“Acquaint yourself with the basic knots and traces to successfully target edible species along our coast this holiday.”
The December holidays marks the start of the great migration of inland residents to the coast. This is also when small coastal towns and their small businesses wake from hibernation. Thousands of fishing starter kits and essential equipment will be sold. Dads will spend countless hours next to the water hoping that his kid catches a fish. This is easier said than done. Our fish stocks are under severe pressure and success is well earned even by the experienced angler.
We want to equip the novice angler with the basic techniques to increase his or her chances of success this holiday. We will take a look at traces, bait presentation and how to target certain species.
A good starting point is obtaining a fishing permit from any Post Office. Visit the local tackle shop for advice on target species and good, safe fishing spots. Knowing where to fish and what to fish for is half the battle won. Familiarize yourself with minimum legal size and bag limits per specie and be sure to study the tides.
Basic fishing Knots
• The Improved Clinch Knot
The Improved Clinch is a time-tested and a very popular choice for tying terminal tackle to your main line or leader line. It is quick, easy to tie and reliable.
STEP 1: Thread the line trough the eye of the hook.
STEP 2: Twist the tag end back up the line, 6 or 7 times.
STEP 3: Thread the tag end back thought the opening at the eye off the hook and back though the large loop opening. ”A”
STEP 4: Pull the knot tight and clip excess to finish knot.
• The Albright Knot
The Albright Knot is one of the most reliable knots for joining lines of unequal diameters or different materials such as monofilament to braided line. It is easy to tie and should be in every angler’s knot arsenal.
STEP 1: Create a loop, in the thicker line. Pass about 25cm of the thiner line through the loop.
STEP 2: Take the thinner line and wrap it 10 times nealty around itself and the loop.
STEP 3: Pass the end back through the loop, lubricate and pul tight.
Step 4: Trim the tag ends.
A Haywire twist is used to tie single strand wire to terminal tackle.
STEP 1: Place the tag end of the wire through the hook eye. Cross the tag over the main strand forming and X. Pinch with your thumb and forefinger to keep in place.
STEP 2: Hold the wire and make a half-turn with the main strand, 5 or 6 times. The tag and main strand must be held so that such an X forms each time a turn is completed. Now the main strand should be straight, and the tag end should be perpendicular to it.
STEP 3: Make three or four sequential wraps around the main line with tag end.
STEP 4: Take the tag end and form a small handle at a 90-degree angle to the knot. Work the handle back and forth in a parallel motion to the main strand, breaking the wire flush to the last wrap.
STEP 5: Make sure the wire breaks cleanly. If not, cut it and start over. NEVER trim the tag with cutters; this will result in a small, sharp tag that can result in injury.
All Purpose Estuary Trace
Used with the ultra-light or light outfit this trace is ideal for most estuarine species, particularly targeting Grunter, Cob, Garrick, Rock Cod and Bream. It incorporates a ball or barrel sinker that slides freely up the line to reduce resistance when a fish picks up the bait. Hook sizes from no. 8 to 1/0 is advised. The hook snood should be about 60cm long and as light as possible, around 4kg to 6kg breaking strain unless bigger fish are targeted. Bait for estuary fishing is usually shrimps or prawns, strips of sardine fillet and even squid. Experiment with baits and combinations until you find what the fish is feeding on.
Basic Gully Fishing
Basic Gully Trace
Fishing gullies with light tackle is a popular and effective technique for catching species such as Galjoen, Blacktail, zStonebream and Carenteen feeding in these turbulent waters. Hook sizes from no.4 to 2/0 tied to a hook snood of 40cm with 5kg to 10kg breaking strain. A light tear drop sinker works best because you don’t want to anchor the bait – it needs to move with in the current. The sinker snood should be slightly shorter than the hook snood and substantially lighter in breaking strain. This will brake off should the sinker become stuck in the rocks and you will not lose the entire trace. Redbait, white mussel, marine worms, prawns, sardines and “chokka” are baits that is used with great success.
Basic Shad (Elf)Bottom Trace
Shad have razor sharp teeth so piano wire is used for the hook snood. Tie a 10cm long piano wire to a barrel swivel and a 2/0 to 4/0 hook with the haywire twist. Now tie a piece of Nylon of 50cm to the other end of the barrel swivel. Thread a cork or some form of floatation on to the nylon and tie the lose end to a 3-way swivel. Tie your mainline to the 3-way swivel and a piece of nylon of 30cm to the remaining eye of the 3-way swivel and secure your sinker to it. Medium or light tackle are advised to target this favoured specie. Use a whole or cut sardine but when shad are on the bite revert to spoons to stay part of the action. Experiment with the size of your bait to increase your chances of catching these delicious edible fish.
There are many variations for these traces and pre-rigged traces are available from most tackle stores. Be sure to release your catch after photos and remember to share it with us.