NZ Fishing World home
NZ Fishing World

Preparing for the expected - The basics explained

21 October 2015
Preparing for the expected - The basics explained

Fishing is not a complicated business. Understanding a few basics will go a long way towards ongoing success and enjoyment of the sport. Ados Addicted to Fishing’s Nicky Sinden shares a few good tips to get you rolling. There is a lot to be said for training up your mates in advance of an epic fishing adventure.

I recently received a plea for help in the form a text message from a friend’s husband, which read,
“Hello, Your mate just had the biggest tantrum on the boat. It might have been because I lost her kingfish over the side. I may need some Sinden fish handling tips to help save my marriage”. What he forgot to mention was that the kingi would have pushed the 30-kilo mark and would have been her new personal best.

Rigging up gear, applying bait and hooking a fish are only part of the story. No successful fishing tale is complete until the job is done at the boat. As with most accidents, sh/* happens quickly and you often only have a few moments to grab that fish and get it in the boat. And the bigger the fish, the shorter the window of opportunity to secure a result.

What happened in Geoff and Candice’s case is a classic of example of what not to do when a big angry kingi sees the boat and goes mental. Geoff grabbed the leader and wrapped it untidily around his hand several times. As fish thrashed around the leader started cutting into him so he let go and gave the fish enough slack in the line to throw the hook and escape. The result, for Geoff is an unhappy wife and a tale he won’t be able to live down for quite some time.

The 90/10 rule

Broadly speaking, fishos come in two categories. There’s the hardcore types who fish at least once a week and spend most of their time researching fishing whenever they’re not on the water. Then there’s the other 90% who love to go fishing but don’t have the opportunity or time to invest in it.

When I take people out on the boat that fit into the 90% category I make sure to share as much basic fishing knowledge as I can, which inevitably makes the day better for everyone onboard. I always start with the following tips:

Three basic pilchard rigs: These three rigs are my go-to snapper setups when fishing with bait. They are simple, effective and easy to remember.

The Ledger rig. This rig gives you two chances as well as the possibility of a double hook up. When applying the hook through the head of the bait I like to go up through the mouth and have the hook poking out the hard part of the head between the eyes. When hooking the flesh part of a pilchard make sure to get as much meat as possible or go around the backbone, so the pilchard doesn’t fall off the hook, while still exposing the barb.

Half Pilchard rig. The single hook, half pilchard rig is used in common straylining circumstances. I like to hook mine up so that the barb is still exposed near a nice piece of flesh or gut cavity. A couple of half hitches are useful. One around the hook to pull the shank down and help expose the barb, the other around the tail to help secure the bait.

Whole Pilchard rig. A whole pilchard can be used to entice a bigger fish or bigger bite. It is best done with two hooks; one in the gut cavity and one in the tail. A half hitch around the shank of the back hook and around the tail, with a sinker in between tidies this offering nicely. Sometimes I snap the head off the pilchard to release all the tasty juices the bait has to offer.

Boating a fish

The best practice in my opinion is for the angler to wind the line up to the leader, walking backwards to enable a mate to grab the leader and help bring the fish in to the boat. Keep the line tight and try to be quick getting it to the side of the boat.

If the fish can be landed with a net then this should always be the first option. If the fish requires a gaff, here’s a few things to bear in mind -
When working the leader, start with your palms facing up and your thumbs pointing out. Wrap it around the palm of your hand in between your fingers and thumb in a way that the leader doesn’t cross or touch itself. Never take more than two wraps.

If the fish runs you will be able to drop the leader safely. The angler should be winding in the excess line while ensuring slack line is maintained between the rod tip and the boatman’s hands.

If the fish is being sent back into the ocean, avoid handling it via the gills. If the gills are damaged in any way the fish has a far lower chance of survival.

When keeping a snapper, best practice is to iki it by following the preoperculum, which is the minor gill plate, up above the eye. Use an iki stick or sharp knife to force an incision down into the brain from that point. You will know that you have hit the spot when the fish’s tail rolls up and the eyes flutter and it stops moving.

Iki’ing the fish makes for better quality eating as the stress has been minimized. Keeping the fish in salt ice will also help to preserve the meat and will make the job of filleting easier.

Gurnard and blue cod are different when it comes to their fate under the knife. They have a v shape on top of their head and if you angle a knife straight down in the middle of the v it will kill them instantly.

Not relevant to the story but isn’t this a superb jig-caught blue cod?

Kingfish have a hard head, which makes them more difficult to iki. Usual practice is to dispatch a kingy with a good whack in between the eyes on the top of the head.

Lemon sharks (also known as spotty dogs) are very common especially through the summer months while spawning. You usually catch them in the shallows, as they tend to eat crabs and crustaceans. They are a bi-catch of the general snapper fishery, particularly on the west coast. They are also great eating.

Handling a lemon shark requires a good grip behind the eyes and behind the tail. Their skin is similar to sand paper and can chafe up your arm if you are not careful. To iki them, place a knife just behind the eye line and back towards to the gills.

If you are taking them home to eat, trunk them (chop off the head and tail and remove the entrails). Also remove the magnesium line from the underside of their backbone or top of their gut cavity and place them in a salt-ice slurry to get the temperature of the flesh right down. If this is not done correctly the flesh of the fish will turn green and will be inedible.

Ledger rig

Apart from these handy tips for our mates in the ninety percentile the other thing that I like to note is to have fun. Fishing is always an adventure and seldom one that can be 100% prepared for.

Related posts

Horizontal Jigging
Techniques
If you're familiar with vertical, or 'mechanical' jigging for kingfish, did you know that the same technique can be applied to working mechanical jigs both from a boat or from shore? Here's a quick breakdown on how it works from the Aussie boys at AdriftByNature...
Bridle-rigged live skipjack tuna
Techniques
The ability to bridle rig and deploy a healthy skipjack tuna live bait is an essential skill for any serious game fisherman.
Stick bait techniuques - targeting topwater kingfish
Techniques
Jigging is an effective method for targeting kingfish, but for sheer adrenaline value, targeting top water kingfish has that extra bit of visual excitement.
So you want to be a  Jig Star?
Techniques
For me, chasing kingfish on jigs is where my craze and passion for fishing started.
Work-up fishing 101 - Part two - Lures and birds
Techniques
This may come as a shock, but in the days before jigs, fishermen would use bait. Not highly sophisticated but still effective were ledger and strayline rigs adorned with pilchards
Work-up fishing 101 - Part one
Techniques
Spring and Summer work-ups are one phenomena that not only get nature's participants excited but fishermen as well. As the water warms up in springtime, snapper start to move into the gulf, usually from a northerly to southerly direction.
All Related

See Also

Horizontal Jigging
Techniques
If you're familiar with vertical, or 'mechanical' jigging for kingfish, did you know that the same technique can be applied to working mechanical jigs both from a boat or from shore? Here's a quick breakdown on how it works from the Aussie boys at AdriftByNature...
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.
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.