NZ Fishing World home
NZ Fishing World

Catching the uncatchable

November 14, 2019
Catching the uncatchable

For the last ten years I have made it my mission to learn everything I could about catching marlin on lures. It has been an amazing journey and my learnings are ever evolving.

In this article I will share a few tips on rigging lures and techniques for fighting fish, to hopefully help you catch an extra fish or two.

Before all else

It seems obvious but the most important thing is to make sure the hooks are sharp. It is lure fishing 101 yet so often overlooked. Hook sharpening is a skill that requires developing, practicing preseason will certainly help.

Right Files

To achieve razor sharp hooks it is essential to possess a good pair of files. The first file to acquire is a single cut bastard file. This is used to take the bulk off the hook, thinning down the barb and point.

The second file to get is a fine diamond-embedded file. This one is used to finish the job, polishing the hook down to a razor sharp point. Once the hooks are sharp this file can be used daily to keep the points sharp with fine and accurate polishing, allowing expensive game hooks last longer.

Rig types

In my experience the actual type of hook and rig is vitally important. I prefer a single closed gape hook with a loose swinging rig for the following reasons: a closed gape hook, rigged in a swinging style, will naturally pull itself further in when the point of the hook starts to bite. This setup is also more flexible and less likely to fail under stress.

The ability to catch a fish that is not properly hooked is the x-factor the best crews use to stay on top.

Getting in behind

Big game fishing with lures is a team game, where everybody has a part to play in achieving a capture. As the skipper it is important to focus on keeping the lure behind the fish the whole time. A fish swimming away from the boat with the leader pulling over its shoulder very rarely ever shakes the hook.

A game of chess

If you can focus on the angles and keep your head in the game with the aim of a successful capture, rather a picture of black smoking glory and locked-up drags, you will swing the odds in your favour.

There are a number of ways to do this. The first is do relax a bit about maintaining a tight line. With lure fishing slack line is your friend.

Slack line creates a belly in the water forcing the lure to trail naturally behind the fish. There may be no weight at the angler’s end yet the fish is still dragging the lure and line behind it, keeping the hook right where it needs to be.

The second thing is to avoid fishing straight up and down above the fish. In this scenario it is very easy to pull the hook straight off the bill as it changes direction. Of course, the angler has a big part to play, particularly with respect to correct drag management. The angler should apply just enough drag to gain the line. This will benefit the fight in
a few ways.

One, it will reduce the incidence of pulled hooks if they are fouled or in a soft spot. Secondly, it will help reduce gear failure during a rampaging first run. Remember, no matter how much drag you apply you’re not going to stop a green fish with the drag. It will also help by not turning the fish, especially if the fish is small and jumping.

A reduced drag may also change the behavior of the fish. I have found that with a light drag the fish will often stay up on the surface more and allow the skipper to chase the fish, keeping the lure behind it and a belly in the water.

Rampaging fish are best managed with light drags.

Exception to the rule

Using just enough drag to do the job is the recommended technique while a fish is on the surface. But when the fish decides to go deep the angler must react with some heat on the drag lever. As the fish starts to go down the skipper will not be able to chase it. A good skipper will want to maintain some angle for leverage.

An increase in pressure may be all that is needed to get the fish to come back to the surface. Once it’s back on the surface the angler can drop the drag back and the skipper can once again chase the fish.

This combination of angler drag management and skipper boat handling is a deadly weapon. You will be surprised how fast you can subdue a big fish using this technique. More importantly it will give you the best chance of catching a fish which is not properly hooked...

                                                                           

A career traveling the world's hottest spots has refined the author's skills to an expert level.

I hope these few tips help you out on the water this season. They have been vital to my increasing success over the past few seasons.

Related posts

My First Marlin
Big Game
On a recent road trip to the magic far north, leaving out of Houhora, we managed to capture the hookup and battle of first ever marlin for young Flyn Jack (@ Flyn Jack Fishing) . Truly an amazing experience and a magnificent place to fish from, when you are in big game waters within less than an hour from shore. Take a look at the adventure. Big thanks to Hunstman Boats, and Grant Foster on the deck.
How to correctly crimp a game lure
Big Game
Here is the correct way to crimp a lure using mono for tuna and marlin, as instructed by Bonze Fleet from Bonze Lures.
Talking to Bonze about rigging for marlin
Big Game
Our north island road trip with young Flyn Jack (@Flyn Jack Fishing) had us dropping in to see the legendary Bonze (Bonze Lures) for some expert advice on rigging for marlin. Bonze is world famous as a true expert in his field, and if you want advice on how to catch marlin, Bonze is well worth listening to. It was so great to see such a busy man take the time out of his day to help out Flyn, and he gave us some great advice about setting up the boat, which eventually turned out to be very valuable, with Flyn landing his first marlin. It's pretty rough and ready, but I ran the camera to grab some of this advice as Bonze talked to Flyn, so take a look and you might pick up some tips.
Ranfurly Banks bluefin & deep drop action
Big Game
The mighty bluefin run that we are lucky enough to get off Waihau Bay each year was an absolute cracker this year. Check out a bit of footage we put together on board Coastal Charters with young Flyn Jack on the fish.
Landing a Swordfish
Big Game
Check out a little video log we made a few years ago featuring Edward Uhai Lee landing his first sword. Drop number 1 on a picture perfect day out off the mighty Manukau a few clicks. These are definitely strong beasts, and took a bit of grunting to get this one on deck.
Yellowfin Tuna Top Tips
Big Game
Check out some gold tips from the experts at catching yellowfin tuna. Luke from Yeehaa Fishing Tackle takes us through top lures, how to run them, and has some great advice if you want to target these fantastic fish.
All Related

See Also

The Lure of The Hauraki
Destinations
It’s a bold statement but fisherman tend to be prone to bold statements - there is no International city on earth that has fishing as good as The Hauraki Gulf on its back doorstep…. This week we join Pete Francis from Hunting & Fishing to test the theory! Armed with the latest selection of Hunting & Fishing New Zealand exclusive Daiwa slow jigging combos we experience the Hauraki Gulf at its absolute finest. Settle in for an epic adventure on Auckland's doorstep.
The Lateral Line: EP #21
Inshore
Nato has set Milan the task of catching a big snapper before he is allowed to catch another king fish. Then Nato has a bed time story about a pack of king fish hammering a live bait.
My First Marlin
Big Game
On a recent road trip to the magic far north, leaving out of Houhora, we managed to capture the hookup and battle of first ever marlin for young Flyn Jack (@ Flyn Jack Fishing) . Truly an amazing experience and a magnificent place to fish from, when you are in big game waters within less than an hour from shore. Take a look at the adventure. Big thanks to Hunstman Boats, and Grant Foster on the deck.
Pat Swift Jigging Flies
Fresh water
Since the introduction of jigging for trout, this fun and very fruitful method of fishing has made catching trout in lakes a lot more fun than dragging them in on heavy lead lines.
The Lateral Line: Ep #20
Inshore
The boys set out to make a educational “best practice” shark fishing video, after a considerable increase in recreational fishermen targeting Sharks. There has also been an increase in accidental Great White Shark captures by recreational fishermen. After some 10 years targeting Bronze Whaler Sharks the boys have only ever seen one Great White Shark and never hooked one while Shark fishing. What takes place completely blows their minds!
The Lateral Line : EP #19
Inshore
After spending the Xmas holidays catching king fish in the harbour, Milan is super keen to finally land a king fish while Nato films it with his iPhone. The boys see a massive king fish around a marker pole and spend 3 days trying to catch it.
All Posts

Drop NZ Fishing World a line!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.