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You may like to visit:

BigBass

the definitive South African trophy Bass fishing site

SurfMaster

The South African Saltwater Surfcasting site

TECHNIQUES & TACKLE

 

TECHNIQUES

 

A. Using Bait Clips/ Bait Slides

Bait Clips or Bait Slides are great South African inventions which have revolutionised surf angling. They definitely work and are worth a try!

 

1. The "Normal" Bait Clip/ Slide ("Cuda Clip")

The "Normal" Bait Clip/ Slide is usually used to get a live bait (mullet, shad/ bluefish) out into deeper water when fishing from a pier or high rocks. This method is not used for dead baits as the surf action and swell will tend to work a dead bait back to shore.

 

 

Attach a grapnel sinker (5oz - 8oz) to your mainline shock leader with 18" of line at least the same diameter as your shock leader (0.60mm - 0.90mm diameter) to the ring supplied with the bait clip. On to the swivel (or smaller metal "loop") attached to this ring tie your mainline shock leader. Now cast the sinker out as far as you wish and anchor the sinker. Place the rod in a rod holder. Attach your trace with live bait to the swivel on the bait clip. Now attach the bait clip to the main line. With the "Normal" Bait Clip, there is only one way in which the clip can be attached to the mainline. Keep the mainline tight, lift the rod tip and slide the live bait slowly over the shore break surf into the water. "Work" the bait by shaking the rod tip up and down in constant fashion until the bait swims freely down to the sinker.

 

The live bait can move up and down (shallower and deeper) the mainline until it is picked up by a predator fish.

 

Keep the line fairly tight even if the rod is in a rod holder. Engage ratchet or thumb the spool. Give line during a "pick-up" (don't rush, count at least to 10) and then strike (not if you're using circle hooks!) and wind to connect with sinker and fish. The ring and swivel above the sinker stops the bait clip and prevents any abrasion to the rig.

 

Any live bait and livebait trace can be used and connected to the bait clip.

 

 

2. The "Non-return" Bait Clip/ Slide

The "Non-return" Bait Clip/ Slide is very versatile and can be used to get any size live or dead bait out into deeper water and keep it there. This method may be used anywhere (gently sloping beaches, steep shelving beaches, rocks or piers).

 

 

The method is similar to that for the "Normal" Bait Clip.

 

Attach a grapnel sinker (5oz - 8oz) to your mainline shock leader with 18" of line at least the same diameter as your shock leader (0.60mm - 0.90mm diameter) to the ring supplied with the bait clip. On to the swivel attached to this ring tie your mainline shock leader. Now cast the sinker out as far as you wish and anchor the sinker. Place the rod in a rod holder. Attach your trace with bait (live or dead) to the swivel on the bait clip. Now attach the bait clip to the main line. With the "Non-return" Bait Clip, make sure the long end of the clip with the swivel points away from the rod tip and towards the sea when attaching the clip to the mainline. Keep the mainline tight, lift the rod tip and slide the bait slowly over the shore break surf into the water. "Work" the bait by shaking the rod tip up and down in constant fashion until the bait slides down to the sinker.

 

When the bait (livebait or dead bait) is attached to the mainline, the natural ebb and flow of the wave action and swells carry the bait out into deeper water. The simple, but unique design of the clip enables it to "lock" onto the line (without damaging the line) during the period when the water is "pushing" to shore, yet enables the clip to slide when the water "sucks" back with the backwash. The bait therefore moves out further with every wave cycle until it reaches the sinker or the bait is picked up.

 

Keep the line fairly tight even if the rod is in a rod holder. Engage ratchet or thumb the spool. Give line during a "pick-up" (don't rush, count at least to 10) and then strike (not if you're using circle hooks!) and wind to connect with sinker and fish. The ring and swivel above the sinker stops the bait clip and prevents any abrasion to the rig.

 

Any live or deadbait and any trace can be used and connected to the bait clip.

 

 

3. I would recommend that you get your non-return bait clips from Dup (dup-zn@webmail.co.za; 074-103-7036).

 

For more details and pics, click here.

 

Dup's non-return clips/ slides are stronger and better quality than you can buy in the stores and are cheaper too! His products and workmanship are highly recommended. Prices are reasonable and Dup will post to anywhere in SA.

 

 

4. Otherwise, the bait clips can be bought at any good tackle shop such as:

 

 (in Durban: (031) 368-3903);

 

 Basil Manning Fishing Equipment (in Durban: (031) 368-1326); or

 

Gremlin's (in Margate: (039) 317-3233).

 

Seems like the Bait Clips are catching on in the USA and Britain as well, see: http://breakawayusa.com/shop/slideaway.jpg

 

 

5. Also check out Fishing the Silver Tide by John Otto (Be sure to read Parts 1 - 4 of this Article) for more information and inspiration.

 

 

TACKLE

 

A. Rods

You can probably build a better rod than you can buy, but for most anglers, there are some excellent new rods available in the local retail trade.

 

South African style Surfcasting rods generally have the reel seat placed 9" - 12" from the butt cap. The (conventional) reel is generally controlled with the left hand during the cast.

 

1. Check out the Assassin range of 3-piece surf rods marketed by Basil Manning Fishing Equipment (contact Andrew Pautz or Barry Wareham on tel. (031) 368-1326):

  • Assassin S3 HMG for light surf, gully and rock fishing.

  • Assassin S45 HMG for medium to heavy rock and surf fishing.

  • Assassin T53 HMG (known as the "Blade") a serious surf rod which will handle anything. The "Blade" sports a zoned action blank - zero flex in the base, stiff mid-section and a more flexible tip enabling weights of 5oz - 9oz to be cast on the same rod with the same tip!

  You will probably find a lot to like in these rods ...

 

These rods are built on Blue Marlin blanks. Click here for more info on rod blanks a Rodbuilding.

 

 

2. Kingfisher offers the Poseidon range of 3-piece surf rods:

  • Poseidon 3L casts 4oz - 5oz.

  • Poseidon 3M casts 5oz - 6oz.

  • Poseidon 3H casts 6oz - 7oz.

  • Poseidon 5 casts 4oz - 7oz (one rod with 3 interchangeable tips - L, M and H).

 

 

3. Another South African brand (now also marketed in the USA and Australia), worth looking at. They have been around for many years and have a solid reputation.

 

4. Western Accessories offers rods built on

 

award-winning, record-holding, cutting-edge technology British-made blanks.

 

 

B. Reels

1. Conventional or multiplier Reels

Preferences here will undoubtedly give rise to some hot debates, but check out:

  • ABU: The Morrum range is great. For surf fishing, go for the 6600CL. If you can find a discontinued 7700CL, buy it! You do not have to fiddle with the Morrums.

Any ABU reel with model number 6000 and up to 10 000 is worth looking at, especially if you are prepared to fiddle a bit! You can upgrade the drag system (using the appropriate "Smooooothies" or "Xtreme  Smooooothies" drag washers) and/or the bearing system (using ceramic bearings). Check out the Reel Candy link at Hatteras Outfitters.

 

I have fished with an ABU 8000C and 10 000C for about 2 decades!

  • Daiwa: Look at the Grandwave and Saltiga and Saltist ranges. Many Surfcasters swear by the Saltiga range. Expensive yes, but well-made and reliable (some would say they outdo the Shimano Trinidads! For a comparison of these two great reels, click here).

  • Shimano: Check out the Calcutta and Trinidad ranges. The Trinidads have proved tremendously popular.

 

2. Spinning Reels

As with anything, you usually get what you pay for ... Most spinning reels which will last in the salt and which will be tough enough to handle saltwater fish are really expensive. Look for front drag reels to give bigger drag surface area.

  • Okuma: A not so expensive spinning reel which is still very good value and will give good performance, is to be found in the Epix or Epixor range (depending upon where the reel is marketed). Available with or without baitfeeder feature.

  • Daiwa: The ultimate spinning reels from Daiwa are the Saltiga range, models Z4000 - Z6000. Very expensive, though.

Also look at the EM Pro, EM-X and Black Gold Series.

  • Shimano: Consider the Stella, Stradic and Sustain ranges.

 

C. Line

1. Monofilament

I generally do not use mono for mainline anymore, rather opting for the spectra (braid) superlines in 50lb, 65lb or 80lb test depending upon the circumstances and the species pursued.

 

I always use a shock leader (long enough so that there are 4 - 6 turns of shock leader on the reel when casting) of Stren Original clear or Maxima clear in 0.60mm or 0.90mm diameter depending upon the circumstances and the species pursued.

 

Reliable brands of mono for mainlines are Stren, Trilene, Atlas, Siglon and Sufix.

 

 

2. Braid

If you have not yet tried the spectra (braid) superlines on both conventional and spinning reels, you are missing something!

 

Go for 50lb, 65lb or 80lb test depending upon the circumstances and the species pursued. The 50lb test diameter braid is equivalent to 12lb test mono in diameter!

 

Always use a mono shock leader with the superlines when you are fishing in the surf. The shock leader must be long enough so that there are 4 - 6 turns of shock leader on the reel when casting. Good shock leader material is Stren Original clear or Maxima clear in 0.60mm or 0.90mm diameter depending upon the circumstances and the species pursued. You can join 50lb test braid to 0.60mm mono easily enough with a Uni-Knot (6 turns for the mono; double the braid and use at least 12 turns for the braid section of the knot) or if you are able to, use the Bimini Twist knot.

 

The only disadvantage of the superlines is they do not like rocks - any contact with a rock and you will be cut off. Also be careful when fishing graphite rods with superlines and you get hung up on the bottom - if you try and pull free using the rod, you may end up breaking it. In any event, its never a good idea to use the rod when attempting to break off a snag!

 

My recommendation for spinning in the surf with lures (also light surf and gully bait fishing) is 50lb test superline/ braid. Use a 0.60mm mono shock leader and 0.40mm - 0.70mm mono trace (or a trace of 20lb - 40lb test fluorocarbon).

 

For medium tackle in the surf, use 50lb - 65lb test superline/ braid for you mainline with a 0.60mm - 0.70mm mono shock leader. Traces as above according to species pursued.

 

For heavy tackle in the surf, try 65lb - 80lb test superline/ braid for you mainline with a 0.75mm - 0.90mm mono shock leader. Traces as above with the option of nylon-coated wire for toothy critters.

 

See how you like it - I doubt you will go back to regular mono after giving the superlines a fair trial!

 

 

3. Leader (trace) material

For traces, I generally go for Stren Original clear or Maxima clear in 0.50mm - 0.90mm diameter depending upon the circumstances and the species pursued.

 

Another option is Seaguar Fluorocarbon in 30lb or 40lb test, for a near invisible presentation. Fluorocarbon is, however, stiffer than mono and takes much longer to degrade.

 

 

4. Shock Leader material

Stren Original clear or Maxima clear in 0.60mm or 0.90mm diameter depending upon the circumstances and the species pursued. Maxima is quite stretchy and suits being teamed up with a superline and a graphite rod.

 

Always use a shock leader whether you are fishing with a mono or Superline/ braid mainline. Generally, 0.60mm diameter mono is the minimum for a shock leader. This will suit 12 - 20lb test mono mainline and 50 - 65lb superline/ braid mainline.

 

If you are using a shock leader, you will probably never have to use over 20lb test mono mainline (unless you are fishing heavy tackle off the rocks in a snag infested area or are after large sharks, rays and skates).

 

 

D. Terminal Tackle

1. Hooks

If you have not done so yet, give circle hooks a try for bait (live bait and deadbait) fishing. Great for catch and release as fish are usually hooked securely in the corner of the mouth limiting tissue damage.

 

Mustad light wire Circle Hook

 

One just has to "unlearn" the ingrained striking technique usually employed with normal (J-type) hooks, otherwise you will hook less fish! With circle hooks, one generally just tightens the line by "winding down" and "taking the strain" without any sudden rod movements ("striking" action).

 

 

 

 ***

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