The morning air is crisp, light south easterlies kiss the East Coast; it’s that winter feel which has blue water anglers frothing at the mouth while sharpening their Old Dogs claws in anticipation. Winter sees large quantities of bait following warmer ocean currents, cute! But to the stanch blue water thrill seeker with this seasonal migration come’s the prospect of ‘Bluewater Bullets’, or ‘Pelagic Line Burning Speedsters’ with it. Species like acrobatic Queenfish, line burning Spanish Mackerel and at times acres and acres of brute Longtail and Mack Tuna ripping through balls of bait like a bull terrier through a tennis ball. Arh, blue water season is here, this is livin' Barry!
Current, Current, Current
Like all species pelagics are driven by their belly, so the presence of bait is the key to tangling with these slender performers. Although Tuna will herd up bait in open country making them easier to find and target, if tangling with Queenies, Mackerel or GT’s is more your cup of tea finding a defined current line or break in current produced by a geographical feature such as a headland, bommie or ledge is going to increase your chances of third degree burnt thumbs. They say “no run no fun” and the reason for this because of what I have mentioned above. During slack current, or neaps bait will scatter or spread making it a bit more difficult for Mackerel or Queenies to fill their gullets. Bigger or making tides causing current flow, forces bait to find comfort in confused current, eddies etc.
Get it on Their Nose
During different periods of the day or tidal cycle, all pelagic species will display contrasting behaviour. Although most anglers associate surface feeding with pelagics, they will go deep and this is where good depth sounding technology comes into play.
What to Wiggle
There are various techniques for chasing all of the species mentioned above however, due to the nature of the Blog we will stick with what ‘Old Dogs’ work. Dave has a couple of great options in the Old Dogs range to rattle the cage of a few icebox filling pelagics, depending on which way you swing.
Surface bites are becoming ever more popular. Chasing big aggressive pelagic species like giant Trevalley, Mackerel or even Tuna is a visually stimulating smorgasbord! Big aerial takes by Spannos, VW like GT’s tearing through current to bully a surface fisho’s offering, it’s really exciting stuff. Surface fishing, lure wise is no brain surgery and this is where I’ll introduce ‘The Pug’ popper or Pencil popper! A dog small in stature but big on heart, as they say ‘it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog’ and little guy battles with the biggest the ocean has to offer. There are two defined techniques when walking either of the two pugs. The pencil ‘Pug’ is somewhat more streamlined and loves to be ripped in as fast as the dog lover can retrieve. On the other hand, the Bigger Pug of the litter requires big, long, slower rod sweeps, producing plenty of splash and commotion with a less violent retrieve. This style of fishing can be as rewarding as it is taxing on the body.
If laying back into the comfort of your pedestal is more your style, then taking ‘The GREAT Dane 200mm’ extra deep or ‘The BIG Mutt 200mm’ are the Dogs which are more likely to be your style. Both lures will easily troll at 4-8 knots, but the trick is to ensure they are at the depth of the lure is where your target species are hanging. It is a bit like having a bowl of ice-cream and putting it were a kid can’t see it, but if it’s in front of them they devour it. Troll in the areas similar to mentioned above to maximise success. Current is an angler’s best friend, if you can learn to read current many other species will also become easier to find. We’ll leave that to another day though!
Winter really is the best time of year for a Bluewater Tragic. Some say it’s not about catching fish but engulfing yourself in the experience and winter has a way of exciting all of your sensory organs. Do yourself a favour, take your dogs for a swim this winter and they’ll reward you for it with a bucket full of delicious fillets and bloody ripper time.
To qualify for the Old Dog Lures Honour Board you must catch and release your trophy fish and you must photograph the fish being measured, preferably on a brag mat or have a third party verify the length of the fish, email the photo of the fish with the Old Dog Lure