FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Shallow water hunting for trophy fish

Post Options Post Options   Likes (2) Likes(2)   Quote YeeHaa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Shallow water hunting for trophy fish
    Posted: 27 Jul 2018 at 1:02am
YeeHaa View Drop Down
Titanium
Titanium
Avatar

Joined: 18 Mar 2008
Location: New Zealand
Status: Offline
Points: 4003

Winter Softbaiting for Trophy Snapper 24.07.18

Out of the corner of my left eye I saw Manuel strike and set his Gulp 7" Firetiger Jerkshad on a 3/8oz Nitro jighead hard!  I snapped around immediately as I heard his Shimano Twinpower 4000 drag squeal under a heavy load as the fish bullrushed its way into the shadows of the shallows.

It was a good fish!  And exactly what we were searching for in the spooky tiger country that we were hunting them in.  The bottom was full of big boulders, with kelp, neptune necklace seaweed interspersed between the odd clear patches where colonies of kina clung to the surface of these boulders.  Just impoverishing on terminal tackle is this style of softbaiting as it is a risk or reward technique that requires after the cast a measured guess-timate as to sink rates before skimming the Gulp softbait close to the bottom and through the tangled lattice work of trenches back towards the boat.

“Get on the helm Paul!”  Manuel yelled as I was already turning the key to start up the Yamaha 4 stroke 100HP outboard.

Engaging forward gear as smoothly as I can and not upset the equilibrium of Manuel who was at this stage wrestling with a seriously bent Yeehaa 704 2 pce custom rod on the bow of his Extreme 540 centre console.

It was easy to drive up to the fish and cut it off as it was fleeing through his underground backyard as the bright green Varivas Sea Bass PE2 was silhouetted against the stealthy shadow of the land.

“I forgot the landing net, it’s still leaning against the garage!”  Manuel muttered in between choice expletives.

“No problem, it’ll just make it interesting.” I replied as I was now reversing back hard as the fish started to charge back towards the boat.

After the initial 100m plus burst and subsequently shorter runs the snapper appeared on the surface as Manuel worked it hard to keep its head up and soon we drove alongside it as it flopped over on its side.

1. It's Big!

This fish was big.

My first attempt to grab it by its tail was a failure.  It felt; meaty, slippery and strangely warm to the touch.

“Gill it!”  Manuel suggested while expertly keeping this behemoth alongside.

I managed to with reasonable gentle force shove my right hand under and into its gill cavity.  My right hand disappeared and I was able to quickly lift this snapper aboard.

2. This is not a pannie!

After a quick weight check the thing clocked the digital scale at 22.7 lbs.  Well over the 20 lb mark, and a subsequent length check on the measure mat saw it in at 82 cms.  This is an impressive fish that after the photos swam away strongly back to its hood.

 

3. Let's get it back in the water!

 

4.  Great to see it swim away strongly!

 

Obviously we were both delighted with this encounter and to have so quickly fulfilled the objective of the day within the first hour!

However, like all fishing there was then a long period between fish as we waded through our stocks of Gulp softbaits and jigheads.  Its character building stuff and great practice for tying FG knots quickly in a rocking boat.  I see it as an opportunity to improve the accuracy and distance of my casts both port, starboard and left handed in my case.

This style of angling wouldn’t suit everyone as hunting for trophy fish using light tackle softbait rigs is not the same as meat fishing in a thousand gannet workup.  

It requires skillful casting, placement of the softbaits, working out sink rates, patience and the acceptance that there will be losses in tackle to the gnarly bottom terrain and lots of softbait attrition from leatherjackets and banded wrasse attacks.  It’s expedient to carry 2 softbait rod and reel sets to get back fast into the next cast after a break off.

However, the advantage are instead of focusing a bait and berley session on one zone off the stern through a single tide change.  Softbaiting allows the angler to cover more ground on the silent drift and therefor more chances to encounter a trophy fish as you drift through each individual big fish territory.   Before long you will note similarities in their choices of habitat.  Availability of food, good shelter for hiding, ambushing prey and water quality.

The tactical choice for using Gulp is simply because they work well in this environment when the angler needs every advantage from his/her gear used.  Gulp still has the most scent dispersion being a water based product compared to others on the market.  Plus they are nearly biodegradeable a critical factor as our awareness for not leaving behind any plastic rubbish is mandatory.  I also like the greater variety of colour choices, sizes and shapes to try out in different scenarios.  We only used 6.5 inch Grubs, 7" Jerkshads, and 10" Eels on #5 sized Nitro jigheads.  The reasoning for the big sizes in softbait is that they will definitely notice a big juicy morsel gliding and twerking down, away or across their habitat.

It also helps enormously to quickly startup and drive after the fleeing fish as the gear used is light tackle.  And it does require team work and synchronization between the angler and helms-person to chase and maintain pressure on the hook to even have a less then 30% chance of landing these shallow water trophy fish.

My personal highlights came from using the Gulp 10 inch Natural Eel in the mid afternoon as I worked out that even though they were getting chewed up by the leather jackets and reef fish during their swim time.  I was not having to change softbaits as frequently.  A 10” eel reduced per cast to 7”, 6” and finally 5” before I retired them.

The 2 fish that did hit the Gulp Natural Eel both initially felt like another snag up on the bottom until they then headed into the shallows at ever increasing rate of knots! The first one fell off at the start of its second run due to a blunt hook tip that failed to penetrate deeply.  And the final one was "oh so close, but no cigar" as alongside the boat it came off the 5/8oz jighead I was using at that stage to counter the wind oppose tide situation.  (As my friend Joe would say, “Did you see it? And if you didn’t, it doesn’t count!”  Well in this case, yes Joe I saw the second one but it still doesn’t count as it’s still swimming out there!)

My final thought is the need to catch and release after bumping into these magnificent trophy fish.  They need to be released asap unharmed to allow their genetic line to propagate and continue.  Manuel’s fish looked like a fast growing fish.  And even though it was dark in colour, it wasn’t a battle scarred kelpie veteran of the shallows.  We hope it's genetic propensity for growing big and fast continues.  It does feel better to let it go then to chop it up for food.

(It's late nearly 1am and I can't figure out how to post photos on this forum as I've not visited this site since 2011.  I'll figure it out once I get the files out of Dropbox.  But they are in the format this forum requires.  I'll call Grunta lateron.  Please bear with me while I sort out the technical difficulties.  However, if you can't wait you can get a preview of some of the photos in the Yeehaa Facebook page under the same heading as the above title.)  

Cheers

Wee Tin


WWW.YEEHAA.CO.NZ
(09)5705058
30 Jellicoe Road Panmure
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Sufishent Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jul 2018 at 9:54am
Sufishent View Drop Down
Platinum
Platinum
Avatar

Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Location: Browns Bay
Status: Offline
Points: 1087
Great to read a Wee Tin report again - been far too long :)
You can never have enough fishing tackle
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Jaapie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jul 2018 at 10:37am
Jaapie View Drop Down
Platinum
Platinum
Avatar

Joined: 14 Apr 2003
Location: Guinea Bassau
Status: Offline
Points: 2262
Originally posted by YeeHaa YeeHaa wrote:

“Gill it!”  Manuel suggested while expertly keeping this behemoth alongside.

I managed to with reasonable gentle force shove my right hand under and into its gill cavity.  My right hand disappeared and I was able to quickly lift this snapper aboard.



Well done on a great fish mate and congrats to the angler.Clap

Shoving your hand into its gill cavity and then releasing doesn't bode well for the fish however.

Kinda like someone sticking their hands (gently or otherwise) into your lungs and then saying off you go.

I thought long and hard before posting this, but for the sake of enlightening others thought it necessary. Not taking anything away from you guys, but proper fish handling certainly helps.

Perhaps consider a net next time.

"Only when the last tree has died, the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught,will we realize that we cannot eat money" - 19th Century Indian Creed
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Keith C Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jul 2018 at 3:32pm
Keith C View Drop Down
Platinum
Platinum
Avatar

Joined: 17 Jul 2002
Location: Urenui
Status: Offline
Points: 2493
“I thought long and hard before posting this, but for the sake of enlightening others thought it necessary. Not taking anything away from you guys, but proper fish handling certainly helps.”

And this previous post from Jaapie is exactly why people don’t post.

For your info Jaapie, I think Wee Tin & the Yeehaa crowd know how to handle fish & for you to focus on the exception, isn’t necessary. You might want to read some of the articles Paul (Wee Tin) has written over the past decade or two.
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Colombo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2018 at 7:25pm
Colombo View Drop Down
Bronze
Bronze


Joined: 06 Nov 2014
Status: Offline
Points: 59
Appreciate the sentiment - not the best practice but we were without a landing net.

We did not touch its gills mate - just grabbed the gill plate with one hand and tail with the other. If you ever are fortunate enough to tangle with one of these guys, you'll discover there is a lot of gill plate to hold onto without interfering with the gills themselves.

It was kept out of the water for the shortest time, put back in the shallows where it would not be vulnerable, and revived before fully released to ensure it could swim off and did not barrel.

We fish with fully de-barbed hooks, and fish over 55cm typically go back unless they are obviously injured so severely that they won't make it.

Dont be afraid to post in defence of the fish and the fishery - glad you did and thought it was respectful. I think most of us want there to be 20lbers in the shallows for ourselves and generations to come - and that will only happen if we share our knowledge about best practice with fish.

Legasea Fish Care series is also excellent.

Tight lines!
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Jaapie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2018 at 7:59pm
Jaapie View Drop Down
Platinum
Platinum
Avatar

Joined: 14 Apr 2003
Location: Guinea Bassau
Status: Offline
Points: 2262
Thank you mate!
"Only when the last tree has died, the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught,will we realize that we cannot eat money" - 19th Century Indian Creed
Back to Top
Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote seawolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jun 2019 at 11:55pm
seawolf View Drop Down
Gold
Gold


Joined: 12 Dec 2006
Location: whakatane
Status: Offline
Points: 681
9.6kg out of 3meters of rock infested water, brother had to back the boat after it like chasing a blue in the azores! Z man 7inch jerkshad in nuke chicken on a unweighted hook. Caught 4 fish that morn and they strike just after the lure splashes down with a big swirl under the surface then off and racing! Berkley im6 dropshot 8foot 3inch rod with shimano stradic ci4 plus reel, 3000 size spooled with 3kg berkley fireline crystal. Loving the new trokar tk130 flippin hooks with plastic softbait keeper and the mustad G34131NP-BN grip pin max hooks for casting unweighted softbaits in the shallows. 
Back to Top
Forum Jump
Forum Permissions View Drop Down


This page was generated in 0.105 seconds.