Since the new boat is still in the shed awaiting final fit out before it’s first voyage I have had to go back to fishing land based, gee I haven’t done too much of this since I was a teen and early 20’s.
It has been way too long since I was a “harbour rat” chasing the pelagics from suburb to suburb on light spin tackle and metal slugs but I must say I feel re-united with my youth.
The frigate mackeral have turned up on our local waterway and what an absolute ball I have had chasing them again. How quickly I had forgotten about the lightening speed at which they take off at, once hooked.
The reel just sizzle’s and you as an angler will need to run down to the other end of the jetty to follow this fish so it doesn’t cut you off around a boat, pylon or another anglers line. It is pure exhilaration and then once you land them you can’t help but to admire the beauty in their mirror type finish and their missile shaped bodies that are just built for speed.
On a recent trip we introduced a friend to this type of fishing. Firstly, he couldn’t believe you could witness seeing fish like this schooling up. He struggled to see them at first until we lent him a pair of polarised glasses. He was also impressed that you only needed limited gear to be successful. Ha, ha, I am just waiting for his tackle addiction to start.
All you need to start with is a spinning reel 2500 or more with a high speed retrieving ratio preferably 6:0 or higher, something like the Daiwa Ballistic would be a great starting point, not too dear but will deliver on the ratio. Frigates like fast moving lures just like their baitfish. Team that up with a 6-7ft medium/light action rod, which will give you great casting range and leverage from the shore.
If like me most of your reels already have braid on them, they are fine to use. I would recommend 6lb – 10lb is ample with a 4 to 8lb fluorocarbon leader. Remember if you are fishing clearer water than the lighter the leader the better.
However if you are spooling your reel for the first time, either monofilament or fluorocarbon is also okay to use. At times I feel it is better as it has a little stretch so is more forgiving if the fish hits the lure and a better chance of a hook up. Where braid I feel is too direct, you feel more through the line so you react quicker and tend to pull the hooks out of the fish a little more.
Once the fish takes the lure, don’t set the hook, just keep winding until the rod loads up. This way you are not yanking the hooks out of its mouth.
Metal spinning lures are best, as small as you can buy particularly when the fish are feeding on small baitfish. We have been successful of late on 4cm size. You can also buy them in a variety of weights but I find a happy medium of between 7-14gram the best. It is best to mix it up depending on weather conditions. Use the heavier weighted lure in strong wind and or current, as the weight will keep it in the water better on the retrieve. Also if the fish are down a bit deeper don’t be afraid to let the lure sink before retrieve. I like to count how long I have let it sink for so if a successful hookup is gained you know how long to let it sink for the next cast.
Soft plastics on jig heads will also work, obviously a baitfish style plastic. It must be rigged straight so that it doesn’t twist around on the retrieve.
All schools will work differently in your area, depending on water depth of the area, traffic on the water etc; Take note of the time of the tides and or day you are catching them or seeing them and work out their routine.
If you do all of this it won’t be long before you are hooked onto your first frigate. It has certainly re-kindled my fishing passion again, I am now turning into a mad woman with rod and lure in the car at all times in case I either see them busting surface in my travels or I have a spare half hour.
You will know what I mean once you have hooked one – pocket rockets!