Getting to grips with customisation

One sideline I have enjoyed dabbling with when I’m not actually fishing is building my own fishing rods. Having at least some basic understanding of how fishing rods are assembled will come in handy if something fails in the field and you need to make your own running repairs.

If you get more motivated, you can create custom rods that simply aren’t available from the mainstream rod suppliers. Shore anglers are often looking for something different to gain that all-important upper hand with casting distance or some other challenge associated with out-foxing our quarry.

Given the plethora of how-to information available online, I won’t go into the actual techniques for rod building here. Instead I thought we could take a look at some of the more unconventional options available in the way of components used.

Working around weed

From an angling perspective the summer of 2017/18 was notable for a few reasons. It was quite a bit cooler than normal. It was definitely windier than usual, especially in the latter part of summer, and for the beach angler it was an absolute shocker for weed.

Weed build-up and onshore winds often go together. Some summers on our west coast see the sea breezes easing up from about mid-January. Years like these normally see the weed on the beaches starting to clear around the same time. Unfortunately as I wrote this at the start of May we were only just seeing the beaches return to relatively weed-free status.

Utilising Bionic Fingers

Fixed spool or threadline reels continue to be the popular choice for most surfcasters, while multiplier or overhead reels tend to appeal to the fanatical fringe at least in the WA beach fishing scene.

With the continued development and refinement of threadline reels even diehard overhead surfcasters are starting to take another look at threadlines. When used on today’s powerful graphite surfcasting rods, the threadline angler is faced with a potential problem with managing cuts to the casting finger. This is especially so when braided mainlines are used.

Under world beckons

Fishing reels as we know them have been around for a long, long time. Centrepin, revolving drum and spinning reels, they’ve been around for over a century in their various but limited vagaries.

Centrepins feature a rotating spool that spins on an axis central to the spool and fixed to the side plate on the one side only. The shaft is the centre pin that describes the genre including Alvey-style reels, fly reels, deck winches and true centrepins. This is arguably the simplest in design of all fishing reels, with very few moving parts to go wrong. Only the old faithful handline is less complicated. But it tangles more.

Salmon in the surf

With salmon season upon us again thought it would be timely to have a look at targeting this iconic species from the sand using surfcasting methods.

Many land-based anglers are quite obsessed with lure casting to salmon. While this approach can be a lot of fun and very productive, there are times when the fish are in smaller groups or holding down deep and not particularly interested in lures. You can successfully catch salmon from open sandy surf beaches and I’ll pass on a few pointers for anyone interested.

Thick & thin of line

Australian shore anglers don’t seem to pay much attention to the diameter of their main line, at least compared to shore anglers from other countries. For as long as I can remember we seem to be more obsessed with breaking strain than line thickness.

Although the two measurements are to some extent related, there is plenty of variation of line diameter for a given breaking strain. Let’s take a closer look at how shore anglers can use line diameter to their advantage.

Sharks really bite

We wiser (older) folk know that regardless of how much we like to theorise and ponder there is rarely any better way to learn than to put boots on the ground, on the beach or in the boat to get the nuts and bolts of what really works. I had another of those perfect learning opportunities recently. And I do love a great lesson.

We called into Broome to catch up with family as part of the run home on our extended trip towing the caravan to Darwin and back.

The many moods of mulloway

After a solid couple of hours of fishing the sun had finally reached the horizon. Apart from one solid tailor the session had been pretty slow. But importantly the moon was new, the tide rising and the sea conditions appeared ideal with that all important mix of water movement without excessive currents. In short, expectations were still high.

Rather than move locations we chose to stay put and try to capitalise on the scent we had been gradually building up with our baits in the water. The witching hour was upon us and it was now or never.