Strategies you can use to break a fishing drought
Getting caught in a fishing drought happens to all of us. It’s those times when you have a trip, or several trips in a row, when it just doesn’t work, you start questioning what is going wrong and your mojo just starts to fade away…
Here are some tips to get back in the swing of things either when you are out on the water or need a confidence boost on your next trip out.
1. Are you chasing lions or antelope?
For every lion on the savannah there might be 10,000 antelope – or more. If you’re chasing lions you are going to see a LOT less action than if you go after antelope.
To break a fishing drought try switching to catching more common species – especially if this is considered a bait species.
Solution: Go catch yourself a dozen “antelope” to get your confidence back. Once you find the “antelope” a “lion” will probably be lurking nearby.
2. Go light
If the fish you are catching aren’t pulling any drag then maybe you’re fishing way too heavy.
Heavier line means more lead to punch your baits or lures out. More lead means you’re likely heaving your bait out to the horizon where it will sink like a stone.
There simply isn’t any reason to be using 30lb line when the fish you are chasing are in the 1-2kg bracket.
My point is keep it sporting and you will be rewarded with lots more action.
Solution: If you’re in a drought go as light as possible (rod, line, leader, hook etc). Try cutting the lead out entirely and see what happens.
3. Casting over the horizon
So… you found a nice spot that looks super fishy, set your gear up and lob a big cast out into the depths? But you probably just cast right over where most of the fish are holding.
In a lot of cases the fish are holding in the structure right at your feet (think wharf/jetty, rocky outcrop, weed beds, oysters). Casting your bait or lure out in to the distance puts you miles away from where the fish are actually hanging out.
Solution: Break your drought by cutting as much weight from your rig and dropping a cast a just few meters out. A good place to start is where one type of structure meets another (sand to weed or sand to rock).
4. Got wind?
Just like humans, fish love an easy meal. We all know that fish use the natural environment (tide, current, lights at night etc) to bring food to them. On a windy day fish will often be stacked up against a shoreline where the breeze is delivering a conveyer belt of food to them.
Solution: Try moving where the fish will be getting an easy meal.
5. Smell pizza anyone?
The smell of a warm pizza makes you hungry, fish respond in exactly the same way.
If you’re in a drought getting a bit of burley in the water can certainly get a bit of activity happening. While initially it might bring in the smaller fish, the activity of the small fish brings in much larger fish for a look.
Solution: Lure them in with something tasty like cheap bread, chopped up baitfish/pilchards, cat food, chicken pellets.
6. Go somewhere else
Are a dozen boats stacked up on the artificial reef before you arrive? Chances are those fish have seen dozens of baits already and are well and truly spooked. However, the fish won’t have moved too far away as they will want to return to the reef once it goes quiet again. Time to start working that sounder and find where they have moved to.
Solution: Set up a search pattern – try increasing circles around the reef or a zig-zag pattern away from the other boats looking for where the bait has moved off to. Bathe in the satisfaction of getting onto the fish while everyone else thinks you have no idea. Also great for a bit of peace and quiet.
7. Take a nap
Seriously!!! Sometimes breaking a drought requires a fresh start and a slightly different phase of the tide for the fish to come on. Wake up with a fresh approach and get straight back into it.
There you have it – 7 tips to break the drought.
Don’t just one of these tips. Go ahead and combine 2 or 3 of these tips and improve your catch next time you head out.