The right gear
The value of having the right gear was emphasised by a trip to Hamelin Bay during the school holidays.
There were big numbers of salmon coming through during our stay, but what was really noticeable was that those who could cast longer distances did much better than other anglers.
The schools were often sitting a fair way out, especially early in the week when the swell was up, and it meant long casts were necessary for consistent success.
While all the anglers on the beach, and at times there dozens of fishers casting together at passing schools, were generally using similar lures the actual outfits they deployed them on varied wildly.
Lures were generally casting metals such as a Halco Twisty, Richter Pelacus, Raider or Ocean’s Legacy Slingshot.
Others opted for surface-type lures such as Richter Plugs and GT Ice Creams, or weighted stickbaits like Halco Slidogs, while a few went for the old reliable combo of a mulie and a star sinker.
All approaches were successful at different times, but there was no doubt the most successful anglers were those able to most consistently land their offerings close to the schools as they made their way along the beach.
At times that wasn’t even enough to make them bite, but the ability to cast long distances certainly tilted the odds heavily in your favour.
Watching other people cast it was obvious that some were sadly ill-equipped for the task, with rods that were too short and/or too light for serious shore casting, and with some horribly mismatched to the weight of the lure being cast.
I was lucky enough to try out a new Assassin Spin-Tech Heavy 3.3m casting rod, having broken my beloved 2.85 Shimano rod only a few days earlier.
Rated to cast 28-56g, the Assassin is a budget buy but proved to be great value for money and produced amazingly long casts, as had been touted when I got my hands on it.
I cast lures from 40-70 grams over the three days and reached the distant schools with ease much of the time.
At one stage I watched one angler wade out so far the waves were higher than him and he had to jump to keep his head above water.
He had a short rod with a fast taper and a sloppy tip, and was casting a heavy pink Richter Plug but couldn’t get it far at all.
He couldn’t get near the school in front of us despite being so far out, while I was half way back to shore in waist-deep water and casting over the top of the school with ease.
For all his effort, he just didn’t have the right outfit to get the job done.
While this type of distance shore casting is fairly specialised and there are many times it is not needed, nonetheless it is just one of countless examples in fishing where having the right tackle for the job can make all the difference between success and failure.
Whether it be jigging for dhufish, soaking a bait for mulloway, trolling a creek for barra or casting lures for salmon as we were, having the most suitable gear for the occasion will generally always help put the odds in your favour.
Having said that I once saw an angler catch a big Spanish mackerel while spinning from the Steep Point cliffs with an Alvey reel that was totally unsuited to the job, so sometimes luck intervenes and it doesn’t matter!
Despite being much further out from shore, the angler on the left wasn’t able to reach the school of salmon beyond the breakers while our columnist was able to with ease.
Caption: Coming up trumps with a nice salmon on his new Assassin Spin-Tech Heavy rod and 70g Ocean’s Legacy Slingshot lure.