USA Reflections

Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:27 am

Well the holiday to the States has come and gone with a fantastic memory to last with me till the next adventure is on offer. A key point of the trip that I must thank Rod Smith for is the opportunity to experience some of the fishing and techniques that are used to catch big Bluefish (Tailor) and Strippers from the beach.


Early morning and hopes were high

I should point out here that Rod is a top class angler who specialises in fishing the beaches with both Lures and baits. The outfits used are primarily Spinning (Threadline / Fixed Spool) reels with rods that are shorter and lighter than what Australian and European / British anglers are accustomed too.


Rod is an active caster as well as top angler

Rods ability to use these outfits to there fullest is clearly evident when seeing him on the casting field as well as on the beach. Rods were predominately CTS and reels were Shimano and Van Stalls.


Rod with some of his outfits

Rod picked me up early on the Monday after the nationals and we headed towards the coast in the hope of getting into a few good sized fish , stopping off at some of the local tackle stores to pick up some additional bait as well as to get some first hand info on what to expect.

The week prior to the nationals Rod and a few mates had the fish smoking with Blues in excess of 15 pound and I must say the pictures of those fish only increased my desire to get a few for myself.
Well as could be expected where fishing is concerned with me its always “ you should have been out last week “ The reports that we got were that with the change in weather and a shift in the winds the fish had moved further out , still being encountered from the boats but the beach action had slowed right down.
Whilst we were picking up the bait I finally git to see what a “Bunker”was, it looks like a cross between a mullet and a pilchard in that the flesh is very soft and carries a high oil/blood level and is a primary baitfish used in the States.
Also the term 8 and bait generally refers to the use of 8 oz leads matched with a chunk of this baitfish or an equally large piece of mullet.


The beach with associated 4x4’s something we Victorians don’t get the chance to do

Still undaunted we proceeded down to the beach with Rod preparing his 4x4 pickup for the session on the beach. It was impressive to say the least to see air and water stations available to anglers to allow the letting down of the tyre pressure to better traverse the soft sand, comfortable in the knowledge that it would be a simple matter to pump them up after the session without the need to carry your own compressor as is the case in Northern Australia as one of the few areas that beach anglers are allowed to drive on the beach.
After lowering the tyre pressure and making sure everything was secure we hit the beach. I must say that on this particular day there was no surf to speak of and I was greated to the sight of a long stretch of beach with vehicles spread out along and the hopefuls either slinging baited rigs or throwing poppers or metals in the hope of taking a fish.
With the lack of visible activity I decided to set up my TT sport matched with the new Penn Squall 12 loaded with 14 pond line and running a 50 pound shocky and pulley rig.


Penn Squall and Century Tip Tornado Sport ( A top flight 8 & bait rig )

Along with Rod I also used a piece of bunker and set it out with a 6 oz grip lead. Wind direction was on-shore and across the beach which whilst making top distances a bit more difficult also allowed me to see how the Penn would handle it. To say that the reel is safe would be an understatement with absolutely no hint of a problem but still allowing a good distance with the big payload.


A reasonable sized piece of Bunker ready to be sent out

We persisted with the bait fishing till the change of tide and with the lack of activity decided to head down the beach and put a few poppers to work in any water that looked remotely like holding a fish. Hopes weren’t high as we saw no action from any anglers further along the beach but as any spin man knows you can strike a fish only if you have a lure in the water.


Having a range of outfits close at hand and being able to travel the long beaches is something to only dream of.

It was at this point that my learning curve took a steep upward curve as I watched rod work the poppers through the likely water. It became clear why he preferef the shorter lighter sticks and a more parabolic action which aided in smoothing out the casting of which you needed to be doing plenty. Unlike what I was used to Rod was holding the rod high and jigging the tip in the verticle position as he wound it in flat chat. The Pencil poppers in particular could be seen to dance the tail end from side to side whilst the shallow cup face pushed up bursts of water.


Rod working his lure back to shore

With the more tranditional wide face popper the action was slower with a more definitive pause in the retrieve to maximise the splash and skip. The lightweight rods and fast Shimano Threadline made this a simple task,that matched to rods with shortish grips better suited to repeat cast and retrieve.


The shorter grips make working lures easier

It was most unfortunate that with all of this excellent tuition and being taken along a large stretch of beach my run of bad luck persisted to the end and I didn’t end up getting a single fish whilst in the States.

Still it was a brilliant induction into what beach fishing in the states is like and I look forward to the day when I get back over and hopefully this time get to fish and catch fish with a top class angler like rod and the other casters/fishermen that the sport of distance casting allows you to meet up with.

Once again Rod, thanks for a top day out. :D :D :D

Re: USA Reflections

Mon Dec 13, 2010 7:24 pm

Great Report Jeremy....

What a setup Rod has with the Jeep and everything to hand like that......very impressive.