This article would be one that I hope readers find useful and actually understand with confidence to put some simple ideas to practice in hope of improving your fishing dramatically. Often you hear fisherman say they went to a location and the fishing was extremely poor and there is no fish left in the ocean. But then they see, hear or read how many big fish have been caught and they think gee I wish I had that persons marks or that person must have had some luck on his side but the truth is he probably catches great fish all the time because he understands what is needed to catch fish and can continue that on a regular basis. If you’re a person who trip after trip complains about the poor fishing you are experiencing and lack of good fishing spots you have but just keep going back too, then please take notice of this article.
Just think, all fishermen started off the same way, but what is it that separates a successful fisherman from an unsuccessful fisherman? Some may think it’s because a special bait or special rig is used but a lot of it comes down to LOCATION. Sure bait, rigs, tides and moons affect your fishing but there’s no point using them in a poor location. You could do many things wrong in a good location and still catch fish so this is why LOCATION is the key.
It amazes me to see spots such as Hutchies out from Moreton Island or even the Pinnacles out from Double Island Point populated with a stack load of boats all bottom fishing in such a small area while another heap of boats troll around them turning the fish off the bite. There’s many reefs around SE Queensland like this and the reason is simply because people find it easy and most get marks out of a GPS book or off a mate but really who is going to give there good marks away for another to go and flog. Don’t get me wrong good fish can still be caught in these highly fished areas but nowhere as much as a spot that rarely gets fished.
Most people think finding their own spot is too difficult and won’t even try, but it’s that attitude which will see you rarely bringing decent fish home and being frustrated with your fishing. If you want to catch fish and find your own spots then its simple and with time and patience you will be rewarded and soon find yourself a successful fishermen and the days of sitting on a popular reef with 30 other boats drowning a bait will be over.
The most Important part of finding new fishing grounds would be your sounder/transducer setup. If you don’t understand how to work your sounder to a reasonable level then please go and talk to people who do, as it’s a very important part of fishing. A lot of people who aren’t happy with their sounder think it’s the unit itself but most of time it’s the transducer setup and it’s so critical to have this right. You can get so many different opinions about the correct position of your transducer from books and experts but the truth is every boat is different and it’s just a matter of trial and error. Generally the lower you can keep the transducer the better but this also creates a lot of spray which can throw water over the motor so its important to find a happy medium and always keep the back of the transducer slightly lower then the front as per instructions of the manual. Try to keep the transducer towards the lower part of the V but still keeping some distance from the motor as this will cause a lot of turbulence/air bubbles so once again a happy medium is required and you may need to change the transducer position several times until the best position is found so you can sound at a decent speed with the Gain/sensitivity turned up to 10 percent of the water depth which should be able to give a clear reading of the bottom and also water 10-15 mtrs above the bottom.
Remember that your only interested in the very lower part of the water column when reef fishing so if the picture shows a fuzzy screen (interference/air bubbles) above this it’s perfectly ok. Adjusting the gain/sensitivity to suit the water depth is very important and to do this you need to run your sounder in manual mode as the auto mode will adjust itself but usually not even close to where you want the settings to be. I don’t like sounding at really high speeds due to the fact that even with a great transducer/sounder setup you can run over little schools of fish and small reefs which might only show as a small speckles that you wouldn’t bother looking at but it’s the speed of running over these areas which gives a false impression and usually a sound back over the mark will see better bottom reading and schools of fish that can be large so keeping a speed of around 15 knots will make sure you miss nothing.
Knowing that your transducer/sounder setup is good you now need to find an area that may interest you or better still the fish. You can choose an area around a known area to start with but you really want to be away from these areas and find isolated reefs that others may not have accidentally come across while heading to the populated reefs. Set yourself an area that you can specifically target and have boundaries that make you stay within. The easiest way to set yourself boundary’s would be to study maps or better still the maps on your GPS unit and mark in your GPS those areas or boundary’s you wish to look at. You may want to set out an area that is square or rectangular which can be up to 5km square or what ever you feel you can cover in the time you have allocated in finding new fishing grounds. This may mean you only cover an area of a couple of km squared for many hours sounding but it maybe very rewarding or you might find very little but at least then you know you have had a good look at that area and continue exploring other new areas.
Spending the time trying to find new areas can be boring and very uneventful but if a year’s worth of good hard looking and sounding around meant you have found some great spots which you can then enjoy and fish for many years to come then it’s really worth it. Using these above methods has found us some great fishing grounds but you must be patient and stick with it even if you have had several trips which resulted in no new fishing grounds found then take those and keep a record stating that you have covered those areas and found very little.
Remember persistence and patience is the key to successful fishing.