Saturday, May 31, 2008

Friday Fishing Report

Sorry this report took so long. I have had one of those weekends and a nasty stomach bug has kept me down for a couple of days (it wasn't from the fish I caught and ate fortunately).

It was cold when dad and I headed out before the sun poked its head above the horizon. When I say cold I mean it was about 20 degrees (about 70 degrees Fahrenheit for the Americans reading this), but I am from the tropics after all and I was cold! We haven't had much luck lately and the weather report was not favorable so I hadn't prepared quite as well as I usually would. I usually make up about 5 or 6 spare leaders in case we get bitten off, snagged or reefed by a big fish and keep them in a snap lock bag.

First up we fished a shallow water wreck and the fish were on straight away. I hooked a big fish only to have it eaten on the way up by a monster barracuda that probably could have swallowed me whole. We used the half fish for cut baits and before they hit the bottom dad hooked and subsequently lost a massive fish we never sighted (1 leader lost). I quickly re rigged his line and before I turned around he was on again. This time he fought the fish for about 10 minutes and as it came close to the boat it surged towards the anchor and busted him off (2 leaders lost). I re rigged his line again (this time with 100 pound fluorocarbon leader) and after about 2 minutes he hooked and lost another monster within about 0.5 seconds of hooking it (3 leaders lost).

The bite slowed down after this and we moved to another wreck, but the wind proved a little too strong and we headed for a sheltered sloping rock/reefy area. However, while at the second reef dad had his hook bitten off by what was probably a shark (4 leaders lost). At the reef we started pulling up an assortment of small reef fish, which were released to fight another day. We made one last move into a slightly deeper part of the reef and started catching more small reef fish until I hooked (and landed) a beauty. By this time my old man managed to find a snag or two and lose another couple of leaders. My rod buckled over again soon after and I had my second good fish of the day over the side. With the wind really picking up we called it a day with a couple of fish in the box and some really great stories of "the one that got away."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

In the spotlight

You may or may not know that the ultimate fishing blog has been spotlighted at the Outdoor Bloggers Summit Blog. I was very impressed with the review of my blog and if you are interested in reading the article it can be found here Spotlight week 3.

As I approach 200 posts I am still excited about the prospects for this blog and amazingly (for a quiet guy) I still have plenty of things to say as well as ideas for future posts. If you have anything you would like to see me write about feel free to leave a comment.

Tomorrow I will be out fishing all day and hope to bring you a report of a fantastic days fishing then.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Seaguar Knot - Fluorocarbon knots for fishing

Fluorocarbon is one of the latest fishing fashions, but apart from simply being in fashion, it is also a fantastic innovative product. If you are unfamiliar fluorocarbon it is a leader material that is basically invisible in water meaning fish feel more comfortable to bite.

I was a little skeptical when I switched to fluorocarbon about a year ago, but have been pleasantly surprised by the bite rate, abrasion resistance and durability. The one downside to the product is susceptibility to friction and this problem can be avoided by tying really good knots and lubricating the knots well. One of the best knots for fluorocarbon is the Seaguar knot designed specifically for joining this type of line to the mainline.

How to tie the Seaguar Knot
To make it easy I found a video!

Monday, May 26, 2008

How to fish crankbaits (with video)

Crankbaits are right up there with the most popular lures for bass, but they also are very popular with many other saltwater and freshwater species. They are available in every color imaginable and designed to run at a certain depth, which means working your lure in the strike zone is made easier. Every serious angler should have a selection of shallow, medium and deep running crankbaits in their tackle box.

A lot of anglers don't realize there is more to fishing crankbaits than tying one on the line, chucking it in and winding it back. Ideally you want to make sure your crankbait gets down to the bottom and "hops" over the structure, but they can also be used in free water when fish are holding at a known depth. When choosing the color don't get too obsessed and remember that action and retrieve make much more of a difference. Stick to natural colors found in the local baitfish populations and you will be fine.

Fishing crankbaits
As I am not an expert in this area so I found a couple of really good videos showing a very popular crankbait fishing technique. These are nice short little videos and are well worth watching.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Women anglers (My Fishing Report)

I went for a quick fish this morning before breakfast with my wife. We didn't take the boat out and instead fished off the bank, but still caught quite a few fish. Well I actually should say my wife caught most of the fish. Fortunately I am just happy being there and I actually enjoy seeing people catch and release fish. I don't get grumpy when I can't catch them, which is a good thing because my wife almost always kicks my butt in the catch count.

This leads me to todays question - Does your wife/partner/sister go fishing with you? and do they often out fish you when they do? If you are a woman angler do you often outfish your male fishing companions?

I have heard stories of pheromones, sensitive hands and even more patience making women better anglers and I would love to hear from all the anglers out there (including the women) about this topic - feel free to leave a comment.

This topic is light hearted and not meant to be offensive.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Alligator attacking a fishing lure

Where I live we have monster crocodiles that strike fear into the hearts of small boat owners everywhere. They are so aggressive they have been known to chomp into boat props and headbutt small boats. Most places are off limits to swimming (except the swimming pools) because these crocs can (and have) taken people from the water. Even standing on the bank of the rivers in not recommended.

So why am I telling you all this...? Well I found this great video on youtube this morning of a gator attacking a fishing lure and wanted to share it with you. It really shows just how aggressive these animals can be even when they can clearly see people. I don't condone teasing an alligator or crocodile - it is always best to move away from the area when an aggressive animal is lurking.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Deepwater Jigging Technique (with video)

With the advent on braided fishing line deepwater jigging has undergone a resurgence in the last decade like never before. Jigging is an effective fishing technique using a metal jig and produces good quality catches of fish. Many anglers enjoy this style because it is a very active form of fishing.

Jigging Technique (How to jig)
The technique for deepwater jigging might be quite energetic, but fortunately it is also very simple. Once fish are found on the sounder the anglers drop their metal jig to the required depth. The jiging technique itself basically requires a fast raising (whipping motion) of the rod tip and a quick wind of the reel to regain the line. It is often described as the "pump and wind" motion. It is illustrated best through video and I have found a couple of good videos of this technique on youtube.

For deepwater jigging you will require:

  • Metal lures of various weights and colors.
  • Solid rod and reel combo (usually a spinning reel).
  • Strong Arms!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Walleye facts

The walleye is one of the most popular freshwater fish in North America and has a strong following in many freshwater lakes and impoundments. Hopefully the following facts will help you understand more about this amazing fish.

Facts About The Walleye

  • Walleye have large eyes with a layer of reflective pigment (almost like a cats eye) which allows them to feed in murky water, dim light and darkness.
  • Due to their good eyes walleye are sensitive to sunlight and during these times walleye often move into water as deep as 40 feet.
  • Walleye can only see shades of red and green and therefore green, orange and red lures are the most popular.
  • Originally walleye occurred naturally in the northern regions of North America, but as it currently stands walleye have been stocked into almost every state of the US.
  • Walleye have a very sensitive lateral line which allows them to sense wounded bait fish or lures.
  • The oldest walleye recorded was 29 years and there is evidence that walleye can live to over 30 years of age.
  • Walleye prefer cold water and feed right through the winter, but can also be caught during all other times of the year.
  • The walleye reaches maturity at about 3-5 years and spawning occurs at 43 to 50° F. A large female can lay up to 500,000 eggs.
  • The most popular lures for walleye are minnows, but jigs, spinners and grubs also account for fish.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Fishing Knots: World's Fair Knot

The world's fair knot was created by Gary Martin and was selected by a panel of professionals as the best knot out of 498 entries in the great knot search at the 1982 world fair. This fishing knot is quick to tie, does not slip and is very strong. These features make the world's fair knot a very versatile and popular knot with many anglers. Most anglers use this knot with monofilament lines although, because it is well known for a lack of slipping, may also be tied in braided lines in some situations.

How to tie the world's fair knot
While this knot is fairly simple to tie it does take a some practice to perfect.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Environmentally Friendly Sinkers (enviroweights) - Tackle Review

The world is becoming more environmentally conscious than ever before. Therefore anglers should be keen to show that we are caring for our environment, instead of the littering, killing machines we are sometimes made out to be. One of the worst pollutants many anglers add into the waterway is lead. In humans lead poisoning is cumulative and effects reproductive health and can even cause cancer, but in the water lead is extremely unfriendly to the marine ecosystem. Fortunately we now have an alternative.

Enviroweights are fishing sinkers made from 100% biodegradable materials so that if they are lost they degrade safely into the marine environment. They are an Australian invention and are becoming quite popular in tackle shops all over the country. They are available in a variety of sinker shapes sizes and they are even making lead free jig heads.

Personally I am a little wary of new products, but these sinkers are a great product and design. They work just as well as regular sinkers and are very easy to use. One of the disadvantages is that they are made from lighter material than lead so you need a larger sized enviro sinker compared to regular sinkers, but this problem is easily overcome. If you are environmentally conscious check them out now!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Shark attack videos

If writing this blog has taught me one thing it is that sharks capture peoples imagination - especially big sharks like the great white shark. I thought I would use a lazy Friday afternoon to post a couple of my favorite shark attack videos. Just to be clear though, these videos are of sharks attacking fish, not people (it is a fishing blog after all and I don't really think anyone wants to watch people being attacked).

This first video is mad and I watched in amazement as a big hammerhead shark eats a whopping tarpon in what has to be one of the best amateur captured shark attack videos ever. (Mild language warning)

The second video is fairly poor quality unfortunately, but shows some amazing footage of sharks actually fighting over a meal of fish attached to an anglers fishing line.

Both of these youtube videos have had well over a million views and they are both worth watching if you are into sharks.

Be aware that these may be a little scary for young people.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fishing Knots: King Sling Knot

During my last serious fishing trip I decided to try a new knot recommended to me by a good fishing friend. I had been whining to him about my crank bait (lures to me) knots and he suggested I try the king sling knot.

The king sling knot is an easy knot to tie and offers a decent amount of strength. However, its real benefit is that it allows crank baits to work freely and look a whole lot more lifelike.

In my tests I found that while working the lure it looked a lot more natural and the action was quite enticing to the fish. The strike to hook up rate was good and I was quite impressed with the knot.

How to tie the king sling knot

click to enlarge

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How to catch tuna

Tuna are one of the most popular fish on the planet and unfortunately this has lead to a population demise that is almost unrivaled in the salt water. Fortunately many countries are taking a tougher stand on commercial tuna fishing and the fish are slowly becoming a worthwhile target for recreational anglers.

Fishing for tuna
There is no doubt that most of the tuna species get pretty big and at the larger sizes are a big game fishing target. However, these days most anglers like to tackle these fish on relatively light line and stand up tackle.

One of the most popular methods of fishing for tuna is trolling with feather jigs, small squid imitations, live or fresh dead bait and even hard bodied lures. Outriggers are often used for this form of fishing and where fertile bait grounds exist the tuna will follow.

Another popular method for catching tuna is to drift (or anchor) and start a chum line (burley trail) and wait for the fish to show. Once the fish arrive the anglers send a baited hook into the trail to temp the fish into biting. Chum or bait fish styled flies also work well in this situation.

Sightcasting small lures or flies to tuna is also popular in some parts of the world and can be a very effective method.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Smoked Trout Recipe - (How to smoke trout)

It was my anniversary yesterday and being a seafood lover I had to order the smoked trout on the menu. It was absolutely delicious and is the inspiration for todays post.

Many people don't consider trout when it comes to smoking and they tend to stick with the more traditional smoked salmon. While I consider trout to be one of the best fish to smoke, I find that almost any fish can be smoked and this recipe could also be used on a variety of fish species.

This recipe takes quite a while to cook, but is simple to prepare. The ingredients are as follows:

  • Whole Trout
  • Brown Sugar
  • Rock Salt
  • Table Salt
  • Your favorite seasonings (curry, teragon, lemon etc.)
  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon Juice
  • Garlic Salt
  • Lemon Slices
The instructions for this recipe are in the following video

Most good quality smokers can be used for this recipe.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Fishing Knots: Berkley Braid Knot

For quite some time now I have had emails from readers asking which knot I thought was the absolute best for braid fishing lines like fireline, finns, suffix etc. For years now I have personally used an improved clinch knot with increased wraps on braided lines and have not had many problems. Early this year, for some reason, I went through a period of mysterious knot failures and decided to test a new braid knot to see if it made any difference. The knot I tested was the Berkley Braid Knot.

The Berkley Braid Knot is a knot that has been tested (and I guess invented) by the research and development team at Berkley. It is tied by doubling the braid and this has increased knot strength in braided lines. Fortunately it is very simple to tie and is basically a clinch knot tied in the doubled line (see instructions below). I have been quite happy with the performance of the knot and I am sticking with it for now.

(Click to enlarge)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Biggest bass ever caught

Bass are one of the most iconic freshwater sportsfish in the world and the stories of monster bass caught and loss continue to echo around the lakes of the United States.

The biggest bass ever caught was captured in 2006 by Mac Weakley at Dixon Lake in Escondido. The bass weighed a massive 25 pounds 1 ounce (11.4 kilos) and looked like it had a slight overeating problem (see photo). However, the angler has decided not to claim the world record as there are a few problems with the capture:

  • The fish was not weighed on a certified scale.
  • It was unintentionally foul-hooked.
  • No measurements of length or girth were taken.
  • It was released.
While none of these would have technically disqualified the fish the angler has chosen not to pursue the world record and the million dollar prize. The current record stands at 22- pound, 4-ounce bass caught by George Washington Perry in 1932.

I support catch and release and I was very happy to hear that a potential record fish was released. That means that the monster bass might just still be swimming around Dixon Lake waiting for someone else to catch it, imagine how much it weighs now!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Fishing Knots: Turle Knot (and double turle knot)

The turle knot is a little known snare knot used to attach hooks to a leader. It is one of the most simple knots to tie, but is unfortunately quite a weak knot and is not usually recommended unless targeting very small fish. However, the strength of the knot can be significantly improved by tying the double turle knot, which I will also explain below.

Turle knot

1. Pass the line through the eye of the hook and make a simple loop.

Carry the end of the line on to make a Simple Overhand Knot upon the loop and pass the loop over the hook

3. Tighten into shape

Double Turle Knot

  1. Pass the line through and make two simple loops. Then make a Simple Overhand Knot around both loops.
  2. Pass these loops over the hook.
  3. Tighten the knot.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Biggest marlin ever caught (with video)

There can be little argument that marlin are the true icon of saltwater sport fishing and a big marlin is on most anglers fishing wish list.

The biggest marlin ever caught record is slightly sketchy and there are certainly many reports of fish that would easily beat the record by up to a whopping 1000 pounds that were lost next to the boat, never recorded or that swam off with the camera etc.

Largest marlin caught on rod and reel
The biggest marlin caught on rod and reel that I can actually validate with some form of evidence was caught in 1970 in Honolulu and weighed in at a whopping 1805 lbs (or 820kgs for people like me)! It is pictured below and it is certainly a monster (click to enlarge).

Largest commercially caught marlin
The largest commercially caught marlin bottomed out a 1000kg scale meaning it weighed in excess of 2200 lbs! It was apparently caught on a handline which, if true, is one amazing feat - it is pictured below (click to enlarge).

Big Marlin Video
Below is a video of a 1026 lbs marlin and although it isn't a record it is one impressive fish!