Modify your Butt

The bottom end of the rod – the butt – is a pretty important part of the rod.

It’s most important task is in securely holding the reel in a position that is comfortable to cast, retrieve and fight fish.

If a rod were set up purely as a casting tool, the height of the reel-seat might be best positioned way up the rod to afford maximum leverage. Unfortunately, when it came to waiting for a bite or fighting a fish, this ultra-high reel position would seem awfully uncomfortable.

Reel Maintenance

Looking after your reel’s insides.

There’s any number of ways to bugger a reel, lending it to a mate being right up there, but the simple act of taking it fishing is probably as good as any.

Salt water and windblown sand will take their toll, but can be largely negated with regular freshwater washes.

Where the real damage occurs is inside, and as often as not, it’s due to under-lubrication. And what’s worse is that many brand new reels are underlubricated when you buy them.

I’m no fan of pulling reels apart any more than I have to, but I’ve made it a point to pull the side off every reel I’ve ever bought and give it a dose of home made lube.

My lube is a simple mix of sticky hi-temperature grease, and any good motor oil.

Rod repair - binding on a guide

With the combined hazards of travelling strapped to the roof of a 4wd, marching through thick scrub in pre-dawn darkness, and countless impacts with rocks, reef and swinging sinkers, it’s inevitable that at some stage you will damage one of your rod guides to the extent it will need to be replaced.

After having this happen to me on many occasions, I now carry a small repair kit with me whenever I head off on extended trips, so that I can rebind a new runner or tip and keep fishing. My intention is always to do a proper job when I get home, but I’ve got a number of rods still sporting oddly coloured binding covered only with a thin smear of super glue.

Trinidad Drag Upgrade

What a wonderful feeling it is when your long rod folds over and line starts to whistle out to sea.

It’s the moment all shore fishos live for, and yet it’s also the moment many fish of a lifetime are lost. The most common reason is the drag set too tight, but a lumpy drag can be equally bad as line unloads in a series of hook-tearing lurches.

I’ve recently decided to upgrade the drag on my Trinidad 20, which has not only made it even smoother, but also increased the drag I’m able to apply from about 3.5 kilos up to 6.8 kilos. This will be particularly handy for hopefully stopping some big baldchin up north and sambos down south.

Beach Fishing

With many hundreds of kilometres of beautiful sandy beaches, it’s little wonder that so many West Australians love surf fishing.

Not everyone has the resources or the sea-legs to enjoy boat fishing so it’s nice to think that a with a minimum of equipment and a handful of bait you can still head down to your local beach with the realistic ambition of catching a feed.

Having said that, beaches can be wide expanses of fishless desert at times, punctuated with relatively small pockets of fish-holding country, so it pays to have the knowledge and equipment to narrow the odds a little.

Bibless babies

A recent return to bream fishing saw confirmed lure nut SCOTT COGHLAN delight in sampling the extraordinary range of micro minnows currently on the market. One of these was a bibless Sugar Minnow, which soon became a favourite of his as it proved its versatility for a wide range of species from river to reef.

LAST summer I threw much more time into bream fishing and this resulted in a sudden and rather expensive explosion in my previously limited collection of diminutive minnow lures.I hadn’t seriously fished for bream for many years, since being a regular around Burswood in the mid-90s, when big bream, along with acrobatic giant herring and small mulloway, were a common catch on Halco RMG Scorpion 52s.

Float Fishing

With current fishing trends currently centred on all things “jiggy”, I thought it timely to take a look at some old-school technology that still catches fish – float fishing!

Floats come in many shapes and sizes and amongst luderick and coarse fishermen, their selection and use is more an art than a science.

My techniques are a lot more pedestrian, and for that reason I’ll stick to a couple of more simple designs.

Mandurah Estuary Mulloway

The black water lapped ever higher up the bank with the rising tide. Within it, mullet swam lazily in twos or threes, confident that no predators chased them here.

The angler stood, eyes craning the starlit surface for a splash or the tell tale ripple of cruising fish. There!