Thursday, February 29, 2024

REPORT: Back to blades

OVER the past week I have managed to get out fishing a few times, even though the wind has been far from ideal in Sydney. Westerly winds usually make fishing pretty difficult and when it decides to swing around to the north at this time of year, my winter fishing grounds become almost impossible to fish effectively.

As I have reported over the past month, most of my fishing has centred on the Hawkesbury River/Broken Bay area and we have been having success on good numbers of dusky flathead (keep an eye out for an upcoming article in September Fisho) and to a lesser extent, bream.

A typical session for us is targeting multiple species but seeing as the flathead population had been pestered for few weeks we decided to really focus on bream in deep water. With the aforementioned wind, fishing lightly weighed plastics down deep posed a real issue. Therefore it was time to break out the blades.

We haven’t used blades in a while as we have been perfecting catching big bream on larger plastic profiles and I forgot how mesmerising it can be. It’s one technique where subtle variations can have a dramatic impact on catch rates, which makes trial and error so enjoyable.

During our first two sessions we had to upscale our blades to 1/4oz versions. Dad was using a TT Switchblade and I fished an Ecogear VX45. While we had moderate success both sessions and caught our comp limit of five legal fish, we didn’t deliver the results we expected, especially in light of the catches of the previous week. On day three the wind was finally subdued enough for us to use smaller weighted blades with smaller profiles and we began to have some fun.

In a short two hour session on the turn of the tide we managed to hook and land a few dozen bream. They weren’t massive fish but it was a great session nonetheless. What made it so interesting was the effect the tide is having on the fish at the moment. We fished the area for a few hours leading up to the tide change for one missed fish. Admittedly the missed fish was possibly my mate Gio’s best fish of his life – we called it for a 5kg plus jewie. Once that tide swung it was all systems go. The barren wasteland we fished instantly became a fish-rich oasis.

The two pleasing aspects about using blades is the ability to fish open water effectively. This is done by how efficiently blades can cover territory and how easily they are worked at multiple depths. Just sound out a school of fish on the sounder and deploy your blades into the action. The other aspect is by-catch. Over three sessions we landed a small jewfish, flathead, groper, parrotfish, luderick, tailor, snapper, flounder, octopus and several unidentified reef ooglies. That’s the best thing about them; you never know what’s going to come up next.

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One more thing, make sure you give your blades a good liberal coating of S-Factor. You will find many more fish pick up the lure off the bottom between twitches as was the trend during these sessions. Most of the time we never felt the bream take the lure. When we went to work the lure after pausing it on the bottom for a few seconds all we felt was weight before we set the hook. Due to this our hookup rate was pretty poor, even on retrofitted Owner trebles.

Stand by for another report from this weekend when I try my hand at catching some hairtail. Wish me luck!

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