When angling becomes dangling

2012-06-23 00:00

WITH a jigging action generally associated with an adolescent boy tucked behind his locked bedroom door, it is surprising that freshwater drop-shotting isn’t more popular among adult male anglers.

Contrary to what many tackle manufacturers would have you believe, there is no one lure or even brand that can guarantee the avid angler a big catch.

Prowess in fishing is not about who has the most expensive tackle, the latest side-scan fish finder or who drives the fastest boat, though they do have their benefits. Prowess in fishing, as in all things, comes down to experience and technique. Once you have been fishing for a while, you notice patterns and nuances that are as unique to a species as they can be to a particular dam. That is why it is essential that anglers take note of what they are doing when they catch a fish. Landing a big one might be described as lucky, but doing so consistently has to be put down to skill.

The onset of winter has seen a definite change in what is working on the lake. Bass have retreated to greater depths faster than we have retreated indoors, and I can guarantee that they are holding onto structure tighter than your wife is clinging on to her hot water bottle.

While this latest nip in the air has seen us shaking out our blankets and drinking more tea than the queen over her diamond jubilee, the bass will have been heading for the safety of deeper water where the temperature remains more constant. And while we are likely to nip out to the shops to grab a quick takeaway, bass are likely to seek out any lingering baitfish in the shallow water.

When targeting a particular species, it is critical that the angler takes note of the changing weather patterns and reflects on how this will impact on the fish. The same techniques that were so successful in the heat of summer are not guaranteed to keep on working indefinitely.

Sight fishing is not as predominant as it was in the summer months, but this isn’t to say that you can close your eyes, grab a beer and hang your feet off of the front deck.

Freshwater drop-shotting, long hailed as more dangling than angling, typically consists of dropping a one ounce sinker tied to the end of your line with a 1/O or smaller hook spaced between 30 centimetres and one metre above the dam floor. A range of soft plastics can be used as bait, but an approach with more finesse is often preferred.

This is where the latest 3D fish finder is useful, as you need to ensure that your tasty offering is used to tease a bite from a known target.

A bass hoping to avoid another shallow search for lingering baitfish will be as likely to resist this temptation as we would resist a free delivery of our favourite pizza. With triple cheese.

Freshwater drop-shotting is not only suitable for bass fishing, but may also be used to land that spikey silver barbel, known as makriel.

Vertical jigging is a similar technique sometimes used to catch bottom feeders in deep sea, although my knowledge of deep sea angling begins and ends with a somewhat queasy view of the back of a boat.

Drop-shotting may result in being mercilessly teased by other anglers about the somewhat dubious action that it requires. Just remember that if you shake more than twice, you are probably doing it right.

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