………And then it was winter. The Lureandfly.com team is coming off their “summer high” where all their hardbody tricks and good comp results suddenly go out the window and they’re left scratching their heads as to how to catch fish in “winter” patterns. If this were an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, the first step is to admit you have a problem. We’ve all done that part and now it’s time to work on the problem. Part of the solution lately has been doing something old school, tried and tested but with a new slant.
I’ve actually been fishing with plastics more in the last few months than I have in the last few years but with one small difference. “Less is more” is how I’ve been thinking lately and the results have been promising. Whether you call it “dead sticking” (letting it sit motionless) or “shake and bake” (move it a tiny bit, then let it sit motionless) it’s been around for years. The lure that has got me back into plastics lately is the Ecogear Bream Prawns.
It started a Forster when throwing the light grey coloured one unweighted around the oyster farmers sheds because I figured there was no better imitation for a stray bit of oyster in the water. So the best way to fish them was to put them where the fish should be and just do nothing (after all, a shucked oyster doesn’t do much when thrown in the water). I filled a bag doing this and then went on looking for bigger fish.
Next it was the Shoalhaven River and fishing racks that were thick with so much weed you couldn’t move a lure through it except for small holes around the poles. Again, the technique of choice was to put the lightly weighted Bream Prawns in the right spot and do nothing.
It’s not just an oyster related thing either. I have found good results in the weedy edges of St Georges Basin doing much the same thing only with a little more weight to get it out there and then twitch across the top and then drop it into holes in the weed and let it sit for a long time.
How are these shallow water applications going to help with my problem you ask? As with all things with me, a little comes from what I am doing and then another large part comes from observing what other people are doing. It was a bit of a lightbulb moment (for me) when I heard Russell Babekuhl and Steve Morgan where doing pretty much the same technique as I have been using for shallow water only in 20-30ft of water at the SGB ABT event just gone. Rus with plastics and Steve with his beloved stick minnows. There’s probably a good number of people who already know this and are thinking “duh, Josh I’ve been doing this for ages” but I also bet there are a lot of people who might not, So bear with me.
I think I get stuck in the idea of a very “reaction” based bite but the more I slow down when it comes to plastics the more I start to think the fish are pretty aware of what is happening around them and will come and check something out if it is left on the spot for long enough i.e. it doesn’t hit the bottom and immediately commence moving away in two big, jerky movements. As has been said before, fish don’t have hands and they check things out with their mouth. So as much as Ian is shuddering in his boots, I think I’m going to spend a bit of time dead sticking the deep flats with Bream Prawns and other plastics this winter and see if I can’t improve my catch rate a little.