NZ Fishing World home
NZ Fishing World

Catching the uncatchable

01 May 2015
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

Earning a marlin
Big Game
I was once told “you don’t catch a marlin, you earn one”. I have recently discovered this statement is almost uncomfortably close to the truth.
The elusive big eye tuna
Big Game
The bigeye tuna is the most elusive tuna in the South Pacific but as Al McGlashan explains a change of techniques might just see you hook up to this deep water trophy.
To catch a predator - Targeting sharks
Big Game
Our coastal seas are teeming with sharks but very few fishers see them as a sport fish. Paul Walker looks at our most common species and how we can target them.
The 14ft Stabicraft and the striped marlin
Big Game
Fishing in the 14ft Stabicraft ''Bad Batch'' off the Hen and Chicks, Northland NZ.
The beginner's guide to gamefishing
Big Game
Don't wait for a lotto win before getting into game fishing. Start now
Yamaha School of Fish: Game Fishing from Trailer Boats
Big Game
In this video, Graeme Heapy and the team from Marine North in Whangarei take you through an introduction to big game fishing from outboard powered trailer boats. Check out the hints and tips and you might consider gearing up to tackle something a little larger than your usual snapper and kingfish.
All Related

See Also

Catch Deep-V Slow-Pitch Jig
Gear
The Deep V is a versatile lure for catching kingfish, XXL snapper and many other species. It combines several design features to present a lure that is irresistible.Here's a slow pitch jig that can either be mechanically jigged or slow pitch fished to save your energy. Check out the new Catch Deep V
Fogdog Beer Batter
Cooking
To hell with the diet, there are times when fresh fish just screams for a light, crunchy beer batter. If you are looking for a fool-proof, instant, mouth-watering golden batter that cracks like a potato chip, makes you look like a master chef and pleases any crowd, then get yourself down to your nearest supermarket and pick up a packet of Fogdog.
New Product: Catch Water Wings - with video
Gear
Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, it is the newest addition to the Catch Fishing ‘Livies’ stable of TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) wriggling goodies.
FCL Labo surface lures
Gear
There’s been a real growth in the stick bait and surface lure department this year, with so many anglers enjoying great action getting ripped by the local kingfish population. Fishing sticks around opportunistic boilups, reef structure, or marker buoys etc, is without doubt totally thrilling to see, and the gear is so much fun to fight fish on.
Innovision 515 Active - centre console
Boats
If throwing soft baits, saltwater flies, or stick baits is your bag, then take a second look at this. NZ Fishing World recently spent a bit of time with fledgeling boat manufacturer Innovision, based in Whangarei, filming and enjoying a day on board a couple of their smaller model offerings, including the very handy 515 centre console.
Gosen specialist braid
Gear
Should you buy a specialist casting braid? Cut to the chase…yes, you should, and here’s why.
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.