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ARTICLE - Spinning with Metal-Part 1


PaddyT
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Ive noticed a bit of interest from a few folk on the site about metal lures and using them for chasing pelagics-SO -i thought id write a bit of a story on chucking heavy metal and techniques/tackle etc.

A Bit of History

I started being interested in lure fishing in my early teens. I grew up in Castle Hill so not near the water and with non fishing parents . We did however go on fairly regular holidays to North Avoca where I started catching a few tailor of the beach on pillies and mullet. One Xmas hols i took a walk down to South Avoca "to see where the big fish lived" and was standing with my precious beach rod (A Daiwa GS9 and Rod that was a birthday present) at "Mugs Rock" catching rod cod in the sun . Suddenly a bloke ran up onto the rock with a Seascape festooned rod and yelled at me " have you got a lure kiddo,get one on and cast it out"-i dug into my tackle box and pulled out my one and only lure-a red sparkly Halco slice-30 or 35 grams (Waza will remember them), carefully tied it on with a crappy store bought wire trace and cast it out as far as i could (i was a bit of a twig as a kid so im guessing 30 meters). The bloke with the Seascape suddenly had a bent rod and "wham" so did i . The hit on the lure was life altering (as you will see)- and after what seemed an eternity i had what is still the biggest tailor i have ever caught flopping beside the rocks- Seascape man was still fighting what turned out to be a large striped tuna. He talked me through washing the chopper up and i doubt i wiped the smile off my face for about 6 months . I never weighed that fish but it was around the 8lb mark-and i still havent caught one bigger in the 38 years ive fished since! This fish (and watching Seascape man in action) started an addiction ive never beaten-just modified with time and circumstance. For me a good fish on a fast moving metal is as good as a marlin on the short corner or sight fishing a trout. The physical effort , the violent strike followed by head shakes and the inevitable hard run never lose their shine as far as im concerned and probably never will.

What Happened Next   

I was only 14  when i caught that tailor and remained pretty limited with transport and funds but like any addiction i wanted more. We continued to holiday at Nth Avoca and i managed to get a small rod and reel combo as my next fishing present -we had a family friend who worked for Capstan Plastics who had stopped manufacturing reels by that stage but had an agency for Diawa. The reel was a Black Diamond 1300 and held about 200 meters of 6lb nylon-but most importantly -it had a 5-1 gear ratio and had SPEED. By this stage i was getting up before dawn-walking 2km down the beach to Sth Avoca and had learnt a bit about bonito and rat kings and had caught bugger all . I had a few mini metals by now and a couple of the legendary 1/2x1/4's  but didnt realise that my GS9 was way too slow . That all changed one amazing January day (i was 16 i think) when the sea in front of the Avoca platform became a boiling mass of frigate mackeral and underneath bonito. That day i caught my first tuna species (frigates) and then the following day finally a couple of bonito-i had started to learn the art of landing fast fish off the rocks on light tackle . Spinning with 6lb mono off the rocks taught me very quickly about side pressure and rod angles-especially with a 6ft light spin stick.

From here the addiction just got deeper, i soon realised that the GS9 wasnt cutting it and saved up the $99 (a lot in 1983 ) for a Mitchell 499 -the fastest reel on the planet and spooled it with 20lb mono and paired it with a Snyder FT 70-120 built by John Bell from Dee Why Sports -after i read in Fishing World that he was the best rod builder in Sydney (when such things mattered!!!). I caught a lot of bonito on that combo and will come back to it soon. The first really decent fish i caught came next on my little Diawa Black Diamond.

It was the last few days of the old August school holidays 1984 and through some family friends we had gained access to a house at Mackeral Beach on Pittwater AND the house came with a 14 ft Quinnie and a 15 hp Evinrude-I had a boat!!! I was there with my mother and a mate from school (who wasnt a fisho but was happy to explore). On the 3rd September 1984 we started the day early in the usual morning mist and headed up the river and mucked around at Juno point , Flint and Steel then went up Patonga Creek (my first bar crossing i suppose). We had hot chips for lunch from Patonga and then crossed back over to West Head in the afternoon towards the top of the tide . ....and then i saw huge silver bullets broaching the top of the water in pods of 10 or more fish-TUNA. They were big mack tuna making the long forgotten spring run (there are plenty of old stories of them pushing up as far as the rail bridge in dry years) smashing microscopic bait. They werent worried by the boat at all, the only other boat nearby was a cruiser that tried to troll the schools for a few minutes then left. I tried a 1/2x1/4 on my 499 , then switched to a Halco slice, then (by then i knew the principle of "keep going smaller until you get the bite") to my "little rod" and a small slice, then a wonder wobbler, then finally-i had two brand new unused 15 gm Juro shiners in my very understocked box. 

I drove the boat up to the next bust up, killed the motor (this becomes important later....) and cast. 1,2, 3 cranks of the handle and whack....Im on and a run like id never experience before and ping....its gone, along with the lure. I looked into the tackle box and picked up the other Shiner. I had read about doubles and their importance in sportfishing-so try not to laugh. I tied a spiders hitch and looped the final shiner onto the double . Same procedure as before, drive up, kill the motor, cast, wind and whack.

Line started screaming off the reel and within seconds i was down to half a spool and i was screaming at my very stunned mate "start the engine"-"how do i do that"-"pull the bloody cord", "right what do i do now"-DRIVE THAT WAY. So we drove after the fish and  it fought and fought and fought. Just as the sun disappeared behind the Broken Bay hills the fish came to the surface about 15 meters from the boat and circled us. I had a gaff and a prawn net on board. My mate was totally unwilling to try the gaff so when it did its next circle he stuck the prawn net in front of its head . Fortunately the fish was stuffed (so was i) and the net broke as i tried to lift it but i had the fish by the tail. I hooked it just off west head and landed it about 2 kms to the north of Lion Island close to an hour after hookup. We drove back to Mackeral Beach in an orange seascape where it was hard to tell the difference between the water and the sky. I weighed the fish a few days later at home on some dodgy bathroom scales and then again on someone elses dodgy bathroom scales. It went 18lbs cleaned and i later learned would of been a Junior World Record for 6lb line if id been an ANSA or GFAA member at the time. 

After this the addiction was incurable . I spent weekends playing cricket on Saturdays and fishing the rocks on Sundays . When cricket was over i just fished.The eggbeaters got replaced with overheads (çause thats what real fishos used) . First a Seascape and then for many, many years a Shimano Speedmaster IV. A Butterworth FSU 4120 became my big stick of choice and loaded with 20 or 25 lb Maxima i felt i could catch just about anything from Sydney and the rock platforms to the north. From the rocks i spun up bonnies,kings,striped,mack,longtail tuna, spottie macks , hooked a hell of a big yellowfin one day at North Whale (an utter smoking) , trevally, snapper, bream , flathead (yep), frigates (still a light tackle fav of mine, especially at Terrigal ), the odd GT further north , a couple of amberjack from the rocks at Noosa. I livebaited too but never loved livebaiting like i loved high speed spinning. When i finally had a boat of my own (and still to today) i never left port without a spin stick rigged with a metal. I still use them all the time and from the boat have caught all the tuna's (except a Southern Blue), jewfish, kings, Spanish,spottie ,school mackeral, bonnies by the thousand,salmon (of course) ,tailor and even trout in the fresh etc etc. I still have some goals with metals-i would really like to spin up a wahoo (but as a few mates could testify-i dont catch wahoo, i just gaff them for other people) and ive spun up a couple of cobia on soft plastics but would again love to get one on metal. 

In part 2 i will go into lures/species tackle and techniques. I will also go into what makes a spot fire for pelagics-especially for some of the land based younger guys. Pelagic fish have patterns and understanding those patterns will help prevent a lot of wasted effort

 

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A great read PaddyT. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

I fished the high speed spin era as well and absolutely loved my 6:1 Seascapes, aside from cooking drag washers and stripping gears.

Still love to throw metals, but I'm not up to fishing the rocks these days. Just salmon and tailor from the beach.

Looking forward to part 2.

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if you want high speed would a bait caster like 13:1 ratio be good? I have only caught 1 tailor I can rember and that was just on a cheap bream reel I picked up and repaired on a corner of squid 

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24 minutes ago, slothparade said:

if you want high speed would a bait caster like 13:1 ratio be good? I have only caught 1 tailor I can rember and that was just on a cheap bream reel I picked up and repaired on a corner of squid 

In my opinion you'd be far better off using a modern day spin reel with a retrieve ratio up around 6:1 and gaining around 1 metre of line per turn of the handle.

A spin reel is far easier to cast long distances than a baitcaster, especially if there's an onshore wind blowing and most likely a better line capacity. A spin reel is also more versatile when it comes to using different weight lures, especially at the lighter end of the scale.

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14 minutes ago, Green Hornet said:

In my opinion you'd be far better off using a modern day spin reel with a retrieve ratio up around 6:1 and gaining around 1 metre of line per turn of the handle.

A spin reel is far easier to cast long distances than a baitcaster, especially if there's an onshore wind blowing and most likely a better line capacity. A spin reel is also more versatile when it comes to using different weight lures, especially at the lighter end of the scale.

Ahh ok, what about when casting around a harbor where you want t get under the boats, would you still use a spinning reel with a shorter rod? Also I have noticed the bait caster doesn't like light lures, why is that? I have the drag pretty much off when casting pretty much any lure. I know your meant to let it drop and keep adjusting. 

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Paddy that was a FANTASTIC read!! So many parallels to my young fishing history (even the cricket!) The only thing like high speed spinning metals was jigging (not this "slow pitch" lazy man's jigging either!) 

Awesome Mac on 6lb, reckon they go as hard as anything. Looking forward to the next chapter very much.

The Halco slice and legendary 1/2 x 1/4's bring back the memories big time.

Awesome post! Thanks for putting it up, I bet it inspires a few to go and give it a try👍

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1 hour ago, slothparade said:

Ahh ok, what about when casting around a harbor where you want t get under the boats, would you still use a spinning reel with a shorter rod? Also I have noticed the bait caster doesn't like light lures, why is that? I have the drag pretty much off when casting pretty much any lure. I know your meant to let it drop and keep adjusting. 

When you're talking about casting under boats, I assume you're talking about throwing hardbodies and plastics. I'd say metals would be a surefire way to cop your fair share of abuse from the boat owners.

Spin reels will still do a better job in my opinion, especially when it comes to skip casting under wharves and between the hulls of catamarans and as said before, if casting into the breeze. 

Most baitcasters don't like light lures as you need a certain amount of weight to overcome the inertia of getting the spool spinning. That being said you can get reels purposely designed to throw light weights. I have a Shimano Calcutta 50 with an aftermarket spool and bearings that will easily throw lures down to 3 grams.

Google BFS baitcasters and you'll get an idea of these reels.

Stick with spin reels unless you're prepared to travel with multiple rods.

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3 minutes ago, Green Hornet said:

When you're talking about casting under boats, I assume you're talking about throwing hardbodies and plastics. I'd say metals would be a surefire way to cop your fair share of abuse from the boat owners.

Spin reels will still do a better job in my opinion, especially when it comes to skip casting under wharves and between the hulls of catamarans and as said before, if casting into the breeze. 

Most baitcasters don't like light lures as you need a certain amount of weight to overcome the inertia of getting the spool spinning. That being said you can get reels purposely designed to throw light weights. I have a Shimano Calcutta 50 with an aftermarket spool and bearings that will easily throw lures down to 3 grams.

Google BFS baitcasters and you'll get an idea of these reels.

Stick with spin reels unless you're prepared to travel with multiple rods.

I always take at least 2 rods, 1 bait caster 1 spin. over the winter holidays when I got my first baitcaster for my birthday I kept casting and casting learning how to use it. I definitely agree spin is a lot easier though. I just found the bait caster is so much more accurate. I heard you could get those $750 shimano electic baitcasters that you have the different modes for different lures but I didn't really see the value in that, not sure if I can justify the price. Is the inertia because of the magnetic drag?  

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Inertia is just the force it takes to get the weight of the spool and the line spinning. In ultralight casting magnets tend to slow everything down robbing you of distance and an educated thumb is the best backlash prevention.

The pic shows the aftermarket spool on the left, which is super lightweight in itself, plus holds a lot less line to make casting easier. 

Copy 1.jpg

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4 hours ago, wazatherfisherman said:

Paddy that was a FANTASTIC read!! So many parallels to my young fishing history (even the cricket!) The only thing like high speed spinning metals was jigging (not this "slow pitch" lazy man's jigging either!) 

Awesome Mac on 6lb, reckon they go as hard as anything. Looking forward to the next chapter very much.

The Halco slice and legendary 1/2 x 1/4's bring back the memories big time.

Awesome post! Thanks for putting it up, I bet it inspires a few to go and give it a try👍

thanks Waz-your style of post is what ive hopefully emulated, i think a lot of young guys skip the formative stages we had to go through and dont have a deep understanding . Fishing Mags these days are largely advertorials and social media is "here today,gone tommorrow type of info"-Fishraider provides a store of knowledge that hopefully we can all add too.

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EtRead Paddy, I was doing similar back in those days and still have my Mitchell 499, with spare spool and still have the original box - haven’t used it for years, but pulled it out last year and is so heavy and “clunky” compared to my Saragossa and stellas, but I caught a heap of pelagics of the rocks with it.

thanks for sharing. 

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On 5/5/2021 at 12:28 PM, Green Hornet said:

Inertia is just the force it takes to get the weight of the spool and the line spinning. In ultralight casting magnets tend to slow everything down robbing you of distance and an educated thumb is the best backlash prevention.

The pic shows the aftermarket spool on the left, which is super lightweight in itself, plus holds a lot less line to make casting easier. 

Copy 1.jpg

So thats the point of the holes in the spool as well?

Probably should have listened in physics LOL

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12 hours ago, slothparade said:

So thats the point of the holes in the spool as well?

Probably should have listened in physics LOL

Correct.

The lighter the spool the better when it comes to throwing ultralight weights.

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  • mrsswordfisherman changed the title to ARTICLE - Spinning with Metal-Part 1
  • 4 months later...

Great read mate. Got a question on line - what size line do you use and how much line needed. Lookin at getting a penn slammer hs - cant decide between the 4500 loaded with 20/30lb or the 6500 with 30/40lb

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21 hours ago, thehairynurse said:

Great read mate. Got a question on line - what size line do you use and how much line needed. Lookin at getting a penn slammer hs - cant decide between the 4500 loaded with 20/30lb or the 6500 with 30/40lb

Read the rest of the series

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I would have been one of the 6 to 1 geared Seascape men at south Avoca from around 1972 ?   I can relate to this !

The 499 and seascape retrieved the same amount of line. But I could spin the handle faster. That often made the difference on Bonito and Mac Tuna especially !!. Speed Kills !!  I still have a heap of 1/2 x 1/4 chromed, and Hex rod lures.

Howard.

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