Should I stay or should I go

The weather plays a critical part in planning fishing excursions. If you are planning to head away on a land-based angling trip for a few days or more the weather will likely determine your overall success.

Occasionally all the climatic variables line up perfectly and fishing difficulties are all but forgotten. But more often than not you will have some aspects of the weather in your favour and others against you. This column will explore the dilemma many of us face in determining if we stay home or go for it.

Winter of our discontent

The winter of 2016 was cruel to beach anglers. By the time you are reading this it will be all over but while I typed this, the cold weather was still raging outside.

Poor old spring arrived officially on September 1, but hadn’t had much of a look-in as that month ended. And as for the beaches, they bore the scars of the relentless cold fronts which had lashed our coast over the previous few months.

Protecting your fishing investments

As I wrote this we were yet again being lashed by another cold front along WA’s lower west coast. Compared to last winter this year had been cruel and savage for land-based anglers.

It was mid-July and I’d cancelled two planned getaways. Fingers crossed by the time you read this I would have had one trip north at least. Given this dire state of affairs I turned my attention to gear organisation. Regardless of their preferred mode of fishing, all anglers could benefit from having their gear well organised. A place for everything and everything in its place as they say. The key to being really organised with your gear is to take advantage of some of the fantastic storage options available these days. In this Shore Angles we will put the rods, reels, line and lures away and look at some ways to better organise our kit.

Time to cotton on with bait

Baiting up for most shore anglers is a pretty simple deal.

Push the hooks through your chosen bait and throw it out into the ocean. This is normally followed by a brief wait before either you hook your chosen target species or, far more likely, pickers strip your bait from the hooks. No wonder a packet of bait can disappear so quickly.

Fish on through winter

With winter setting in, shore anglers in WA are faced with a combination of challenges and opportunities. The challenges are centred around the conditions and the opportunities come from the species themselves that become accessible to land-based anglers over the cooler months.

I’m sure amongst the Western Angler readership there are some of us who pack the gear away over winter and ride out the shorter days and wilder conditions.

Shoveling sharks uphill

Of all the species we encounter off the WA beaches, shovelnose sharks must surely be one of the most powerful and difficult to land.

The correct terminology is actually shovelnose ray, but in this article I will call them sharks because I feel their fighting characteristics are more like sharks than rays in many ways. I’ve had my fair share of experience with these fish and while they are generally considered backbreaking time wasters among serious West Aussie shore anglers, in other parts of the world they are much revered.

Surprise Kalbarri bonefish

I’ve written about unusual land-based captures before but I wasn’t prepared for what happened during my last Murchison trip in October. You might recall I was hoping to encounter land-based pink snapper and it’s fair to say my equipment and bait supply reflected this hope.

Unlike previous trips to the region earlier in the year I lucked out somewhat with the conditions. Both wind and swell conspired against me for the first 36 hours, but the forecast promised some improvement so I stuck it out, camped alone in the hope things would come good.

Kalbarri winter bonanza

You might be surprised to learn that over winter I only went fishing about four times. Rather than do lots of short excursions locally, I preferred to go away for a couple of nights at a time to have a decent crack at it. Not surprisingly I’ve chosen to travel north to the Kalbarri area on three of these occasions.

In order to maximise my chances of success I paid attention to weather and lunar conditions based on what would be most likely to produce the goods. For me this meant concentrating my efforts around the new moon period. If good weather coincided with the new moon then all the better.