strike and is one of the best tips I¬†can give you. If your line sinks it makes¬†an effective strike¬†very difficult.
  • ensure that there is not too much slack line between your float and the rod...if you can have a straight line to the float it's much better when¬† you strike. Don't let it be too tight or you will be dragging the float which the fish will feel. On days when currents or wind see the line quickly develop a belly between rod and float, it pays to lift the line and straighten it when needed during each drift.
  • try varying the depth, sometimes they can be feeding surprisingly close to the surface, but more often deeper
  • before each session re-tie all the knots in your terminal tackle and put in a fresh length of leader
  • what size hook are you using? I use Mustad size 8 540-BR hooks
  • what size is your leader? I use either 6lb or more often 8lb fluorocarbon
  • how long is your leader? I don't like it shorter than 30 cm from lead to hook up to 50cm or more long
  • is the leader in¬†good condition? It may be frayed or even have a wind knot from casting so you need to check and replace as needed.¬†I often¬†re-tie the hook after landing 4 or 5 fish as the last couple of inches of¬† the leader (I half hitch my bait onto the line above the hook) and the knot do weaken after catching a few.

2. Strike

The most common reasons for a failure to hookup after a down are premature striking, too much belly in your line between the rod and float and a jerky strike which telegraphs resistance to the fish before the hook can set.

  • To start, not all downs are downs.....sometimes the float can pop up or jiggle sideways so you need to be on the lookout for that. If the float is popping up, it means the fish is taking the bait and swimming up so I will decrease the depth below the float if I am not hooking up from the rising float type of bite.
  • When you get a down, how long do¬†you wait till you strike? My default timing¬†is to count slowly to around 8. Sometimes longer sometimes shorter. I saw one FR up here the other day count to 20! The longest wait I've ever seen but, he got the fish! Each session can be different so experiment.
  • While waiting between down and strike, do¬†you gently take up any slack and have the rod tip down and pointed at the float? If not, you should. Make sure that you do not pull on the float till you strike. It has to be one smooth motion.
  • Some of the respected luderick¬†fisherman up my way call me the dentist because they reckon I strike so hard, I'll pull the fishs' teeth out! (I learned to fish for luderick off the rocks where¬†a harder strike is often needed to take up the slack in rougher conditions than still water fishing to ensure I hook the fish.) It's taken me a while to break the habit but as I now fish more in the still water of¬†Tuggerah Lakes, I try to strike with one¬†smooth but continuous lift of the rod, while reeling in the line¬†and found it better.¬†
  • It often happens that at the end of a drift, just when you decide to reel in and cast again, that a fish might be at your bait and you have not noticed. It pays to assume that you may have a down, so take up the slack and gently lift your rod at the start of your retrieve just¬†in case.

3. Playing the fish

  • Most fish escapes once¬†hooked, come from trying to drag them in too quickly. Don't rush. Using a centrepin reel, it's easy to let the fish take some line at the start of the fight and during the fight.¬†If fishing where there are waves, you need to be careful as they will use the strength of the wave to make a dash for freedom right at your feet. Give line whenever they take off and by the time they're ready to be netted or grabbed, they're on the surface, tired¬†and easy to grab, net or wash onto the shore.
  • Exceptions to giving line include steering them clear of rocks, barnacles, clumps of weed etc¬†
  • Keep your rod up high when playing a fish so that the flex in the rod cushions any sudden lunges

4. Bait

  • sometimes the fish prefer cabbage (esp if near the ocean) I prefer cabbage that is a bright, shiny green but usually if the fish are biting, they are not too fussy (most of the time!)
  • there are different kinds of weed: wire or soft, and some of the soft weed can vary greatly too in colour and texture
  • sometimes the brown algae or ribbon weed seem to do the trick though I don't really go there that often
  • how you present the bait on the hook. I mostly use cabbage and every fisher has their own way of baiting up.¬† I push the hook through the bottom of the cabbage twice leaving some below the bend of the hook, then gently twist or fold the top of the bait around the top of the hook and secure it onto¬†the leader with 2 half hitches above the eye of the hook.One problem I see is putting too much bait on the hook. Some blokes just fold a bait a few times into a little parcel and push the hook through leaving most of the hook bare.
  • when baiting with weed, select a length of strands, not too much and wind it around the shank above the eye then wind it in the opposite direction back down leaving a centimetre¬†or two below the bend of the hook. Different kinds of weed determine how many times and how tightly you wind the weed onto the hook.

Hope this helps. After a while, you will start doing these adjustments as a matter of course.

Just the same, some days they are just very hard to hook. Also, I often find that when getting downs with no or few hookups, that the fish are usually very small (though not always!)

Sometimes a tide change can make all the difference.

Keep at it, it's worth it in the long run.

KB

Edited by Koalaboi
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Some bloody good tips there KB!

Reckon you’ve got it all covered!

ūüĎćūüĎŹūüé£

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My suggestion on the burley is not to have it to wet, just moist & also can use some cheap coles bread through the mix, say 1 loaf per 20ltr bucket, forget the sticks & other things in it.

Also if weed is not working try prawns, Luderick are actually omnivores, they do & will eat-prawns, nippers, pipi's & worms.

If they are there but finicky then mix up your baits.

 

Good luck next time

Edited by kingie chaser
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I don't know where in the river you were fishing, but I find (and I am certainly not a Blackfish expert) that this time of the year, Blackfish will be down near the ocean, or out in the ocean, and are pretty hard to get to bite. When the westerlies start, Mullet and Blackfish gather in huge schools ready for a "run" up the coast.

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@Koalaboi I have copied that excellent piece of work into an article. 
I t will appear in our Articles section when set up again.

Thanks for taking the time to write that up. I am awarding you a Mentor badge for helping other members ;) 

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Thanks Donna,

JamoDamo has really been having a red hot dig over time and it was a privilege to be able to help him out.

You guys do a great job with this site which is always positive and respectful. I'm glad to be a part of it.

KB

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Swordfisherman went out luderick fishing today with his brother and a friend. 
It isn‚Äôt my fav type of fishing because I don‚Äôt pay attention to the float and miss the downs¬†ūü§™ūü§Ē

They managed to bag out and I am sure a report will be made.

Keep trying JamoDamo

180F507A-50DA-4A72-9E19-1257A62732E6.jpeg

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On 6/21/2020 at 8:22 PM, Burger said:

Some days they’re just not there....

Very true & sometimes your also not fishing in the right place.

 

You can have the best set up, the best bait etc if its not their usual habitat area then your not going get any takers.

 

As they say, location location location!

Move locations & try again. 

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Thanks to all who replied I really appreciate the help. I've got an excellent spot that always produces good weed 5 mins from home so i'll use it as bait and burley so they get tuned into what we are using as I believe that was one error we made.  SaltyGreek had trouble with the steelite so I am going to the the 455bxl luderick special on the float rod so he can use the sidecast option.  we've got to make premade burley and find the depth, i'll set it a rod length and if we aren't on the bottom i'll set it deeper and see if the float is laying over or just off the bottom and then i'll adjust 30cm up and start from there and find them. Thank you all so much for the replies @Koalaboi and everyone. Thanks all!

Cheers, JamoDamo

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Hi damo,

If your float pops up or is on its side because you are too close the the bottom, it's because your lead has hit the bottom. If you have a trace of 30cm and raise the depth 30cm you can still get snagged. You might like to raise it a bit further.

In my experience, blackfish usually feed around 4 to maybe 8 feet deep, frequently shallower but rarely much deeper.

Water clarity sometimes sends them down a bit if the water is really super clear and and especially if there is bright sun. But mostly 5 to 6 feet down.

KB

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3 hours ago, Koalaboi said:

Hi damo,

If your float pops up or is on its side because you are too close the the bottom, it's because your lead has hit the bottom. If you have a trace of 30cm and raise the depth 30cm you can still get snagged. You might like to raise it a bit further.

In my experience, blackfish usually feed around 4 to maybe 8 feet deep, frequently shallower but rarely much deeper.

Water clarity sometimes sends them down a bit if the water is really super clear and and especially if there is bright sun. But mostly 5 to 6 feet down.

KB

Would this be dependent on the depth of the water you are fishing or just generally 4-8 foot?

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8 hours ago, JamoDamo said:
8 hours ago, JamoDamo said:

SaltyGreek had trouble with the steelite

Yes I had a lot of trouble using it. Never have I had so much difficulty casting a centrepin. I guess the frustration was getting to me as I didn’t have a very good weekend overall. Next time you hear from me we will have caught blackfish. Thanks for all the tips and replies everyone, really appreciate it.

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11 hours ago, JamoDamo said:

Would this be dependent on the depth of the water you are fishing or just generally 4-8 foot?

I find that depth range works well in most depths of water though I have fished deeper than that on occasions but very, very rarely.

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Interestingly, our group never fishes that shallow. I think it may depend on the terrain.

Some Harbour spots we’re 20’ deep. Most spots are 9 to 12’.

Mind you, in the boat yard at work I see them grazing on the rock wall in just a couple of feet of water.

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When all else fails a very lightly or totally unweighted live nipper will catch blackfish. It's still my preferred way to target them particularly from a boat. Its even more effective after dark

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I have ZERO idea in fishing for blackfish but why dont you fish where you collect your bait? Where the food source is the fish will be i rckn

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33 minutes ago, JAKSShark said:

I have ZERO idea in fishing for blackfish but why dont you fish where you collect your bait? Where the food source is the fish will be i rckn

I used local weed collected from a nearby spot near my house with my mate I am considering making a weed farm so I don't have to constantly go on the hunt instead I can just get it from a soda bottle with weed and saltwater in it and later on a full on tub with it growing in it I am planning to grow all different types so I can have a good variety next time.

Cheers, JamoDamo

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1 hour ago, JAKSShark said:

I have ZERO idea in fishing for blackfish but why dont you fish where you collect your bait? Where the food source is the fish will be i rckn

Where we get our weed isn’t fishable. Too shallow

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