In the previous article I covered using a sounder to accurately identify fish-holding territory using a sounder. This was only half the story.
Finding areas that are likely to - or do - hold fish is only half the battle. Anchoring the boat, and then placing your bait amongst the fish is the second part of the exercise.
Anchoring the boat is the first and a critical part, putting down a berley trail that will attract fish to your bait is the second part, and anchoring the bait is the third, and just as critical part. But the second and third parts are entirely dependent on the first.
One of the hardest parts of trying to place the anchor in the right position is, it is very hard to tell just where you want to end up. There are very few markers on the water, usually even less on spot 'X'. (Especially if someone has shifted the 'X' on the water!)
There is a good marker buoy for this and other purposes now available. As you pass over the spot just drop the buoy over the side and the weight drops to the bottom. It is a good and precise system. (This type of marker-buoy is easy to make).
Less precise, but pretty effective is to drop a sheet of newspaper over the side. It does not move in the wind and is easy to spot.
A few drops of 'Glow Bait' in a squeeze container filled with cooking oil makes an effective and visible marker. It is amazing how large a non-toxic slick forms from just a little squirt of oil. This slick is very visible.
Once you have established where the fish are, or where they are likely to be, you can now work on anchoring the boat.
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Once you have a marker in position motor up past the marker at least a far as the water is deep, doubled. For example if the water is 20 meters deep, motor up-current and upwind for 60 meters and let the boat drift. If you hit the marker--go back and anchor. If you don't - try again. Persistence pays.
Diagram 1 shows the how-to and not-to anchor the boat in a straight
line, up-current situation.
Diagram 2 shows the problems associated with anchoring in a current and cross wind.
The next job is to decide on the type of berley (a.k.a ground-bait or chum) trail to set up.
If there is little or no current a surface berley trail is ideal. Drifting a lightly or un-weighted bait down with the particles from a surface berley trail is the ideal way to catch fish. But if the current is too strong, very often the berley trail will be going over the fishes heads.
If there is any significant current using a weighted berley container such as 'Berley-Mate', or a weighted frozen berley cage, down near the bottom, not on the bottom, is the way to go.
Very often there is little current on the bottom, despite a raging current up to a meter above it. Having your berley right on the bottom means it will not be dispersed by the current.
In either case it is important that the berley is positioned to attract fish to where your bait is, not away from it. Observation is the only way of deciding which method to use.
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Once the boat is anchored, the next task is to place your bait in the right place.
It is just about useless to anchor the boat in a position where the current will push your berley trail back towards where the fish are holding, and then to drop your bait under the boat, under the berley trail and away from the fish.
The old advice of using the least amount of weight to drift your bait down to the fish as naturally as possible, is still good advice. Trouble is that 'least amount' varies from none to a ton.
There are spots I know where just enough is 2.5gms and less. There are other spots where two or three kilos is light tackle. The key to getting it right is good judgment and observation.
Having a good idea how far behind the boat the fish are, is the start point. Pull off the line in arm lengths, around about a meter each pull. Allow about another third to cover the angle, and you can get fairly close.
A thin, small rubber band looped around the line at this point gives you a good guide for how much line to let out, on the next drop of the bait.
The article previous to this one, and this one, form part of a theory. That theory is that what separates the good fishermen from the not so good, is that the good fishermen fish where the fish are more often. This does not mean fishing in the general area where there might be fish, but taking great pains to seek out the prime spots where fish are most likely to be holding at any one time.
This attention to, and curiosity about, fish habits and habitant separate the fishermen who catch fish from the fishless.
Article written by Tony Bishop
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