Low Tech – Marty Price June 16

So the big day had arrived and my mate Bredan was excited to say the least with the arrival of his new fising weapon. His  21ft Renegade a donned my front footpath in all its glory ready to go and fish the saltwater realms of our coastline. One problem though, the boat was ready to go minus the installation of any sounders or technology. In our hast to get this thing out for a fish we decided that a day on the water using mothernatures signs only to locate fish would be the plan and see what cards we are dealt in regards to fish on board.

On arrival at the ramp we were graced with light winds, clear skys and more anticipation than we could almost handle. A game plan was quickly derived and we decided a trip out to the tip of Cape Clevland would be a worthy destination for our trip fishing albeit somewhat blind. I say blind because we would have no idea what was truely below us without a depth sounder or the use of a GPS. But, the elements we did have were water colour variations, birds, tidal movement, current lines and coastal formations of which we would use to our advantage.

As it turned out, dropping lures into the unknown depths and not knowing if the ground below was lifeless was actually very exciting and still had us on edge as we waited in hope for a take. Bredan and I concentrated our efforts on rocky points that held visible surface bait and tidal movement that was creating wash on one side of the point and an eddy of sorts on the other. In fairness only two points we found out of 10 or so held the similar enviroment of which I described, and the first of those took us an hour or two befor we stumbbled across it.

I firmly believe we took so much out of this trip, and it enabled us to once again rely on our fishing brain and senses rather than modern day technology. Don’t get me wrong, the luxury of having a sounder on board would have been well used and I’m sure complimentary to our fishing, but we certainly ticked a few boxes in regards to listening to our hearts and proving our worth. Whilst fishing we both made mention of whether we would be fishing these particular spots and for this length of time if we were intently watching the sounder. I say this because, and to be honest, both spots we caught fish took quite sometime to start producing. We were not snagging on structure, nor were we been entertained with the occasional strike. So why did we stay and persist, well…because the spot just felt right. We could see surface bait, we new we were in a decent drop off of approximately 50 plus feet and the calm water was somewhat turbulant due to current pressure and backlash from the near by structure. Both spots we found fished the same and displayed similar features.

The bait schools surrounding us were characteristically staying just out of casting range when all of a sudden the school ventured in closer. Bredan cast his shad within the tightly schooled pack and let it sink to the bottom. His first rise of his rod, and he was nailed by what turned out to be a solid Fingermark and so began the hot bite, remembering we had being fishing this spot for a good half an hour without so much as a curious tap.

From this point on we caught some tastey perfect sized Fingermark averaging the 60cm mark, Some hefty longtails that were patrolling the scattering bait schools, some Mackeral and  other piscatorial heathens that sometimes would take our lures for trophies and other times would come on board to say hi. With the use of a sounder we would have simply said there is some shadows and arches starting to show up, fish it hard and think nothing more of it, well alot of the time anyways. But because we wern’t afforded this luxary on the day we got to thinking why all of a sudden has the swiched been flicked to the on position. On reflextion, we noticed the tide was on the run out which created a more washy sea compared to the non tempered seas we were fishing an hour previously, the bait was alot more on edge and were now seeking the safety of exposed structure in close, but most of all we noticed the ocean had changed its hues from the beautiful deep blues to a mixture of turquoise and Aqua colours. The fact that we had to put some of the pieces of the puzzel together I believe will hold us in good stead when we are delt some crappy cards in our fishing futures, not every time, but a slight head start is better than none at all.

Have you ever gone out on a trip with someone or even yourself, and yes I have done it, and realised the fisho at the helm is paying way to much attention to the sounder and dismissing way to many spots purely because the 2D or side imaging is telling you that there is no fish here, move on. Todays technology is not a perfect science rendering it not completely accurate,. Come on, be honest we have all trolled past a snag of flicked a bank that your unit is telling you is more barren than the hair on my handsome head when suddenly you are awoken from your slumber with a rampaging silver rocket launcher leaping towards the blue yonder, and you think to yourself shite, that didn’t show up on the screen. I think what I am trying to say is revert back sometimes to fishing and not watching, trust your skills and learn from your short comings. How many times have you drifted or trolled along an insane stretch of river for 500 plus meters and not seen the slightest image of a fish, thats because there is no fish there…Crap, of course there there, sounders of 2D imaging, side imaging, 360 imaging, twirp technology and a host of others are all brillant and will mostly find you schools of schooling fish, but no one or no thing  or one is perfect, not yet anyway.

Time for my inconsequential conclusion, I bloody love my sounders and they have caught me plenty of fish, but to have a trip without the use of one and still find fish in unfished ground has given me a new string to my bow, well that is not quite correct, I think over my 35 odd years of fishing I learnt this trait along the way as most of us do but haven’t used it nearly enough in recent years. I think I will just look back on  this trip with Bredan as a refresher course and something to put back on the shelf of my fishing knowledge. Thanks Brendan for a fantastic and enlightening day. Onwards and upwards fishers.

Marty Price.