Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rigging a live shrimp (prawn) for bait fishing

I get many requests from people asking how to rig certain baits for bait fishing, but the most requested bait rigging lesson would have to be hooking live shrimp or prawns.

The reason for these requests is probably because live shrimp and prawns are probably one of the best and most versatile baits available to anglers. Where do you find the humans at the all you can eat seafood restaurant? Fighting over the fresh prawns! Fish are a bit the same and at times will ignore almost everything else you present to them. A live bait also kicks and flicks through the water attracting all the fish in the vicinity to investigate what is going on.

Now all you have to do is catch the little things, but that is another post for another day.

How to hook a live shrimp / prawn?
I could tell you, but it is probably better if I show you. This great little video I found on youtube shows the process of hooking prawns and shrimp very clearly.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The top five reasons I go fishing

This blog now hosts over 250 posts and I thought it was about time I shared some of my favorite things about this great sport. So here it is:

  1. Relaxation - Life is stressful these days and it is only getting worse. Fishing is my ultimate relaxation tool. It is sort of hard to stress out sitting on a lake, river, estuary or ocean with nature all around (apart from losing that fish of a lifetime of course!). It is also hard to think about what I need to do tomorrow, which makes this reason number 1!
  2. Fun - Lets face it fishing can be frustrating, but that is half the reason we keep returning to it. So the saying goes if fishing was easier more people would take up golf! However, fishing is great fun too!
  3. Family and friends - My old man is my best fishing partner and this has brought us closer together, even though not much is said out loud. There is something about sitting in a boat with someone for a long time. Fishing also helps you make great lifelong friends with the same passion!
  4. Excitement - I was once watching a great fishing show one day and the host was hooked up to an obvious monster. He turned to his fishing partner and said "When this no longer gets me excited I will know that I am dead." That says it all really.
  5. Nature - For people that cannot understand my fishing addiction this is the reason I use to explain to them why I go fishing. I could write a book about the amazing things I have seen in nature while fishing. A pod of dolphins dancing right around the boat, turtles surfacing next to the boat and scaring the hell out of me with that sound they make, manta rays flapping water into the boat, monster schools of pelagic fish on a feeding frenzy and birds feeding on the scraps and that is just to name a few. These memories are etched in my mind forever and when I am too old to get into the boat any more will be some of my fondest memories!
Have your own top reasons for going fishing? Please leave a comment.

Redfish fishing video

Redfish (also called red drum or channel bass) are a favorite with anglers from from Massachusetts to Florida in the USA. These fish fight hard, grow big and respond well to a variety of angling techniques. They are often caught on lures and flies, but anglers using bait also account for their fair share of fish.

They are a popular fish to target in "no motor zones" as these areas are often home to the largest fish. In these locations a canoe, kayak or small boat with oars/pole can be used to access these great fishing locations. While these fish can be found in relatively deep water they are most often targeted by anglers in fairly shallow water where they put up a great fight!

I hope you enjoy the video!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

How to chum (berley)

Chum (or berley where I come from) is any fish material added to the water column to attract fish/sharks to your baits (in some cases lures or fly's). Most people associate chum with monster sharks, but it can be used for all fish species in one form or another.

Popular chumming substances include:

  • old fish frames
  • tuna/fish oil
  • chook pellets (chicken feed)
  • dry cat food
  • seafood leftovers/scraps (prawn or shrimp shells are popular)
  • bread
Many anglers have a secret chum mix that is comprised of a variety of these substances blended together with fish oils. Others just freeze everything, put everything in a pot and mash it together and let it thaw out. You can also purchase pre-packaged dry chum pellets from most tackle stores which is a very convenient alternative.

How to chum properly?
There is an old saying - "a little often," which can be applied to chumming. You can throw a little bit out the back of the boat at regular intervals or place it in a slow release pot. It can take a while to work, but it is important when you start chumming to keep the trail going even when the fish start biting! If you are fishing deep water or in large currents surface berley becomes less effective and a deep water berley pot can be used to get the chum to the bottom.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Unhooking a fish

Yesterday I wrote about unhooking a fishing hook from your hand so I thought I would continue the trend today and talk about unhooking a fish. I have also previously written an article on releasing fish, which can be found at my previous post catch and release.

Unhooking fish can be a daunting task for new anglers. I actually know a few people who were put off fishing because of this alone! Get yourself a good landing net (knotless mesh if possible for the fishes protection), a set of long nosed and needle nosed pliers and a good quality garden glove.

  1. Firstly the most important part of this process is not injuring the fish or yourself. Stay away from any spines or sharp gills and remember than some fish have big teeth! Always support a large fish and treat it gently.
  2. Use the glove (wet it first) to hold the fish and use the pliers to push the hook back through the hole it originally created. 9 times out of ten the hook will pop out and the fish can be released/put on ice.
  3. If the fish has swallowed the hook deep, but you still want to release the fish cut the line off as close to the hook as possible and the hook will rust and come free in a few days not harming the fish. Never try to extract a hook from deep within a fish as you could harm the internals and injure the fish.
These two videos show the process and equipment quite well and even though they are based in Britain the same basic equipment and techniques apply around the world.

Removing a fish hook from your hand (or body!)

Firstly I must apologize because this blog has been completely untouched for about a month now after a 90% drop in visitors overnight which I have been trying to solve for a while. Today the search numbers are back up a little so hopefully things are going in the right direction (fingers crossed). Enough of that boring stuff though!

As an angler you have probably had a hook stuck somewhere in you at some point during your adventures. Many anglers visit the hospital to get the hook removed, but sometimes our fishing adventures take us far from the hospital and we need to remove the hook ourselves! This little technique is one every angler should know, but I am unsure if sticking the hook in your arm to practice (or demonstrate on video) is a great idea. I advise people to always keep a pair of these clamps in your tackle box, but this method can also be used with string or fishing line to pull on the hook.